Athletes in explosive sports like football, rugby, lacrosse or track and field might define fitness as the ability to exhibit excellence in that sport. Excellence in one does not guarantee the same in another. For example being a success at football doesn’t automatically mean you will be a success at track; the specifics of training, the type of movements, the skills and the body composition required are too different. In the training world we call this a lack of transferability.
That is not to say a football player cannot be a moderately good track athlete, it has and will continue to be done, but it is not as common as one may think. The exception that proves the rule is Bob Hayes, an Olympian sprinter who translated his success on the track to a successful football career with the Dallas Cowboys.
In the modern era of sports, specialization has become key. With the money involved in sports, and the promise of future sports success comes the one-sport athlete. This is not a bad thing at all, but where does it leave those who want to be fit and don’t play sports at that level? The rest of us go to gyms, run on treadmills or in the streets, we compete in triathlons, we run marathons, we play flag football, softball or anything else to satisfy our urge to compete. Does this make us fit?
Fitness is defined by competence in ten physical skills; strength, speed, power, cardio-respiratory endurance, stamina, coordination, accuracy, agility, balance and flexibility. Those skills are honed using compound multi-joint movements that involve the whole body, also known as movements that work along productive lines of force. It means that a good “fit” CrossFit athlete would exhibit competence at a variety of randomly chosen activities, including but not limited to, tests of limit strength like the deadlift; timed runs of lengths from 100 meters to 15K and above, on the flats and on hills; timed combinations of fairly heavy deadlifts and runs of various lengths repeated in rounds at high intensity, etc. Only the imagination of the trainer limits the tasks.
Life punishes the specialist, life isn’t about sports, it is about lifting up that bag of concrete to pour into your wheelbarrow to spread out on the new sidewalk, it is about chasing after your kids or dogs when they break free from your grip, it is about putting a heavy box in the attic, or loft, above your head, it is about feeling your best and being confident in your appearance and in your performance. It is about being prepared for the challenges of life, and developing it in such a way that supports health and moves beyond wellness into fitness.
Golf fitness exercises can be key in improving the strength in your lower back. The lower back is one of the most commonly injured areas of the body in the sport of golf, and rightfully so. The lower back is placed under large amounts of stress each and every golf swing. Over time these stresses can cause debilitation to this area of the body eventually resulting in injury. To counteract the stressors placed upon the lower back from the swing, the golfer can take a series of steps to prevent injury through the implementation of golf fitness exercises to improve lower back strength.
These preventative steps incorporate a series of golf fitness flexibility and golf fitness strength exercises. The goal of these golf exercises is to create the supportive base in terms of flexibility and strength within the musculature of the lower back to support the golf swing.
The spine’s flexiblity
First and foremost the process by which the lower back becomes injured from golf is quite simple. Each swing of the club requires the golfer to draw the club through a large range of motion, maintain a set spine angle, and generate power. In order to complete these physical tasks correctly a specific level of flexibility and strength is required of the lower back. If the golfer lacks the required flexibility or strength to execute these physical actions the lower back will be stressed more than necessary. This will lead to fatigue and possible injury to the lower back.
Secondly, the golf swing is a repetitive athletic action. The swing is executed over and over again utilizing the same muscles. Over time these muscles become fatigued. Once muscles are fatigued, they can easily become injured. This statement holds true for the lower back as well as all the other muscles of the body incorporated with the swing. To counteract fatigued in the lower back created by the golf swing, it is necessary for one to develop the strength and endurance parameters of these muscles. This result again can be accomplished by the completion of golf specific strength exercises.
Now that we understand the processes by which the lower back becomes injured from the golf swing, we can begin to develop an injury preventative golf fitness program. As stated previously such a golf fitness program would incorporate a series of golf specific flexibility and strength exercises.
Synchronizing your muslces
The golf flexibility exercises focus on developing the required ranges of motion in the lower back to execute the golf swing efficiently. Golf exercises I often utilize for this goal are cats, openers, rotators, and windmills. All of these golf exercises create extensibility in the muscles of the lower back, and if performed consistently will assist in the prevention of injury.
Endurance and strength
The golf fitness strength exercises of such a program look to develop strength and endurance in the muscles of the lower back to execute the golf swing over and over again. Prone holds, bent knee back holds, alternating arm and leg extensions, and hip circles are common exercises I implement into this phase of a program.
Remember, the lower back is placed under large amounts of stress each and every swing. To counteract the possibility of injury from the golf swing, we can incorporate a series of golf specific flexibility and strength exercises. These golf fitness exercises will develop the ranges of motion required for the golf swing, develop the strength necessary to execute the swing, and finally create endurance within these muscles.