Golf isn't often associated with major injuries, but the explosive nature of the swing can take a serious toll on the body. To prevent injury, you need to improve your ability to decelerate the club from max velocity.
The swing is a violent motion, and the stress of decelerating and stopping its momentum falls on the ligaments and tendons more than it should—similar to a pitcher. The swing puts excessive stress and torque on the knees, hips and shoulders, which can result in ACL and MCL sprains, snapping hip syndrome and rotator cuff issues. (See how Scott Stallings builds leg stability.)
To prevent these issues from occurring, you must improve your ability to resist movement by strengthening your entire core. Strong muscles will help absorb force and reduce the stress on your joints.
I recommend the following exercise routine to prevent the most common golf injuries. Do this twice per week on top of your performance-enhancing routine. (Find more ways to stay healthy on the links.)
Plank - 2x1 minute
Single-Leg Plank - 2x30 seconds each leg
The same movement as the Plank, except raise one leg off of the ground.
Side Plank With Hip Abduction - 2x30 seconds each side
Assume a side plank position and lift top leg into the air. Keep foot flexed during movement.
Hip Adduction - 2x15 each leg
Lie on your side and cross your top leg over your bottom leg in front of your body. Then raise your bottom leg up with a flexed foot. Remember to move from the hip.
Glute Bridge Holds - 2x1 minute holds
Lie with just your upper back on a bench or physioball and let your hips fall naturally to the ground. Place a weighted plate or a sandbag over your hips and raise into bridge position, creating a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold this position by pushing through your heels. Watch Willis McGahee perform this exercise.
Single-Leg Glute Bridge - 2x30 seconds each
Same as above, but on one leg. Elevated leg should be straight and parallel to the ground.
Static Lunge With Lateral Stabilization - 2x30 seconds each
Wrap an elastic band or tube around your right leg just above the knee. Step forward into a Lunge with your right leg. Have a partner pull band to midline; keep core tight and chest up.
Forward Lunge with Core Stabilization - 2x30 seconds each side
Hold elastic band with arms extended in front of chest. Step forward into Lunge and have partner pull band toward midline; keep core tight.
Rotator Cuff Isometric Stabilization - 2x30 seconds each arm
Start on all fours with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Place your right arm on a physioball. Have a partner turn the physioball while you try to maintain posture. Squeeze your rear delts and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock