Neck & Upper Back Pain In Golfers

Tightness and soreness in the neck and upper traps area is nothing new in most people. This soreness can occur in anyone and is often times seen in golfers. The cause can be variable but is usually posture related. It is common in individuals that sit at a computer or drive for long periods of time. What happens is the upper traps and neck region become overused and the muscles become tight and sore. This overuse is related to poor postural positions as well as problems with the way muscles are functioning. The middle back becomes weak around the shoulder blades resulting in the upper traps to work harder and become tight. This tension is also associated with shoulder function as well.

Here is a video of some upper trap stretches and some positioning exercises to help relieve the extra tension on those upper traps.

Posted under Exercise Tips, Golf Injuries

This post was written by Mark Tolle on October 7, 2009

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Exercise To Correct That C-Posture In Your Golf Set Up

The set up to the golf swing is one of the most fundamental aspects of the swing. If your set up posture is bad, your swing will be bad. A common set up fault is the C-posture, that is, the slumped over position we often see. Your head is forward and curved down and the upper back and shoulders are excessively curved forward. This hunched over position really limits your shoulder turn and your ability to make a good backswing.

Sometimes the cause of this C-Posture is just a poor understanding of the golf set up position, but for the majority of golfers it is caused by muscle imbalances and joint restrictions that developed over time. The muscles in the upper back become weak and or tight. It is common for the lats and shoulder rotators to become tight. The lats attach on the back of the pelvis and go up the back and come under to the front of the shoulders. This is why the pelvis can have a strong influence on the shoulders & our upper body posture.

There are several exercises which help in restoring correct posture and upper back mobility. Here are 2 good ones I use quite often. If you have a C-posture in your set up, try these.
Good Luck!

Posted under Exercise Tips, Swing Faults

This post was written by Mark Tolle on November 23, 2008

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Exercises To Correct The Faulty C-Posture

As a follow up to my last post I want to show you two golf exercises that are helpful in correcting a C-posture in your set up. Often times you will already know that you have a slumped position in your golf setup position. Either your friends have told you or your teaching professional is trying to get you to improve it. If you are unsure, here is a simple test you can do at home to help identify this set up fault.

Stand with your back all the way up against the wall as shown. Make sure your heels touch the wall, as well as your butt, shoulders, and head. Now if you are able to have everything touch the wall with minimal effort then you have pretty good posture. If you relax and your shoulders slump and your head or upper back comes off the wall you have some muscle imbalances. However if you are unable to put your head straight back against the wall you have significant muscular imbalances.

Correct your C-posture with exercises

If you failed this test, or your golf professional has told you to work on your posture, then try these two exercises right now to start improving your set up position and swing.

Lie down on the floor on your stomach. Place your elbows up under your chest, so that you are propping yourself up. With your shoulders propped up and the rest of your body flat on the floor your spine should be curved into extension. Just relax in this position letting gravity do the work. You should feel like your shoulder blades are pinching together in this position. Then while keeping your elbows stationary rotate the forearms out at 45° angles. Stay in this position for one minute.

Sit down on the floor with your back up against a wall. Then bring in your feet toward you so your knees point out and the soles of your feet are touching. Keep your feet as close to your body as possible. Then make sure your butt, low back, shoulders and head are touching the wall. This may be difficult but what is most important is that your butt and low back are touching the wall. Then take one arm and slowly slide it up the wall away from you body. You can hold a golf club in the opposite hand to help slide it up if you wish. When you slide the arm along the wall make sure your lower back does not come away from the wall. Hold it for three seconds and repeat five times. Then perform the arm slide on the opposite side. You may notice one arm is harder than the other.

Give these two exercises a try and start improving that golf posture now. Best of luck!

Posted under Exercise Tips, Swing Faults

This post was written by Mark Tolle on November 20, 2008

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Correct Your Golf Posture For Longer Drives

Golf posture and your set up position is one of the first things that golf professionals look at when assessing your golf swing. They know that when you are in good posture, your potential to hit straighter and longer golf shots is much improved. However, maintaining a good set up is often times not a simple task. The first step in developing a golf conditioning program is implementing exercises to ensure a good golf posture.

The most common postural fault in the set up position is the C-posture. The C-posture is seen when your shoulders and upper back are hunched forward when addressing the ball (see photo). There can be many causes to this position but it is generally the result of a lack of mobility in the upper back (thoracic spine), tightness through the chest and shoulders, and weak or inhibited muscles. A physical assessment from a golf fitness professional will help identify the specific problem.

In terms of your golf swing the problem with this type of posture is that it makes it difficult for you to rotate the shoulders fully, as well as maintain correct positions during the swing. A C-posture will never allow you to get the distance in you shots that you really desire.

Stay tuned for more information about this dysfunction and exercises to increase your upper back mobility.

Posted under Exercise Tips

This post was written by Mark Tolle on November 20, 2008

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Practice The Hip Hinge For An Effective Golf Set Up

I want to discuss a situation that I encountered with a client recently. During one of his exercise sessions he asked if I could go with him to the driving range to observe his swing. Of course he knows that I am not a teaching professional, and that I am adamant about not working with the golf swing. He explained that he just wanted me to make sure that he was not doing anything in his swing that would cause his back pain to return. After speaking with him about taking another lesson with a teaching professional I reluctantly agreed to meet him at the driving range to hit a few balls.

I planned to show up early and do some practicing myself. When he arrived his first activity was to do a little warm up before hitting any balls. After his warm up he began hitting. Because I am very focused on posture, the first thing I noticed was flaws in his set up position. Because I had attended one of his golf lessons I knew this was an ongoing problem. I remember thinking he needs to program his body to hinge/bend at the hips much better. So I thought he would benefit from the exercise we used with back pain patients in physical therapy. That’s right “The Hip Hinge”

The hip hinge exercise is used to help develop a coordinated bending movement of the pelvis & upper body through the hip joints. It helps limit bending in other areas, such as the low back and knees. Because it is sometimes difficult to isolate the bending in the hips, I have people practice it in a sitting position first, and then progress to standing in the golf address position. By performing high numbers of repetitions in sitting (several sets of 30 reps daily) the body develops a motor program for the movement. It is then easier to perform the correct movement when standing to address the golf ball. I knew that this client needed to develop the fundamental movement first because he was clearly bending too much through the spine and at the knees.
To perform the hip hinge as shown in the picture all you need is a chair and a golf club. Sit in tall posture and place the golf club across your upper back as shown. Then while keeping your back straight, chest and head up, hinge forward through your hips. Perform 2-3 sets of 30 reps daily until it becomes easy. Then practice the same movement standing in your set-up position. This will help program a much better position at address and improve your swing.
Good Luck!

Start Position

Hip Hinge Motion

Posted under Exercise Tips

This post was written by Mark Tolle on November 19, 2008

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