Mobility for Golfer’s

Physical Therapy

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07/10/2023

It is common for me to work with golfers with low back pain as it is the most common injury in male golfers and second most common in female1. After an evaluation, it is a theme that these clients are overcompensating in their low back to make up for mobility deficits in either or both their thoracic spine or their hips. Today we will discuss mobility for golfer’s.

Thoracic Mobility For Golfer’s

Our thoracic spine refers to our mid back. This is especially important on the backswing, to get enough rotation to generate power and force on a drive. Injured golfers typically demonstrate decreased trunk rotation on the backswing, increased side bending towards the lead side, or increasing their trunk rotation to a range they are unable to achieve maximum voluntary effort (swinging)1.

To work on thoracic mobility, I often first teach disassociation of rotation through your thoracic and lumbar spine. I teach this by coaching clients through isolated thoracic spine movements to work on increasing the mobility of your spine. Then, we work on thoracic and lumbar coupled mobility, and having the body awareness to feel and control what is happening at both the thoracic and lumbar spine.

Once you work on the mobility of your thoracic spine, you will want to work on rotational strength and power to carry over your mobility into function on the green.

This is an example of a silted thoracic rotation exercise.

Hip Mobility For Golfer’s

We cannot discuss mobility for golfer’s without discussing hip mobility. Our hips need to go through both internal and external rotation, as well as the hip extension on the trail leg. After measuring hip range and looking at your swing, we can determine where we need to start.

For someone lacking range of motion in their hips, we would start with open chain hip mobility exercises, along with standing closed chain exercises, since the mirror golf movement patterns. After improving mobility at your hips, we need to reinforce that mobility by working on both strength and power. This is most important on drives, to generate the most force and power and improve the distance you can drive.

Here is an example of an open chain hip mobility exercise:

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Sources

  1. Biomechanics of the Modern Golf Swing