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Golf Injury Prevention Exercises

Muscle control and muscular endurance is the focus of a golf injury prevention program. Such a program develops muscular stability of the lumbopelvic and shoulder girdle regions. The development of an exercise program and the appropriateness of one exercise as opposed to a similar exercise is based on a number of biomechanical criteria:

  • an evaluation of the of the exercise in question in terms of muscular activation
  • minimization of excessive or asymmetrical spinal loading
  • an assessment of associated muscular activation
  • expert opinion of leading researchers are used to determine the most appropriate exercises for a golf injury prevention program.

Low Back Injury, Spinal Stability and Exercises

Man in side bridge poseDuring the golf swing, the trunk muscles are active in all directions. Given the activation requirements of the golf swing on this muscle group and the high prevalence of golf-related low back injury, these muscles are a focus of any golf injury prevention program. The prevention of spinal buckling (where control and the lumbar lordosis are lost and the vertebral buckle into flexion during injury generation) is important for the prevention of low back injury during golf. The co-ordinated contraction of trunk stabilisers affords this spinal stability.

These trunk stabilisers include: the flexor, extensor and lateral bending trunk muscules (rectus abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique, transverse abdominis, erector spinae, quadratus lumborum and latissimus dorsi).

Muscle activity studies of the golf swing have shown that mild to moderate (20-45% of maximal muscle contraction) muscle activity. As such, the endurance ability of these muscles as opposed to absolute strength appears important to the golf swing. Importantly, a similar level of activation is required to stabilise the spine as to reduce injury risk. A history of low back injury has also been correlated with poor trunk muscle endurance as well as aberrant flexor/extensor endurance ratios. Therefore, an exercise program that aims to improve the endurance and strength of the trunk muscles is required.

Specific Exercises

Whilst any number of exercises can produce a desired level of muscle contraction to produce the desired exercise effect of endurance and strength, this is not the only criteria of a golf injury prevention program. Exercise safety in terms of spinal compressive and shear loads produced by the exercise is of utmost importance.

Many trunk muscle exercises that are commonly prescribed for rehabilitation and performance may actually predispose one to injury. They do this by producing high compressive and shear loads on the lumbar spine as a result of excessive muscular co-contraction and extreme ranges of spinal motion. The exercises identified below have the most research supporting their ability to adequately activate the trunk musculature without exceeding injury thresholds for compressive and shear loading. These exercises are: curl up, bird dog, side bridge and front support.

For more information on these exercises, click here to contact Synergy Healthcare or call 02 9522 2125 today.


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