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Prehab, Not Rehab for Golf

by Deborah L. Mullen, CSCS

Aspirin. Braces. Surgery. Why do we treat symptoms instead of causes? The three most common causes of golf injuries are excessive play or practice, poor swing mechanics, and poor physical conditioning. If you think prehab, not rehab and address the causes, you can prevent injuries before they happen and you won't have to worry about what treatments to use after they happen.

Overuse Injuries
The drive is a high-effort power movement that puts a lot of stress on the body. If it's performed too frequently, injuries can result. The body can withstand many forces placed on it, but there's a limit to how much it can take before it reacts with injury. High repetitions of the golf swing during play and practice can cause trauma to muscles and connective tissue, leading to inflammation and pain.

Hitting bucket after bucket of balls isn't the only way to improve your performance. You can practice your golf swing without hitting any balls by using imagery, which has become a standard tool for athletes. You can practice "the perfect swing" in your mind without the threat of overuse injuries.

Swing Mechanics
Poor golfing mechanics can lead to injury. Repeated collisions with the ground, besides creating divots, places a great deal of stress on certain muscles and can lead to shoulder strain, elbow pain, and even rib fractures. Back injuries can occur if you bend too far forward during the golf swing. Since flexing, extending, or twisting excessively or improperly increases your chance of injury, you should have your swing analyzed by a golf instructor to ensure proper technique. To prevent back injuries, you should also perform good body mechanics such as properly lifting your golf bag and teeing the ball.

Conditioning
Unconditioned muscles are weak and inflexible, causing them to be more susceptible to injury. The back is especially vulnerable to the increased pressure placed on it during the golf swing (rotating while leaning forward). If the low back and abdominal muscles aren't strong or flexible enough, the high repetitions of the golf swing will eventually cause pain.

By following a golf-specific strength and flexibility program, you will lower the risk of injury and most likely, improve performance. A program doesn't have to be complicated or take a lot of time. For instance, the exercises in the Sports Fitkit for Golf program take about 40 minutes to perform, and only need to be done twice a week. Another thing you can do for prehab is to perform a pre-game warm-up.

Think Prehab, not Rehab. Stop potential injuries from happening by avoiding excessive practice sessions, swinging correctly, and performing golf-specific strength and flexibility exercises.

Sports FitKit for Golf - a simple, effective and time-efficient way to increase performance and reduce injuries. Rated 4 stars out of 5 by Golf Magazine.

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