Hi everyone, thanks for stopping by, today we’re going to take a closer look at the next series in our posts regarding golfers over the age of 50. In this post we’ll cover some fantastic exercises you can perform at home to help combat #2 on our list of the top 5 problems killing golfers over 50, which is: torso rotation.
Loss of torso (thoracic spine) rotation is a BIG issue with golfers over 50. Lack of this rotation leads to extreme power loss, loss of the so called “x-factor,” overly short backswings, an over the top swing motion leading to pulls as well as slicing golf shots. As we grow older, we are more likely to lose some of the flexibility between the vertebrae inside our spine. This is actually a bit more the result of non-use compared to physical changes. Nevertheless, both figure in.
As a physical therapist, I work on a lot of backs. The main danger with golfers over 50 is that a few joints in the back will become tight even though others become more flexible to make up for the rigidity in their neighbors.
In other words, we move the same amount but place all of the load on fewer joints.
This can lead to injury. Lack of upper body rotation is due to a couple of independent problems:
- The loss of flexibility of muscle groups that actively rotate the spine/torso.
- The movement of the individual spinal joints, mostly of the thoracic spine or mid-back
1. The Muscles of Rotation
The muscles in charge of core rotation can easily be restricted and rigid like any muscles within the human body that are not actively stretched or moved throught their full range. You possess a number of muscle groups in command of rotation starting with the bigger oblique muscles to the small muscle groups connected directly to the spine such as the multifidi, spinalis longissiumus, etc.
Luckily, anyone is able to stretch the whole group together and does not need to isolate each muscle separately.
The vital element of an effective muscle stretch is that you should hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds continuously. Lengthier stretches have not been confirmed to have any kind of advantage in any way unless you are planning on holding the stretch for 15 minutes or longer. Good luck with that!
Try this stretch instead:
The key to an upper body rotation stretch is to fixate the lower body, which is really what this stretch accomplishes by folding over the leg then. Thus, the stretch pictured emphasizes spine rotation to the left, which should help you follow through to a full finish in your golf swing. In order to enhance your spine rotation in your backswing, shift onto your left side and redo the stretch in reverse.
Maintain the stretch for about 20-30 secs taking in deep breaths. If you don’t feel a good stretch, you are officially a human Gumby!
Spinal Joint Rotation
Ok, this is the great part. You can also work on the mobility of the vertebra within the same stretching position. The distinction between a stretch and a spinal joint range of motion exercise is the amount of time you hold the position. Therefore, begin at the same precise position as portrayed in the photo above. This time, rather than maintaining the pose, make a wide arc with your left hand/arm and bring it back over so that it touching your right hand/arm. Voila! Spinal mobility.
Move back and forth 20-30 times without holding any position greater than one second. Repeat upon the other side
Now you can take care of both stretching the muscle groups involved in torso rotation and improving the individual motion of the spinal joints at the same time and in the same position.
Invest a few minutes every day and you will begin to recognize a big difference. There, isn’t that is a lot easier than a 30 minute, backbreaking workout? Your welcome!
Thanks for checking in!
Regarding the Author. Dr. Ryan York is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Certified Golf Performance Specialist. He Co-created Age Defying Golf that serves men and women golfers between the ages of 50-75 years young. Visit us at www.agedefyinggolf.com