“Did you know that 53% of Male and 45%
0f Female golfers suffer
From lower back pain?”
Every week hundreds of emails land in my inbox and I have to confess that most end up in the trash. But one particular email caught my attention last week and prompted me to follow up. The email started… “Did you know that 53% of Male and 45% of Female golfers suffer from lower back pain?”
It was a statistic that instantly struck a cord with me. Being a keen golfer I’m only too aware of the stress and strain I put my body under smashing the golf ball around the course a few times a week and I have to say that over the last few years I’ve been suffering with a terrible bad back. However like most golfers I do very little about it. I have a few warm up swings in the net, I try to avoid carrying my golf bag in favour of a trolley in the winter months, but that’s about it. The thought of going to the gym and training on a treadmill like a hamster on a wheel has little appeal and as for weights I wouldn’t know where to start to actually improve my physique to benefit my golf game.
Step in Scott Bryant – a personal trainer with a difference! Scott was once a doorman kicking out unruly pub goers but he knew he wasn’t fulfilling his potential in life so he decided to change career paths 11 years ago and has overcome severe dyslexia to study at the C.H.E.K Institute – one of the leading authorities on golfing fitness and well-being in the world. Since then Scott has been known as ‘the body mechanic’ and is working hard to becoming one of the leading experts in the industry. What sets him apart from other golf trainers is that he doesn’t just look at your physique but actually uses a holistic approach to improve your golf swing, looking at every aspect of your body as a whole before trying to improve it – what you eat, how you breathe, how the body functions and so on.I met Scott at his gym in central London and he spent a few hours assessing my body function. The shocking truth was that nearly every muscle in my body had some kind of restriction and that’s having a negative effect on both my golf game and my life. The encouraging part is hearing of Scott’s other golfing clients who have arrived in equally poor physical condition and many much worse… “I had one lady golfer come to me a year ago because she had been told by her doctor that she’d have to give up golf because she had a nasty knee injury,” explains Scott.
“They had operated several times unsuccessfully so I really was the last resort for her. But what the medic had failed to recognise that her physical restriction wasn’t just the result of walking around the golf course every week, it was a combination of lots of factors in her lifestyle right from her eating habits and throughout her daily routine. After working together for 12 months she’s not only playing the best golf of her life, she no longer has any knee pain now.”
After spending just a few hours with Scott I was totally convinced that I should start to follow a golf conditioning programme. After all, I want to play golf pain-free even when I’m an old lady! So over the coming weeks I’ll give you a brief insight into every aspect of my golf conditioning that Scott is working on. I know that this will require 100% commitment but I also know that the end result is that I’ll be a fitter, healthier and happier golfer, so watch this space…
Week 1: The truth hurts!
A full physical assessment with Scott lasts four hours and is extremely thorough. It’s not cheap (Scott charges £500 for the assessment) but as my golf coach husband tells me you get what you pay for – see this as an investment in yourself. During the assessment Scott examines every aspect of your body and lifestyle by asking thorough questions and getting you to undergo a whole range of physical assessments, everything from can you touch your toes to how well do you sleep at night! I was shocked at my lack of range of movement and the number of restrictions I had throughout my body.
Among the findings Scott discovered that I don’t breathe properly – I’m a chest breather which basically means that I don’t fill my lungs with air properly, and this is one of many contributing factors that could be causing my lower back pain. So my homework this week is to spend 20 minutes every night practising a deep breathing exercise and learning to breathe in deeply so that I fill my lungs up fully from the pit of my stomach upwards. I learn to do this by placing a water bottle on my belly button and making sure it rises as I breathe in.
The other task I have to do is fill in a food diary for the next 10 days so that Scott can analyse what my daily food and drink intake is. He’ll then use this information to identify my metabolic type – what food groups such as Carbohydrates and Proteins my body requires to function effectively and he’ll set me a suitable diet.
I left the assessment with mixed feelings – negativity towards my current physical condition but inspired that this is a logical process that I can follow with the end goal of achieving the body and the swing that I’ve always wanted. This is just the start of my golf conditioning process but already I’m feeling excited!
Over the coming weeks this is what my golf conditioning programme should do for me…
. Improve my flexibility – I’ll be following a personalised stretching programme.
. Improve my postural alignment and endurance – essential for being able to set up correctly to the golf ball, make a good swing and play 18 holes of golf.
. Improve my game by reducing stiffness and pain in my muscles.
. Eliminate faults in my swing – my backswing turn in particular is restricted by tight muscles.
. Get strong, and be able to generate power – hit the ball further – yes please!
. Avoid injury and have more fun!
. Improve my swing and improve my scores.
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