Back pain sufferers are often told to "strengthen their core" if they want to alleviate their back pain. Unfortunately, when most people hear the word "core" they think of their abs. And when most people think of training their abs, they think of doing crunches (one of the worst exercises for back pain sufferers). A strong and functional abdominal wall will reduce back pain. No question. But the key for most back pain sufferers lies in, well, the back of the body. The glutes!
Your glutes are a part of your core. How many of you had to read that again? Your glutes are a part of your core. As such, strong glutes are crucial for healing low back pain and fixing some of the most common swing faults golf pros see daily.
In the golf swing, strong and stable glutes are responsible for a smooth acceleration of power from the lower body up through the torso and out through the arms/club. We call this the kinematic sequence. If you don't have strong and stable glutes, you won't be able to efficiently coil in your backswing and your body will instead shift laterally to generate power. As many golfers know, shifting laterally (or swaying) in your swing leads to an incredible loss of power. For right handed golfers, for example, the ability to laterally stabilize the right leg in the backswing is directly linked to the strength and stability of the glute muscles.
I don't golf but my back hurts - get to the part about me!
Back pain sufferers: The body works in an alternating pattern of stability and mobility. Your hip needs to be mobile and your pelvis/sacrum/lumbar spine needs to be stable. If the hip joint lacks in mobility, the lumbar spine will become mobile instead of stable, which can lead to disc and facet injuries in the lower back. Strong and functional glutes will create more mobility in the hip and lead to more stability in the pelvis, helping to relieve back pain and prevent future injuries.
Ready for stronger glutes? Try these two exercises (and special thanks to Robbie Cannon for all his great ideas).
Clocks - Work up to 2 sets of 8 taps on each leg. The lower you bend the standing leg, the harder it will be. Perform from golf set-up posture for added golf performance benefit.
Single Leg Bridge - Work up to 2 sets of 10 reps on each leg. Make sure the knee is at 90 degrees. Have fun!