THE BLOG
01/09/2012 07:20 pm ET Updated Mar 10, 2012

Flexibility Fixes for Golfers and Tennis Players

Regularly playing a one-sided sport that for the most part uses a single side of the body, such as bowling, baseball and racket sports, can cause one set of muscles to become more developed than those on the side that is less used. This can create a serious imbalance in the body.

When I look at clients from behind I can easily see one side of the back shoulder and arm is different than the other. This imbalance can make one vulnerable to injuries, including pains in the back, knee, shoulder and elbows.

Most pain and injuries come from the back being too tight. What I recommend to help stay in balance, feel good and play at optimum level is:

1. Daily stretching -- from head to to toe. Everything is connected. Your knee pain or leg pain is most likely coming from the back.

2. Spend extra time on getting the waist flexible. This will keep the sides of the back open and increase your range of motion in your sport.

3. When doing core strengthening exercises, work the side you don't use in your sport twice as much.

4. Cross-train to give your body a chance to recover and develop other muscles.

5. Most people don't get enough calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. One sign is if you are getting charley horses while you sleep, or leg and foot cramps during your workout. I take a liquid formula that goes quickly into the system, that has helped get rid those kind of cramps in myself. Also, there are plenty of joint supplements on the market that can help as well.

6. Tennis elbow also happens to people who don't play tennis. It can also come from overuse at work. For tennis, wrap your racket handle with a thick layer of foam rubber so you can't grip the handle so hard. Do this for anything else you need to grip or carry.

When playing tennis, be sure you are aligned from shoulder blades down. Keep your elbow down as you lift and don't swing out sideways. Also, stretch the shoulders and work down the arm to forearm by doing wrist stretches and circles.

7. For golfers: Watch your posture. When players try to keep their heads down during their swings they mistakenly tuck their chin in against the chest. Tucking your head down rounds the upper back. Hunching over can lead to back and neck problems.

Start with good posture by lifting your chin away from your chest, which eliminates your hunchback. This, and being stretched out, helps you to rotate fully and turn your shoulder under your chin. If you keep your core muscles strong and stretch your waist, arms and legs properly, it will help you to not use your back.

8. In order to fully get the hamstrings and back stretched, one needs to fully stretch the calves first. Also, the order you do stretches in is important. Start with the easier ones to warm the body up, and then prepare for the stretches to follow.

9. Foot position. I notice many people with knee, back and other issues actually don't stand or walk with their feet pointing straight ahead. They are turned in or out, and they also perform their workouts this way. Be mindful that your feet turn in or out so they don't pull on the knee and ankles.

For more by Stacey Nemour, click here.

For more on fitness and exercise, click here.

For more help my latest DVD Flexibility Fixes for Golfers & Tennis Players for all one-sided racket sports including bowling. Is now available.

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