Of the 25 million golfers in America, up to
62% may suffer an injury in the game. Low back pain is the
most common injury in professional and amateur golfers.
Repetitive swinging motions and excessive backswing are
a few possible reasons for back injury. According to a recent
study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological
Therapeutics, modifying your swing might reduce your
chances for injury without shortening your drive.
golfers who normally demonstrated an excessive backswing
were fitted with a recording device to measure the muscle
activity in their lower and middle back, sides, and right
side of the chest. The golfers consecutively hit 10 balls
as hard as possible using their typical swing, while a device
measured club-head speed and accuracy. Next, the individuals
were shown how to modify their swing to incorporate a much
shorter backswing; they were allowed to practice this swing,
and they then hit 10 more golf balls using the modified
A shortened backswing did not significantly
decrease club speed or stroke accuracy, and the target spot
on the club head also remained the same. However, muscle
activity was significantly reduced in the sides and back
during various stages of the golf swing. Translation: The
golfers were able to hit just as good using the safer swing.
Perhaps you have an exaggerated golf backswing,
yet have avoided changing your swing mechanics because of
concern it might decrease your game performance. If that
is the case, this study should prompt you to minimize your
backswing to prevent back injury. It is important to note
that this study also showed that a reduced backswing increased
shoulder muscle activity; however, shoulder injuries are
usually much less debilitating than back injuries.
Bulbulian R, Ball KA, Seaman
DR. The short golf backswing: Effects on performance and spinal
health implications. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological
Therapeutics 2001:24(9), pp. 569-575.
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