3 Planes of Motion: Tips to Avoid Injury in GolfOctober 15, 2015
The Golf Swing
The golf swing is complicated and requires the difficult combination of stability and mobility in the back and hips, in order to accomplish successfully and safely. Common golf injuries include; back pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, hip pain and hand/wrist pain. Many golfers experience these pains as a result of the lack of hip and thoracic spine mobility and stability.
Reasons for Injuries in Golf
The most common reason for these injuries is that the golf swing demands mobility outside of the normal range for the average person. If you watch a golf swing in slow motion, you can see just how much rotation is required in the hips, lumbar and thoracic spines. Unfortunately, most of us lack that mobility due to years of sitting. Lack of motion in one area means your body will compensate in another area, above and beyond its ability, and cause injury. Think about Tiger Woods, his lack of left hip internal rotation has directly lead to multiple knee and back surgeries.
The problem with traditional exercises
Many of the traditional exercises focus only in one plane of motion unfortunately, and are therefore do not cross over into the golf swing efficiently. Let me explain; if you think about the common stretching and strength exercises you see people do in the gym the focus on the sagittal plane. The sagittal plane is the motion that occurs in front and behind the body. (quad stretch, hamstring stretch, child’s pose etc…) Some exercise focus on the frontal plane, side to side, (side lunges, jumping jacks) but very few in the transverse plane, and even fewer in all three at the same time. You would end up needing 45 minutes just to warm up and cool off after your round. I don’t know about you but I don’t have an extra 90 minutes to spare.
Exercises for the three planes of motion
In order to ensure safety on the links, and efficiency in your workouts, you should incorporate stretching and exercise designed to challenge your limits of stability in all three planes. Here are a few exercises I would recommend, that focus on all three planes of movement while providing the strength and mobility needed for the golf swing.
Forward Rotation Stepping
Kneeling Hip Flexor with Rotation
Piriformis Stretch Standing & Supine
SLB with Internal Rotation
These exercises will help you avoid injury on the course, and as an added benefit may also increase your swing arc, speed and therefore add distance to all of your shots!