If you thought your arms and legs were the only things involved in your golf swing, you probably got a rude awakening when you found that your abdominal muscles were sore or pulled after a day on the course. It's surprising to many to learn that golf is a total-body activity, incorporating most of the major muscles of the body.
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Muscles Used in Golf
When you swing a club -- especially hitting a driver on the tee box -- you'll be drawing on your abdominals in a major way. Your rectus abdominis, or "six pack," at the center of your abdomen and the obliques at the sides help to rotate your body to create a powerful swing. Those muscles also help stabilize your spine, preventing lower-back injuries, as well as helping you regain your balance after the swing. When your abdominals are weak, pulled muscles and a less-controlled golf swing are just some of the side effects you might see.
If a pulled muscle is bad enough, it results in a partial or full tear in the muscle fiber. According to New York University's School of Medicine, that type of injury can be caused by sharply twisting the body or by doing activities that your muscles are not used to doing. In the short term, the best remedy is to stay off the golf course for a while, at least until the pain subsides. Also try icing the area for about 15 minutes, four times a day, suggests NYU's School of Medicine. If the pain lasts more than a few days, consult your doctor for other treatment or pain-relief options. He may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen.
Because a pulled stomach muscle is often caused by using your muscles in a way they're not used to being used, the long-term solutions involve training your muscles properly. Performing core training exercises will help strengthen your entire midsection, helping to improve your golf swing, as well as enhancing your activities of daily living. To strengthen the back at the same time -- another important muscle group for your golf swing -- try performing planks and side planks, holding each pose for 30 seconds several times a day. Pullups, pushups, crunches and bicycle crunches will also help you strengthen your abdominals and obliques. For the best outcomes, incorporate a strength-training or weight-training routine for all major muscle groups, helping to enhance all aspects of your golf game.
Have Your Swing Analyzed
Pro golfers will tell you that the core muscles of the abdomen, back and spine are absolutely crucial for a good swing. If you're really concerned about performance, have your swing analyzed on a launch monitor and recorded on video. By watching the way you swing in slow motion, a coach can demonstrate to you how to transfer power not just from your arms and legs -- but from your core as well. When your core muscles are properly trained and you learn how to use them to your advantage, you could find your golf game greatly improved.