Golfer teeing off

Improve Your Golf Game with These Exercises

Golf season is upon us here in south Florida, and especially in Palm Beach. As you get back into the swing of things, we always seek to improve our game by decreasing injury and increasing performance. The best way to do both of those things is focus on the strength and mobility of the thoracic spine. The thoracic spine is the area of your spine that is below your neck, and above your low back. One unique feature of the thoracic spine is that your ribs connect to each segment in it. That means that we have a big piece of bone on each side that limits movement! This is what makes it so important to work on the mobility and strength of this area, especially in golf.

Mobility in the mid and upper back is very important yet we tend to overlook this area. When the thoracic spine stiffens up, we tend to recruit more from the neck, shoulders & lower back to compensate. This can lead to things like neck pain, lower back pain, and shoulder impingement. These exercises can be especially beneficial for golfers, desk jockeys, new mothers, overhead athletes, teenagers, drivers or anyone who experiences symptoms related to Upper Cross Syndrome. Hit the golf ball further and easier with these three exercises.

Open Book

Start by laying on your side w/ knees bent. Hips & shoulders should be stacked on top of one another. Place both arms out in front of you w/ your palms stacked. Take your top hand rotate it behind you opening up your chest. Hold for 3-5 seconds & return to the starting position. Do not let your hips rock back when you open up your chest. Its very important to keep them stacked so that the rotation happens in the thoracic spine & not the lower back. Do not let your shoulder hike up towards your ear either. Set the shoulder blade down & back before you move your arm.

Dr. Lundahl performing Open Book exercise

Swiss Ball Extension

Place the middle to upper portion of your back on a Swiss ball. Imagine you're melting your body to form around the Swiss ball. Focus on extending through the mid back, allowing neck and hips to relax down. Arms should be at 90 degrees or above to add in a gentle front chest and pectoral stretch using gravity. This helps push our mid back into more extension as well by recruiting the shoulders. Hold for about 30 seconds and remember to breathe the entire time.

Dr. Lundahl performing thoracic stretch

Pallof Press

In this exercise, you attach rubber tubing to a mount, and stand perpendicular to the mount. With knees slightly bent, feet shoulder width apart, and back straight, you press outward in front of you 8-10 times. Repeat on the other side. Check out the video below for a more in-depth explanation.