Golf, swimming and tennis (or racquet sports) have much in common. As a physio consulting at the National Tennis Academy and working at the Australian Tennis Open, Kirsty McNab’s (based in The Gap at Physiologix) job as a Sports Physiotherapist is not only to treat injuries, but to screen to prevent them and in doing so also ensure a stronger, more effective and efficient, better performing athlete. And there is much we can all learn from this and integrate with our exercise.
Australia has arguably some of the best swimmers, golfers and tennis players in the world. The Australian Institute of Sport is the base for many of these great athletes. To ensure our athletes perform better but not at the expense of injury and breakdown, extensive amounts of research have been done. Here are some ideas, no matter what standard you are:
· Good thoracic rotation – the thoracic spine is the area of your back where the ribs attach. It is mainly for rotation. Improving your ability to twist through this area will help with your rotation in the pool, on the golf course or on court.
· Thoracic extension – if you lie flat on your tummy with your arms straight overhead, you should be able to lift and hold your arms about 20cm above the floor. To do this you have to be able to arch the upper part of your back backwards. This can be improved by carefully extending over a foam roller. You also have to have good length through your tummy muscles: arching backwards over a big fitball will help this. The Yoga cobra stretch is also a useful one to do.
· Shoulder internal rotation - if you hold your arm 90 degrees from your side you should be able to twist your forearm down to the floor. This is a sign of good flexibility in the muscles at the back of the shoulder. There are some good stretches you can do to improve this including pulling your arm across the front of your chest.
· Core stability – many people are great at crunches and sit ups but don’t strengthen their core in positions where the body is straight. And of course, this is the position you are in when swimming, as you follow through with the golf swing and when serving or hit baseline tennis shots. Specific exercises such as planks (ensuring the hips don’t drop) can help this. Trying to then lift one leg up off the ground at the same time can be even more sports specific.
There are many other basic screening tests that can be done to see if your body is up to the task of doing the form of sport or exercise that you would like to do.
The physios at Physiologix can run through a sequence of tests to ensure your body is up to the demands you want to put on it. If not, you risk injury. If you have had an injury from sport it is important not just to figure out WHAT is injured but WHY it got injured in the first place. By working on the WHY, you can prevent injury in the future. And most importantly for you, you become a better sports person. Call us on (07) 3511 1112 to find out more or email us from the "contact us" page.