Health & FitnessJuly 14, 2011

Fitness Friday: Reduce back pain and gain 20 yards with one stretch

Editor's note: Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. This week he gives you one simple stretch to not only reduce the potential for lower-back pain, but also to gain significant yardage. Look for Saturday Morning Tip tomorrow (hint: playing from deep bunkers), and remember to follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.

*Roger Schiffman

Managing Editor

Golf Digest

__Here's Ron:__How's this for a sales pitch? One exercise can help you gain 20 yards off the tee and reduce, or eliminate, your lower-back pain.

Let's start with those 20 yards. A key to longer drives is making a bigger, more powerful rotation with your torso, first away from the target and then toward the target. To do that, you need to learn where that rotation should come from--the thoracic spine. The T-spine is made up of 12 vertebrae in the middle of your back. In the grand scheme of human anatomy, the T-spine can't rotate very much. It can rotate enough, however, to help you properly load your swing and then unwind it as the club comes down. The more mobility you have in the T-spine, the better chance you have of making a powerful swing. And if you're suffering from lower-back pain or want to avoid it in the future, the T-spine also plays a key role helping stabilize the lumbar spine.

Golfers with limited T-spine mobility often attempt to rotate their bodies with their lower-back. But because the lumbar spine has very limited rotational ability, any attempt to push it past ** that boundary often leads to back pain. To train and increase your T-spine rotation, first strengthen your core muscles in the abdomen. Having core stability is key to increasing rotation. Then, focus on turning your torso with the middle of your back.

You can get a feel for this by making turns to the left and right while sitting in a chair. The chair will help immobilize your lower back allowing you to turn with just your T-spine. For an exercise that can improve your core stability and increase your T-spine rotation, click on the video below.

*Ron Kaspriske

Fitness Editor

Golf Digest*

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