During the build up to the Australia v British Lions rugby match taking place in Brisbane on Saturday June 22nd 2013, I heard on the radio that several of The British Lions squad might not make the team due to an ‘epidemic’ of hamstring injuries to several key players! How can this be I asked? Is there something wrong with the Lions fitness and training methods, as incorrect functional movement patterns tends to lead to injury problems?
The waist, lower back and upper legs which include the hamstrings are all one closed System. A lack of strength and flexibility in the lower back and pelvis area can result in ‘tight hamstrings’ and lower back pain.
Due to the nature of their game, golfers appear to generally suffer from lower back pain and not hamstring injuries. The question I ask is are rugby players and golfers suffering the effect of the same problem.
Solving the problem of lower back Pain in Golfers.
There are no muscles which connect the sacrum to the pelvis, so any motion (exercise) which takes place in this area of the body, has to be created by other methods.
What happens then if a golfer can’t exercise this area of the body? We all have nerves which emerge through small openings in the sacrum. These nerves can become irritated if they get compressed. Irritation of the sacral nerves can cause many disorders, such as the painful symptoms of sciatica or tight hamstrings. If our spinal nerves are under pressure by restrictions in one or more areas of this ‘closed system’ your spinal nerves can remain in a constant state of irritation, resulting in chronic lower back pain.
If there are no muscles which connect the sacrum to the pelvis how do you create the correct form of exercise to prevent lower back pain.
For over ten years I have been, along with several of my clients, using a form of ‘passive’ exercise prior to and after a round of golf. The flexxicore exerciser generates a gentle but dynamic wave that travels up through the whole spine, stimulating the central nervous system while releasing tension in the neck, shoulders and lower back area.
This form of exercise also has the benefit of oxygenating the body which results in enhanced ‘facial glide’ in the hips and lower back area’s of a golfers body. Through my own experience I’m aware that 10 -15 minutes of ‘passive’ exercise turns off the ‘monkey mind’ and turns on an ‘Alpha state of being’, a prerequisite for achieving peak performance states in golf.
I also make a point of using the flexxicore exerciser after a visit to the driving range. Why? If you’re the type of golfer who enjoys hitting ‘hundreds’ of balls during the week, your muscle spindles which are also connected to your brain can ‘switch off’ due to over use. This ‘switching off’ results in muscles becoming ‘locked short’ or ‘locked long’. Each vertebrae of your spine has a link with your musculo-skeletal system. I’ve found by using the Flexxicore passive exerciser on a regular basis to flex and strengthen each vertebrae of the spine that this allows my muscular structure to stay in harmony and balance.
As all good golf coaches will teach you, having optimum muscle balance and good posture is key to developing and producing a good consistant swing plane.
Mike’s unique approach to golf fitness and exercise has been highlighted in “In Praise of Slow” by Carl Honore, which reached the top ten best sellers list in The USA and UK. He is also a qualified Masters Mind Factor Golf Coach.