Golf is definitely becoming a more fitness conscious sport. You have guys like Dustin Johnson, Camillo, and of course Tiger Woods that are all known for working out regularly and extremely hard. I would say that is becoming more of the norm with the younger players coming up these days.
With such a progression towards exercise in the sport of golf, there is a ton of equipment available for players to have in their home gyms and even to take on the road. Some of this equipment is pretty ingenious and very useful; some of it can be a gimmicky fad. But there is one piece that EVERY golfer should have access to; and especially if you are a professional or competitive player that is on the road a lot, this is a must. It’s the foam roller.
Golf is a game of strength, power, flexibility, but most importantly, it’s a game of consistency. Your performance day in and day out determines whether you handicap is getting smaller, or if you are going to be on that leaderboard on Sunday afternoon. Thus, your body has to be working properly and feeling good when you step onto that 1st tee box.
The best way to ensure this is by taking care of your physical fitness and keeping yourself limber. A stretching program is key to doing this and the foam roller will assist in getting the most flexibility out of your muscles and preventing soreness from workouts, rounds of golf, travel, work, and other hazards of daily living.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The reason the foam roller is so important is that it allows you to basically give your muscles a deep tissue massage to loosen them up and work out tight spots or trigger points. Our muscles are surrounded by a connective tissue called fascia. Without getting into too much anatomy, think of fascia as being like one of those really tight Under Armor shirts. Now let’s say you had that all over your body, but it was even tighter than you would normally wear (more like the guys on the Jersey Shore would wear them!). You can imagine that if you tried to perform a stretching routine, you probably couldn’t get a very effective elongation of your muscles because the fabric of the shirt was too restrictive.
Another visual and textural example would be the shiny film that you’ve most likely noticed when looking at or pulling apart a piece of beef or chicken. That shiny tissue (like in the picture) is fascia. It can be very stubborn and difficult to separate.
That’s basically what happens when you have restrictions in your fascia. You see, the fascia is not only surrounding the whole muscle, it is mixed in the muscle, surrounding the different muscle fibers. This can cause significant restriction in your flexibility, strength and even in your body’s ability to relay nerve impulses, which ultimately can hinder athletic performance.
The foam roller allows you to apply pressure to different areas of your body that would otherwise be hard to reach or implement the amount of force needed to break up some of that tightness. By rolling your body part up and down the foam roller, you are able to create both a broadening and lengthening effect on the muscles and fascia, which facilitates improved motion and neurological response (faster reactions).
Probably the most common spot on the body that we use the foam roller to reduce tension is on the outer leg and thigh. This area is typically known as the IT Band (iliotibial band). There is a thick, dense band of fascia and connective tissue that extends from the outer hip to the outer knee (as seen in the picture). The IT band is notoriously tight in athletes, and runners, but can also affect the average person if they are not participating in any type of flexibility program. This tightness can be the catalyst in an array of ailments including knee pain, hip pain, back pain, etc.
Just by using a few of the techniques demonstrated in the video above a couple of times a week, you could reduce the likelihood of some of these issues and imporove you motion, posture, and strength.
Therefore, whether your initiative is to become a tour professional or simply to be able to tee the ball up every Sunday injury free, the foam roller should be a huge part of your of the course program.