As the worldwide golfing population ages and becomes more sedentary, an increasing number of people are struggling with bone density issues. Whilst weakening bones can be attributed to many different factors, there are 3 preventable issues that have a strong influence on bone density, especially in the upper body:
1) Loss of muscle strength in the arms, shoulders and upper spine.
2) Lack of weight bearing load through the arms.
3) Poor spine and shoulder posture.
These 3 things are also damaging to efficient movement in the golf swing in the following ways:
1) Lack of muscle strength leads to decreased club-head speed. Club-head speed is very strongly correlated with driving distance and scoring average.
2) Lack of weight bearing load leads to a weakened deep muscle system which leaves unstable joints and spines exposed to injury risk.
3) Poor posture leads to inefficient rotational movement, loose arm-body connection and lack of club-face control.
This is worrying from a couple of different perspectives; firstly you are more exposed to injury, which isn’t fun for anybody and certainly doesn’t help your golf. Secondly, playing bad golf can get pretty depressing after a while and packing it in could reduce your activity level further, leading to faster degradation of that crucial bone density.
Here are two very simple and easy preventative solutions that can provide more load to your upper body, helping to strengthen both bone and muscle and improve your posture. The first solution is simply pushing your buggy, using a single arm and switching arms periodically. It’s important to do this with good posture, so feel like you are stretching tall, drawing your spine out of your pelvis. In addition, try to push your shoulder forward, imagining your shoulder blade hugging into your ribcage and holding steady in that position. Pushing your buggy with good posture helps solve 2 of the 3 issues – posture and weight bearing load.
My second solution is using the GravityFit TPro, which is specifically designed to solve all 3 problems; the backbow provides feedback on posture and encourages you to find and maintain good spine and shoulder position. The exercise tubing gives you both the weight bearing load and enough resistance to assist with increasing muscle strength and endurance, especially in the those key deep postural muscles in the upper spine and shoulder girdle. You can use the TPro for simple walking and arm press movements or you can make it more golf specific and start doing the GravityFit golf exercises that come included in the Swing Kit product. The Swing Kit is essentially a TPro with both strengths of band included, the green bands are best suited to the simple strength work and yellow bands work best in a golf context, especially when practising using the TPro.
My recommendations for a solid daily program using the Swing Kit is as follows:
Exercise 1 – Arm Press, 3 sets of 12 reps using green tubing
Exercise 2 – Wall Push Up, 3 set of 10 reps using green tubing
Exercise 3 – Split Stance Turn, 2 sets of 6 reps each side, yellow tubing
Exercise 4 – Back Swings, 2 sets of 6 reps, using yellow tubing
You can also take the TPro with yellow bands to the range or chipping green and use it to assist with your practice.