"Openers": A Lower Back Stretch for Golfers

It is well known one of the most common injuries in golf is to the lower back. Research indicates more than half of all golfers will incur a lower back injury at some time during their playing careers.

Why Injuries Occur

On the PGA Tour, a great deal of time and energy is spent on preventing lower back injuries. What is the cause for the high incidence of lower back injuries in the sport of golf?

The execution of the golf swing places large amounts of stress on the lower back. And over time the lower back becomes fatigued. This results in a decrease in performance and possible injury.

How does one prevent such an injury from occurring? First off, not all lower back injuries can be prevented, but the golfer can take steps to make such injuries less likely. One of these steps is the implementation of a comprehensive golf fitness program.

Incorporated in such a program is a lower back flexibility and strengthening program. This part of the program contains a series of golf-specific flexibility exercises geared to maintaining the range of motion within the lower back.

One such lower back flexibility exercise I have found to be of great benefit is one that I call Openers.

"Openers" is a simple-to-perform lower back flexibility exercise that can help your rotation during the backswing, and it also helps keep the musculature of the lower back flexible.

Starting Position

Openers Lower Back Exercise - Beginning Position
Photo courtesy BioForceGolf.com; used with permission

Here's how to perform the Openers exercise:

Step 1: Begin the exercise lying on your side with the left hip in contact with the floor (as in the photo above).

Step 2: Bend both knees approximately 90 degrees, resting the right knee on top of the left.

Step 3: Extend both arms straight out from the shoulders, resting the left arm on the floor, and hands clasped together.

Finish Position

Openers Lower Back Exercise - End Position
Photo courtesy BioForceGolf, Inc.; used with permission

Step 4: Begin by slowly raising your right arm off the left.

Step 5: Continue to raise and rotate the right arm until it is resting on the floor opposite your left arm (as in the photo above).

Step 6: Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, and repeat the exercise sequence by lying on your right side.

Keep in mind not all lower back injuries can be prevented, but with the implementation of a lower back flexibility and strengthening program, the possibility of one occurring to you can be greatly reduced.

Go slow with any new exercise you have not performed in the past. Check with your physician before undertaking any new physical training program.