Our motto at M-power Physical Therapy is to help you live your best life and achieve fitness for living! Many of my clients are interested in Golf Fitness programs and improving their golf swing. Believe it or not, spine angle is a hotly debated topic in golf! I have been treating patients with back and neck pain for over 20 years. Much of the back pain associated with playing golf comes from poor posture and muscle imbalances. I always address the muscle imbalances first with manual therapy techniques and corrective exercises. It is extremely rewarding to see a client go from 40 degrees of hamstring mobility to 90 in just a few weeks. Or, being able to turn with more than 20 degrees of separation between their shoulders and pelvis while lying in a supine position! Once these issues are addressed, I can turn our attention to the difficult part - teaching them how to properly use their new found abilities to improve their golf swing.
Old Habits Die Hard:
Most of us resort to our old habits of poor posture and limited mobility once we are back on the course and take the swing or a high pressure shot. I thought it would be fun to go to the range and take a video of two exercises that could help you learn how to properly prepare your body for better posture and shoulder turn throughout your swing, that will not put extra pressure on your back. Note, these are not meant to be swing drills, just a way to bring the gym to the range!
First - Achieve a Neutral Spine Angle
The first exercise is meant to help you “feel” your posture at address. It is important to work on having as close to a neutral spine angle as possible during set up. Mainly, a neutral angle reduces the pressure on your back created by bad posture (rounded spine) and helps to create more consistency in your swing:
1. Start by setting up over the ball, then take your golf club and place it along your spine with the club against the back of your head and the head resting between your glutes.
2. Work on sucking in your abs and try to touch your entire spine to the club. It is not easy to do.
3. One trick to try is to relax your top hand and tilt your pelvis backward slightly to try to get your low back to touch the club. It is a challenging exercise to do correctly, so be patient.
4. Hold the position over the ball for 10 seconds then take the club and cradle it across your chest, so the club is parallel to your shoulder line.
Next – Maintain that angle
1. Then, while maintaining that ideal spine angle, turn your shoulder right and left.
2. When you turn fully to the right the club should be at an angle pointing at an angle toward the ground. If it is horizontal it means that you lost your shoulder plane.
3. Try to maintain a shoulder plane where your left shoulder is lower than your right, when you turn to the right. Your right shoulder should be lower when you turn to the left.
4. Move back and forth and feel the shoulders moving around your spine and the separation between your pelvis and shoulders as you turn right and left maintaining good spinal angle and shoulder plane.
5. Then place the head of the club behind the ball and take a swing trying to feel the same sensation of moving your shoulders around your spine.
Next time you are at the range, getting ready from Spring Golf season, add this exercise into your swing drills from your coach to keep your angles, play better golf and above all keep that back and neck feeling great! If you’d like more exercises to improve your golf swing, or overall golf fitness, you might want to work with us at M-power Physical Therapy! Give us a call at 612 226-5729 or schedule a session online at: https://www.m-powerpt.com. You can also subscribe to the M-power Physical Therapy YouTube channel for access to more tips and tricks like these!