Golfers’ Shoulders - Shoulder In Action
Part 7 of a 7-part series
by David Ostrow, President of Body Balance for Performance
Put it all into action.
Ok, you have the basics of anatomy, biomechanics, swing faults that cause injuries, and fixes. Now what? How do you take what you have learned and turn it into a result that will actually achieve the outcomes you want: no back pain and better golf. There are several approaches. I compare this to home projects. There are do it yourselfers, those who fix the problem themselves, and then there are those who hire a professional and ask them to fix the problem. The same is true in golf fitness.
Many try with varying degrees of success (or failure) to resolve their problems by reading books, listening to friends, or researching on the internet. Then they implement a smattering of fixes that may or may not help them. This works sometimes. Maybe it’s luck, maybe it’s skill, but it can work. The key to the fix is knowing the issue and then applying the correct fix for the problem. If you have bursitis and lift weights, you will hurt more. If you have shoulder impingement and apply the lat fix you will hurt more. The only way to really fix the problem is to fully understand it.
There are some golf fitness providers who are not trained in neurology, anatomy, biomechanics, or the golf swing. They know how to whip you into shape, and they are good at that. However, they do not know how to fix upper cross, or deal with thoracic mobility issues. If you don’t have these issues, this type of professional might be able to help you get into great cardio shape and build fantastic strength. Will it be functional strength that you can use in the golf swing and to prevent shoulder injuries?
In many cases assessing and fixing these problems does not take fancy tests (MRI’s, x-rays, CAT scans, myleograms, etc). It takes a simple biomechanical and functional assessment. The behavior of your body in this type of exam will generally tell you what the issue really is. There is a time and a place to see your healthcare provider. If you have pain at night or during sleep, tingling or numbness in the upper extremities, experiencing focal weakness in the upper extremity, you should seek medical attention immediately. If your pain is in your shoulder, neck, upper back, it does not radiate into the forearm or hand, and golf seems to aggravate the problem, a well trained golf fitness professional can help you.
The bottom line, however, is that any activity is better than no activity, and the right activity is better than any activity where shoulder pain and the golf swing are concerned. We have included several links to exercises that you might want to look at if you have back pain. Try these. If your symptoms increase, STOP and immediately and seek help from a golf fitness professional. If they get better, you are moving in the right direction. You might still want a golf fitness assessment to help you with the host of issues in your body.
I believe that there is great controversy about stretching and strengthening. There are many theories on both. Stretching theories include brief intense, long gentle, and somewhere in between. On strengthening there is large volume of light weight, low volume of heavy weight or somewhere in between. The facts are they are all right. Now what? Well the issue is to decide on the goal. Are you stretching to increase range of motion, or to warm up? Are your trying to build large strong muscles or strong long muscles? It is up to you. If you want more motion, then do long duration low load stretch. By the way, long duration means up to five minutes or more, and low load means a barely perceptible stretch. If you want long and strong, more reps with less weight is the generally accepted standard. If you want explosive strength, then six to eight fast repetitions with more weight will do that. You see, it completely depends on the goal at hand. Before you begin, you need to know your goal. The goal to which I refer is long and strong vs. short and strong, warm up vs. increased motion, etc. Once you know this, you know how to exercise. These goals do not dictate what to exercise, just how to exercise. The “what” is answered by understanding the physical issues.
When do I do this? There is no good answer. Some people prefer 4:00 in the morning, some prefer dinner time, and some prefer mid-day. The best time to do this is the time of day that you will actually do it, when ever that is. You do not need to spend hours a day on this project. Usually 20 to 30 minutes a day is more than enough. In some cases that is too much time. The amount of time completely depends on the issues and the goals.
How do I know if I need help from the Golf Fitness ExpertsTM at Body Balance for Performance or some other well qualified golf fitness professional? Do you know what needs to be done? Do you know the goals? Do you understand how to apply the fixes for the faults? If so, then you probably do not need anyone for this project. If you are uncertain about any of this, you should consult with you local golf fitness professional or your local golf instructor. The golf instructor may know who in your community is an expert on this. If not, let me know and I will try to direct you to someone.
If you have any questions, please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to your healthy shoulders and good golf.
David Ostrow is the President and CEO of Body Balance for Performance, Inc. He has been a physical therapist for 22 years. David is considered by many golf industry professionals to be an expert in golf fitness. David has spent his career developing a well defined, effective approach for restoring the human body to full function. His eclectic approach to the body comes from his diverse training with many of the leaders in physical therapy education including Rocabado, Maitland and Callaway.
David has taken what he learned from the masters and created a complete clinical system, integrating it into Body Balance for Performance. Check out his Golf Fitness Training Programs