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Free Up Your Lower Back with these Four Exercises

By Brandon Gaydorus
Published on

Martin Kaymer stretches at the Golf in Dubai Championship.Getty Images

Low back pain seems to be a common complaint among golfers. Whether it comes on before, during, or after a round, you’d probably agree it’s not something you want!
Although there are many different reasons why it can occur (Ex. Previous injury, stiff muscles, mental, fatigue, overuse, etc.), it’s important to do what you can to prevent it, so that you continue to play golf throughout the year.
The lumbar spine aka lower back is a stable joint, meaning that it mostly bends forward and backward. The joints that connect to the lower back (Hips and T-Spine) are known as mobile joints and move in all three planes of motion (Side-to-Side, Forward and Backward, Rotational).
If the mobile joints lack the range of motion for the task at hand, the stable joint will over compensate into positions it shouldn’t be getting in! Increasing chances for pain and discomfort. For example, in the golf swing if you have limited t-spine mobility and are trying to increase your turn, the lower back will be forced to rotate in a range of motion that it is limited in. Which overtime can lead to chronic disc and muscular issues in the lower back.
So, here’s four exercises that target hip and t-spine mobility, as well as the stability of the lower back.
Assisted Leg Lower
  1. Place a resistance band around the middle of your foot and grab onto each side of the band.
  2. Extend the leg with the band around it and try to keep it as straight as possible.
  3. Raise the opposite leg up and down under a controlled movement. Perform 5 times, then repeat with other leg.
You can also perform this without the band if you have solid hamstring mobility, meaning your leg is fairly straight and there’s about a 90-degree angle between the legs from the starting position.
Side-to-Side Leg Sweeps
  1. Lie on your back in a relaxed position, lift one leg about a foot off the ground.
  2. From there, keep your leg straight and sweep it to the side, and then reverse it the other way.
  3. Perform 8 times, then repeat with other leg.
If this puts strain on your lower back, try placing a band around your foot to make it a bit easier. While the lower back may come off the ground slightly, try to keep it connected to the floor.
Cat & Camel
  1. Get on your hands and knees (quadruped position). Make sure your shoulders are directly over your wrists, and your hips over your knees. Push your lower spine towards the ground while pulling your chin up towards the sky.
  2. Then reverse this movement by tucking the neck downward and letting the mid-lower part of the spine follow upward. Keep the arms straight the entire time. Perform 5 times in each position, slowly rotating between the two.
If you feel pressure on your knees, kneel on a cushion.
Quadruped T-Spine Rotations
  1. Kneel on the ground, placing your knees together. Put one hand behind your head.
  2. From there, rotate that arm’s elbow towards the sky, retracting your shoulder back as you do. Keep the opposing forearm on the ground, and push your hips toward your heels (use a foam roller to bridge the gap if needed).
  3. Once you get to the top, hold for a second, then bring the elbow back to the ground.
  4. Perform 5 times, then repeat on the other side of your body.