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Golf, Get Back into the Swing of Things

With the golf season starting back up, it is time to get our bodies ready with simple Golf Swing Training Exercises.  The following exercises are designed to make you more mobile in key areas that are important for your golf swing.  Perform this quick routine 5 days a week for the next few weeks to prep your body for the long season ahead.

THE MOVES

Hip Flexor Stretch – These muscles also affect the pelvis and low back.  With the amount of sitting we commonly do each day, there is a good chance these muscles need some attention.

Stand 6” away from a wall with your back facing the wall. Lean left shin with pointed foot on the wall. Stand tall and keep upper body parallel to the wall. Hold for 30 seconds, do 2 times.

Lax ball to shoulderLAX Ball to Posterior Shoulder – By loosening up the infraspinatus muscle, you will have increased arm action during the back swing and follow through.

 

 

 

 

Fire HyrdantFire Hydrants – Great for mobility of the hips as well as added strength.

Begin on “all 4’s”. Make sure your arms are locked out, your back is flat and your head is facing the ground.

Keeping your back flat and your knee bent at 90 degrees slowly lift your left leg up and out to the side until it is level with your back. Repeat 5-10 times on each side.

 

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Prayer Stretch

prayer-stretch

This stretch is great for people that have kyphosis (rounded spine) in their upper thoracic region and is beneficial for yogi’s trying to correct their posture. This move will increase mobility in the thoracic spine as well as stretch the latissimus dorsi muscles; a group of muscles along the posterior lateral part of the trunk, that if tight can restrict overhead activities.

THE MOVE

Start off on your knees with the roller in front of you. Place your hands together on the roller and, while keeping your chest up as much as possible, push your arms forward to let the foam roll underneath your arm towards your body. As you’re rolling the foam out, you should get a nice stretch in your lats. Come back to the starting position and repeat for the necessary amount of repetitions (usually two or three sets of 10 to 12 reps works well).

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Stir the Pot

Stir The Pot

This exercise helps to improve core stability that is essential to transferring power generated in the lower body to the upper body.  The exercise is a spine sparing activity.  Spine Sparing refers to movements and strategies that decrease a load on the spine, which will reduce disc herniations.

THE MOVE

To start, assume a plank position with your forearms on a Swiss ball. Make sure there is space between your chest and your forearms. Your arm and forearm should be about a 90 degree angle.

Use your forearms to move the ball in small circles while keeping the rest of your body in the original position.

Do 10 circles to the left and then 10 to the right. That’s 1 set. Do 3 sets.  Make sure you brace your core and glutes throughout the movement.

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Functional Screen Series: Screen One – 6-inch Step-Down

screen1screen2As chiropractors that specialize in soft tissue treatments, we work with many individuals that have joint and soft-tissue restrictions. Finding spinal subluxations (spinal subluxation is when one or more of the bones of your spine (vertebrae) move out of position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves) and soft tissue adhesions is like finding a needle in a haystack. The practitioners at Chicago Chiropractic & Sports Medicine focus on finding the relevant restrictions—the dysfunctions that are causing the most trouble. Functional screens are a way for us to narrow down the list of possible suspects, making treatments more efficient.

We will be doing a series of functional screens over the next couple of months. Screen One is the “6-inch Step-Down,” which helps us to determine hip strength and ankle mobility. To perform the screen, find a 6” step (bottom stair, wooden box). Stand on one leg with the opposite leg toes pointed up. Slowly lower the opposite heal towards the ground. Lightly touch the heel to the ground and return up. Perform on the other side. This movement should be done in a smooth, coordinated fashion. You fail the test if you lose your balance, you are uncoordinated, or you fail to reach the heel to the ground. Athletes should use an 8” step.
If you fail the Step-Down test, you may be lacking strength in your hip muscles (gluteus medius) or you may be lacking ankle mobility. One of the things you can do to help correct this is by adding the following exercises into your daily routine or before you exercise. If you feel that the exercises are not helping, you may need chiropractic manipulation or Active Release Techniques to remove the restrictions.

