We hear the old motto “no pain no gain.” Although that motto tradition and mind set still remains within our fitness culture, following that hardcore training tradition can have a short or long term damaging effect to the body. As our body ages it typically means that our body will take longer to recovery from unaccustomed physical activity. So then we would transition into the other motto “train smarter not harder”.
The last thing golfers would want is a painful, aching, tight, sore body especially when you have a golf tournament or in golf season practicing your golf game. With appropriate strength training and conditioning you can reach your optimal golf performance. Neglecting golf fitness exercises may lead to more aches, pains, or injuries. You need strong healthy muscles to support your movement, golf swing, and golf game. That doesn’t mean you have to be a professional athlete but it does mean you need more than everyday normal activity, especially if you have a desk job.
What causes muscle soreness during a physical activity?
The most current consensus attributes muscle soreness to microscopic tears in the muscle or surrounding connective tissue following eccentric exercise. Muscle soreness can be caused either by too much or inappropriate loading (overuse stress) to the body or by eccentric muscle contractions (movements that cause the muscle to forcefully contract while it lengthens i.e. running downhill or lowering a weight) which seems to cause the most muscle soreness or delayed onset muscle soreness. Sometimes overuse or inappropriate stress of the muscle can prevent a specific muscle from firing or contracting again. This may lead to overcompensation and instability of the muscles. When the muscles lose stability, then they lose mobility to help protect the muscles, joint, tendons, or ligaments from going into further damage. Muscle soreness can lead to tightness, lack of flexibility, aches or pains which can hinder your golf swing and performance. To get non-firing muscles to fire again and get mobility and range of motion back, one option would be to see a Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) specialist.
How can I prevent muscle soreness?
Proper progression or micro progression is a tough sell because everyone wants immediate results. However, too much change or shock to the body can have a severe or damaging effect to your health and body. Probably the best way to remedy muscle soreness and tightness is “listen to your body” or prevent it from happening in the first place. Approach your workouts with gradual progression and conservative increases in intensity, frequency and duration. Preliminary light exercise or isometrics (muscle contraction done in a static position) may prevent the onset of soreness following a heavy eccentric-exercise activity. See golf swing warm up video here for an isometric demonstration. Golf exercises should be implemented in the smallest reasonable progressive steps. “Learn your Limits” by proper progression through control, range of motion, unstable surfaces, effort, intensity, speed, reps, sets, load, “cardio” time, etc. This is key to long-term growth and success, and reducing risks of aches or injuries.
“No matter how fast you want to change, your body can only adapt in microscopic steps at the cellular and chemical level.” The bottom line is that progression is much, much more than simply adding weight or adding “wobble”!
How much is enough? The least amount of unaccustomed activity” – Tom Purvis Resistance Training Specialist (RTS)
How can I treat muscle soreness if it happens?
There are a few remedies and treatments for muscle soreness.
- Warm up before performing a physical activity
- Light or gentle stretching
- Isometrics (see an example video here)
- Give time to rest and recover
- Pre and/or Post recovery drinks with Essential Amino Acids – Amino Energy
- Active Recovery- Light aerobic exercise or activity
- Swedish or Sports massage
- Apply ice to the area or ice bath for the whole body
- Glutamine – An essential amino acid needed for muscle recovery
- R.I.C.E- Rest Ice Compress & Elevate the affected area
- Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT – see example in practice HERE)
- Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory- such as aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.
Muscle soreness can be mitigated. Just plan ahead and listen to your body. For more articles like this and other golf fitness information Subscribe to our Golf Fitness Magazine. If you’re in the Oklahoma City area and would like to schedule a private golf fitness session you can contact Ha Bui HERE.