Massage has become an important part of strength-and-conditioning programs as a way of helping the body's soft tissue recover faster from strenuous activity. It also resets a muscle's length and tension to avoid pain and injury. Golfers who suffer from post-round soreness can really benefit, but regular visits to a massage therapist can get costly. Instead, try these self-massaging techniques using a foam roller. Mark Verstegen, founder of Athletes' Performance and Core Performance in Phoenix, says these four treatments can help golfers where they need it the most. Foam rollers typically cost $15 to $40.
1. ILIOTIBIAL BAND (above)
These fibers run from the outside of your hip to below the outside of your knee and serve as stabilizers when you walk or swing a club. They can become stressed, leading to a sore back, hip or knee. To release this tension, lie on a foam roller on your side so it rests just below your waist. Roll up and down along your side from your hip to just above the outside of your knee for a minute or two. Switch sides and repeat.
2. RHOMBOIDS, TRAPEZIUS
The muscles of your mid- to upper back, including your rhomboids and trapezius fibers, help maintain your posture while your thoracic spine rotates during the golf swing. To target this area, lie on a foam roller so it's resting in the middle of your back. Slide the roller up and down between your shoulder blades and your mid-back for a minute or two.
3. LATISSIMUS DORSI
These large muscles of the mid-back help control the movements of your shoulder joint and trunk as you swing the club. Resetting their length and tension improves mobility, control and power. Lie on your side, and favor your back so the foam roller is resting just below your armpit and shoulder blade. Roll back and forth for a minute or two. Switch sides and repeat.
This powerful muscle group is on the front of your thighs and is important to a solid stance and stable knees during the swing, which allow for an efficient transfer of energy and power from the lower body to the upper body. Lie face down on the foam roller so it's resting on one thigh, just below your hip bone. Roll up and down the length of the front of the muscle for a minute or two. Switch legs and repeat.