Specialized golf training techniques improve your swing and your game while greatly reducing your risk of injury
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (April 14, 2014) — Like the PGA pros they want to emulate, amateur golfers are paying more attention to their fitness level these days to improve their game. But they may be focusing on the wrong approach, says Charles F. Preston, MD, a golf fitness expert and orthopedic surgeon with Muir Orthopaedic Specialists in Walnut Creek, CA.
“Amateur golfers should build a foundation in whole body training, meaning moving multiple body parts in a single exercise as opposed to more traditional isolating movements to strengthen particular areas,” says Preston, who is a certified medical professional for the Titleist Performance Institute. “If your body can’t move appropriately, you’ll never get your golf swing mechanics worked out and your game will suffer.”
You’re also more likely to suffer injuries. Roughly 40 percent of amateur golfers are injured each year. Preston says that while most professional injuries are due to overuse, most amateurs sustain traumatic injuries, likely caused by poor swing mechanics.
He explains that the golf swing is a unique rotational movement, firing in a kinetic sequence from feet to hands to club. If one body segment isn’t functioning properly, an adjacent segment can be injured, which often happens with the lower back.
Lower back injuries are the most frequent injury among amateurs. Preston says these injuries are often caused by stiffness in the thoracic spine or hips, which causes the lumbar spine to do extra work to swing the club.
Preston encourages golfers to utilize the training resources of the Titleist Performance Institute (www.mytpi.com). The site has an extensive video library of whole body fitness exercises and drills tailored to the game of golf. It also has a section identifying common swing characteristics that lead to improper mechanics and injuries.
Golf training is also a great method of fall prevention for seniors, a large part of the golfing community. Preston says the crossover benefit comes from coordinating balance and body movements.
“I joke that if you tell a 70-year-old guy that he should work out for fall prevention so he doesn’t break a hip, he’ll probably shrug you off,” says Preston. “But if you tell him that this kind of workout will shave two strokes off his handicap, he’ll say, Where do I sign up?”
Preston suggests that golfers of all ages sign up for the strength training program at the Sports Performance Institute at San Ramon Regional Medical Center, where he is medical director.
About Muir Orthopeadic Specialists
A regionally recognized orthopedic practice located in the San Francisco Bay Area, Muir Orthopaedic Specialists is comprised of an expert team of physicians and providers with a variety of specialty focuses. Using state-of-the-art techniques in orthopedic medicine, Muir Orthopaedic Specialists restores mobility and comfort in musculoskeletal injuries, treating the foot, ankle, knee, hip, spine, shoulder, elbow and hand. Muir Orthopaedic Specialists facilities are located east of San Francisco in Walnut Creek, Brentwood and San Ramon. For more information, please visit www.muirortho.com.