Author, fitness model, and trainer Kirk Charles, NASM-CPT CES, knows that as you get older, life can get more complicated. But that shouldn’t prevent you from being on top of your game. He’ll help to answer the tough training questions that come with age so you too can be Fit Beyond 40.
Some people say golf is not a sport. I thought so too when I was younger and played contact sports like football and basketball. Then I got older, and injury became more of a risk if I mixed it up with the younger guys a little too hard. That’s when I became a golf fanatic. I played three to four rounds a week, and went to the driving range almost every day. But, like most golfers, I had a bad golf swing (I tried to imitate Tiger, which was a really bad idea). Spinal rotation, weight transfer, snapping the left knee, rotating the hips—I tried everything in the book and paid a price.
The repetitive motion of the golf swing can cause many injuries, especially when you believe you’re athletic and you can do anything. But, you can’t be like Tiger with bad mechanics and lack of specific golf training. The one problem I developed was left hip pain (I’m a righty golfer). One day, about 15 years ago, I tried to get out of bed and the hip completely locked up. I was in intense pain and could not stand up straight. To this day, I have dull pain in my left hip, which sometimes makes it difficult to get out my car or stand from a chair. It even painfully locks up from time to time. My belief is that I was too aggressively driving my weight onto my left side, while internally rotating my left hip. After doing that carelessly thousands of times, an orthopedic surgeon told me it could have caused a tear in my labrum.
After 15 years, I still don’t have a definitive diagnosis for my left hip problem. Luckily I don’t need surgery, but there are a few exercises I do that greatly help my situation. One I suggest is the monster walk, which strengthens the external rotators of the hip.
To do the monster walk, start by standing up straight and tall. Take a few steps to your left side while keeping your feet pointing straight ahead with your knees over your feet, then take a few steps back to your right. That’s the basic motion. You can make the movement more effective with a resistance band around your feet.
Simply stand on a resistance band with your feet about 12 inches apart. Hold the other end of the resistance band with both hands about chest high. At this point, the resistance band should be in a triangular shape, with each foot and your hands at each point. This is your starting position. Now, lock in your core, take a few steps to your left side, then a few back to your right side, again while keeping your feet pointing straight ahead. Maintain constant tension in the band.
Holding the resistance band at chest height mimics the torso stress you'd get from operating in a front rack with kettlebells or dumbbells. You're forcing core accountability. To get even more hip and glute activation, I like to add in a squat. As you stride and plant your foot, descend into a squat, stand back up, then bring your feet together.
This is an excellent exercise to strengthen those hips and mitigate or even overcome any hip pain you may be experiencing. I would try this exercise four to five times a week. As you laterally stride, do five repetitions where you take at least 10 successive steps in each direction.
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