By: Lisa “Longball” Vlooswyk
Foam Rolling performs myofascial release which is similar to massage, only it is a self-massage that you can do in the convenience of your own home. It has not only become extremely popular for golfers but for some it has become essential.
It helps break down muscles to rebuild them. Muscles get stressed and strained especially in a sport like golf where there is a great deal of repetitive movement. The muscles need to regenerate. Rolling addresses muscle tightness and soft-tissue injury, decreases pain, increases healing and recovery time, balances musculature, restores muscle function and increases flexibility.
Dr. Ryan Emmons is a leader in golf fitness and he is a strong proponent of rolling and its benefits. He is a chiropractor, certified personal trainer, certified Golf Performance Therapist and author of the Roll Release® Foam Roller Techniques book. The majority of his practice is spent with elite and recreational golfers
Emmons emphasises that in order for rolling to be effective there are 3 main areas of focus:
There are several different techniques in rolling but Emmons has found rolling the muscle in segments to be most effective and therapeutic. He instructs clients to roll in 1 to 4 inch segments through the entire muscle for 5-10 seconds per segment. Note: The length of the segment will gauge the depth of the rolling; the shorter the rolled segment the deeper the release.
2. Body Position
Ensuring you are positioned correctly on the right muscle is imperative. This may take some adjusting at first and trial and error. A helpful resource is an app for ipads, iphones and androids – www.foamrollerapp.com for $2.99. It features over 100 videos highlighting 26 muscle groups and shows proper positioning and how to vary intensity.
3. Type of Roller
There are several different sizes and shapes for rollers. Emmons does not recommend the kind with protrusions. A foam roller or padded roller that is smooth and not too soft or “squishy” is ideal. If you travel a fair bit he recommends the Travel Roller 4.3 (available for $44.95 at www.foamrollerapp.com) which is 13 inches long and 4.3 inches in diameter. It is light and easily packed in a suit case.
5 Important Muscle Groups to Roll for Golfers
|1. Lats – These are stressed in both the back swing and follow through. When the lats get strained it inhibits the golfer’s ability to make a good turn. Roll: Start at your armpit and work your way in small segments along the rib cage in front of the shoulder blade.|
|2. Upper Back – The stiffer the upper back is, the harder it is for the golfer to rotate their spine. Roll: Start from the base of the neck and roll to the bottom of the rib cage|
|3. Lower Back – When the hips are stiff it causes the lower back to compensate creating stress and strain in that area. Lower back issues also restrict the range of motion. Roll: Start at the lowest part of the rib cage and role to the pelvis at the top of the glutes|
|4. Glutes – Strong healthy glutes stop the golfer from swaying and sliding in their golf swing. They also control body position. When they are inhibited they get sore and tight and also hamper rotation. Roll: Start at mid buttocks and roll to the hip bone turning sideways|
|5. Inner Thigh – These muscles become injured through regular wear and tear. Tightness restricts rotation and can cause knee issues.Roll: Start at mid-thigh and work down and then up towards the groin|
*Note: The Foam Roller app covers all of these areas with video demonstration if you are unclear
How Often Should you Roll
Emmons recommends for maximum results to roll daily. If you are experiencing stiffness and discomfort you should roll twice a day. To cover all 5 muscle groups mentioned on both sides of your body, rolling in 1 to 4 inch segments up each muscle group for 5-10 seconds will only take about 10 minutes in total. This may be the best investment of time you can give to your golf swing this off season.
If you exercise regularly always roll before you work out and if you are going golfing roll before you play to release your muscles and increase your rotation. Increased flexibility and rotation will lead to longer and straighter shots.
The off season is a perfect time to start rolling and to get in peak physical shape when courses reopen this spring!
Lisa is the 7-time Canadian Long Drive Champion for women, a golf entertainer and a motivational speaker. Lisa can be reached through Claudio at firstname.lastname@example.org