The average time a golfer is out due to injury is 2-4 weeks. The most common reasons these occur are from the same 5-6 mistakes people make in the gym. Don’t be that golfer, don’t be the person who make these 6 mistakes are not only ones we see the most commonly, but also ones that often lead to injury. Make sure you’re not making these simple mistakes in your workouts.
Number 1 – Back Squats
The first mistake is made when doing back squats with a barbell. As you come down, the barbell can trail forward as in the picture below, which puts a lot of stress on your lower back.
When you’re doing a squat, you want the barbell to move only vertically. If it moves forward or backwards from its starting position, you aren’t maintaining proper form. Your elbows should also be directly under the bar, if it is not, this can lead to more forward lean as well. If you can’t maintain proper form, switching to a goblet squat as shown in number 2 is often a great option.
Number 2 – Goblet Squats
When doing a squat with a kettlebell, we’ll often see the upper back rounding as you bend down.
What we want to see is a stiff, stable spine the whole way through the motion. Generally a good thing to look for is for your spine to be parallel to your shins.
We talk about spinal stiffness a lot, and this is what we’re referring to; the ability to keep your spine from moving as your body moves.
Number 3 – Kettlebell Swings
The next mistake we’re going to talk about is the one which causes the most injuries we see out of any single exercise. When doing a kettlebell swing, it’s easy to let the kettlebell drop below your knees and let the momentum of the kettlebell keep it swinging, but this is one of the worst things you can do with this exercise. When done correctly, the kettlebell will always be at or above knee level, and as with kettlebell squats, the spine should stay stiff the whole time. All the movement should come from your hips. Control of the kettlebell and your posture is key.
Number 4 – Deadlifts
Deadlifts are also very prone to error. Like with kettlebell squats and swings, you need to make sure that as you pick up the weights, your spine isn’t moving. Moving your spine while it’s bearing weight is a very easy way to invite injury. Don’t think about bending down to pick up the barbell; think about pushing your hips back until your arms are naturally able to reach it. Even once this is done, though, you still need to make sure you keep your back straight and stiff. It’s very easy to let the barbell drag your shoulders and arms down, and your upper spine with them, as you try to initially pick it up. You need to make sure you have tension throughout your body as you prepare to pick the bar up. Finally, once you’re ready to set the bar down, make sure you bend from the hips, not the knees. Bending at the knees means the bar can’t move straight up and down, so you have to break your posture to get it around your knees.
Number 5 – Bench Press
The bench press is another exercise where we see a very common mistake. This mistake is actually a result of people striving for increased performance, but ultimately, it carries with it risk of injury. If you watch weightlifting competitions, you’ll see competitors arching their backs as they deadlift and letting the bar hit their chest. While these things provide increased results in the short term, making them attractive in a competition environment, they aren’t good form for the average person who just wants to work out to improve their strength. If the bar hits your chest, your shoulders are bent fairly far backwards and have to generate power to lift the bar back up from that position. Ideally, you should have your back flat and stop your shoulder when your upper arms are parallel to your back and not going any further behind it; this should be when the bar is about the width of your hand off your chest. The other issue we see with bench presses is that the bar will often drift towards your neck as you come down, rather than moving straight up and down over your chest.
Number 6 – Push Ups
Push-ups are a very commonly used exercise, particularly for younger athletes and people who are just beginning training, because it works on both pushing strength and core control. What we often see is that when you come down through a push-up, your elbows splay out to the side, rather than moving back. While this makes the push-up feel easier, it devalues the exercise a lot.