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Fitness Friday: A remedy for lower-back pain

Every week Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. Here's his advice for dealing with the very common problem of lower-back pain. Look for Weekend Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman.

Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Golf Digest


Here's Ron: Whether you're a once-a-month golfer or one who hit balls every day, there is a good chance you've experienced some kind of pain or discomfort in your lower back as a result of swinging a golf club, sitting at your computer or a combination of the two.
 
The bad news is that lower-back issues, particularly muscle strains/tears or spinal-cord injuries, are common for golfers because the body isn't designed to handle the twisting/torquing action placed on the upper torso when a club is swung at a high rate of speed. Why is the lower back the source of much of the pain? Your lumbar spine--the bottom group of vertebrae--can withstand some degree of twisting in either direction, but the region is not nearly as flexible as the vertebrae in your mid back (thoracic spine).
 
You might not be able to completely prevent lower-back injuries, but the good news is that you can do some things to greatly reduce your odds. One of the most important is to strengthen your gluteal muscles. The glutes supply power to your downswing, they help stabilize the body and, most importantly, they help alleviate some of the pressure on the lower back, says Golf Digest fitness expert Randy Myers. Myers trains a number of top tour pros and was working just yesterday with Farmers Insurance Open champion Brandt Snedeker on glute strength. Essentially, if you have weak glutes, the lower back is called upon to support the upper torso and supply stability/rotation in your golf swing. That's not good.
 
So every time you do your workout, spend at least a few minutes on glute-strengthening exercises. To see a demonstration of one, click on the video below.

Ron Kaspriske
Fitness Editor
Golf Digest