Calf Stretch with Stick Work

img-calf-stretch1To work the calf, start by using The Stick over the calf muscles. Use firm pressure moving up the calf to find any tender areas. Focus on these tender areas by giving each spot 30 short and quick rolls with the stick.

img-calf-stretch2To continue to stretch the calf, place the balls of one foot on a step and let the heel of the foot fall as far towards the ground as possible. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other calf. Do 2 sets of 30 seconds with each leg.

 

 

Side-lying Leg Lift
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  • The purpose of the Side-lying Leg Lift is to strengthen the gluteus medius (side of your butt) in order to help stabilize the knee.
  • Lean your whole body forward 45 degrees and rotate your top foot so that the toes are touching the heel of your bottom foot.
  • Lift your heel 4-6 inches off the ground and then lower back down.
  • Start with 2 sets of 20-25 reps for each leg.
  • Work up to 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Then add 5 lb. ankle weight

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Functional Screen Series: Screen Two – Diaphragmatic Breathing

This month’s screen involves breathing.  Now before you read any further, go stand in front of the mirror and take a deep breath.  What did you see?  Did your shoulders and elevate and your neck tense up, or did your shoulders and neck stay relaxed?  Did you stomach come in or did it expand out when you inhaled? Many people fail to breathe optimally.  Natural and efficient breathing requires us to use our diaphragm muscle.

When we inhale the diaphragm should contract and lower into the abdomen, slightly expanding our bellies from the downward pressure as the lungs fill with air (diaphragmatic or “belly” breathing).  The shoulders and neck should stay relaxed.  Unfortunately, many people do the opposite.  They rely on their neck and shoulder muscles to help assist with breathing and they sometimes even bring their stomachs in on the inhale (chest breathing).  When you breathe this way you aren’t using your diaphragm correctly.  Due to the incorrect breathing, many people get sore and tight through their neck and shoulders.

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What’s more, people with chronic low back pain were shown to have poor function of their diaphragm.  When you breathe properly, your diaphragm contracts and increases the pressure in your abdomen.  This increased pressure actually helps support the front of your spine.

One way to help encourage deeper breathing is to breath more often with your nose.  Nose breathing allows you to breathe deeper with your diaphragm. When you breathe into your belly, your abdomen should expand in 360 degrees.  Imagine pushing your waistband out in all directions.  To get started breathing more efficiently, try the “crocodile breath” exercise explained below.

Crocodile Breath

Crocodile breath is a yoga exercise or technique for teaching and training diaphragmatic breathing.

crocodileStart by laying face down with your forehead on the back of your hands. This is to make sure your neck is in alignment with the rest of your spine. Next, you will breathe in through your nose and deep into your “belly” – when you do this correctly you will feel your stomach push out into the ground and your obliques will push out to the sides as well. You should feel that your lower back may even rise and fall with your inhale and exhale. Once you have a comfortable inhale you simply exhale and begin again.

Do not be in a rush. Let your breathing come at a natural pace and be sure to feel the stomach push out into the floor. Perform the “Crocodile Breath” for 5 minutes a day. This exercise will gently mobilize your thoracic spine and ease away muscular tension. When your thoracic spine can move and function better, so will your shoulders and low back.

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Piriformis and External Hip Rotators

Strengthening the left piriformis (external rotators): Piriformis and External Hip Rotators
Piriformis and External Hip RotatorsStart by lying on your side; your left leg should be almost straight, bent about 10-20 degrees. Next bend your left knee to 90 degrees. Support your bent right knee with pillows. Then push your left knee into the table or floor, and then lift the left foot toward the ceiling, against gravity. Lift your foot as far as you can comfortably, without twisting your pelvis or hips. You should feel your lower buttock muscles activate/contract. Then lower the leg slowly. Repeat for 8-12 reps for 2-3 sets. If needed, brace with your abdomen and/or activate the pelvic floor muscles to enhance the exercise.

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