Golf is an enormously popular sport for people of all ages: approximately 25 million people step onto a golf course at least once a year. And for those who play regularly, crafting your golf swing can be a lifelong pursuit. Minor tweaks and changes to the way you stand, the movement in the pelvis, and the twist of the torso can add score-improving feet to your drives and of course, bragging rights with your friends. To effectively and efficiently create that twist in the torso, the hips have to engage the oblique abdominal muscles and use them to drive the upper body through the swing. In this article we’ll look more closely at what exactly those muscles are for, and how we can get them working for us as effectively as possible using golf flexibility exercises!
It’s All Oblique to Me
There are several major muscles groups in the abdominal cavity, but for our golf-related purposes, we’re going to look more closely at two of them: the internal and external obliques. These two sets of muscles run in opposite diagonal directions and overlap each other around the sides of the body.
The external obliques start on the front of the body, attached to the bottom of the ribs, and wrap diagonally down and around the side to insert on the back of the pelvis. Meanwhile, the internal obliques begin attached to the bottom of the ribs on the back of the body, and wrap around to the front of pelvis. In this way the muscles criss-cross over each other and provide support for the sides, front and back of the torso.
Get These Muscles On Your Side
The primary function of the oblique muscles is to stabilize your core by aligning the ribs over the pelvis and holding this relationship in place. However there are many different reasons why the obliques may not be able to do their job properly: scoliosis, hip problems, even an ankle injury can throw off their natural balance.
For many of us, these muscles are simply overlooked and weak, because so much of the time when we think of core strength, we immediately go to the infamous ‘six-pack’ or rectus abdominus muscles on the front of the body. You can do crunches to your heart’s content and get those muscles to pop out and look impressive. But if you’re a golfer, they aren’t really going to help your golf swing, as they’re not the primary movers for the twist of the torso! (And on a separate note, too many crunches can start to ‘crunch’ your spinal vertebrae and cause damage over time). Instead, start to pay a little attention to strengthening the obliques and stabilize your core in every direction.
How to Get The Obliques Working For You
The side of the body can often be both weak and stiff – but the following tips will help with both conditions!
1. Stretch through the side body. Read my blog post called “Core Strength: Find Your Obliques” for video of a great side-strengthener called Boomerang, part of the Yoga Tune Up® Quick Fix for the Low Back.
2. Strengthen without a sit-up. The 10 Minute Yoga Tune Up® Quick Fix Low Back Video is a great way to continue to build low back strength.
With just a little more attention to these potential powerhouse muscles, you’ll be able to get your swing in shape in no time!
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