Golf is a One Direction Sport: How Does this Affect My Body?
Today I want to discuss how the golf swing may create imbalances in our bodies.
As a Physiotherapist imbalances are one of the leading causes of pain and poor performance that I see. This manifests as one side becoming weaker than the other or less flexibility. Once these imbalances are corrected many problems are resolved.
Golf is a sport where the swing is always performed in one direction, or unilaterally. Over time this can cause changes within our bodies. Take for example a right handed golfer, who will always be turning into the backswing on the right and swinging to the left. These two phases of the swing require very different muscle activation and requirements in flexibility.
A right handed golfer will often have good flexibility at the right shoulder with the T-Spine Rotation Stretch (please see photo), while the left shoulder may not have the same movement capability. This is due to the full take away position in the backswing versus the follow through position. Over time movement in the lead shoulder can become restricted, which can cause pain through the shoulder joint and in the upper back. If you want to check your own flexibility attempt the T-Spine Rotation Stretch; ideally you should be able to assume the position in the photo and sweep your arm above your head while keeping your arm flat on the ground throughout.
Another imbalance that is often created through golf is lower back strength/flexibility from one side to other. This can lead to lower back pain. The muscles involved with the downswing can become stronger than those for the backswing. Increased flexibility in the lower back in direction of follow through versus backswing is also commonly seen. This is due to the upper back rotating more in the backswing while the lower back rotates more in the follow through. Golfers complaining of Lower Back Pain often find this imbalance is the cause and are able to resolve this issue with corrective exercises and stretching.
I hope that helps. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me directly via email on the contact page of the website or book an appointment.
**please consult a medical professional before commencing any physical activity if you have health concerns**