Golf Digest’s “Five Ways” To Help Destroy Your Back

You’ve actually seen the man responsible for this latest Golf Digest abomination before, when I wrote about Golf Digest trying to kill you – or destroy your back, whichever came first.

Now, Ron Kaspriske enlists GD Fitness Advisor Ben Shear (which is an interesting surname, because these tips will aid you in doing exactly that to the discs in your lower back) to assist in the ongoing carnage.

Now, we go from Ron telling us how to get that excellent rubber-band twisting of the lower back the previous time I wrote about him sitting in a chair:

Which, you’ll recall, was a regurgitation of yet another previous Golf Digest offering attempting to get you to do the same, this time with the assistance of Paige Spirinac:

And now, if you’re finding it difficult to get all the way into true back-breaker territory, Mr. Kaspriske is back to take you the final mile to that first or next discectomy by showing you how to strengthen your back and core muscles (and get a load of the introductory sentence!) in:

5 moves to save your spine

Even the most technically sound swings cause stress on the spine, but golf doesn’t have to sentence you to future back pain. To avoid discomfort, says Golf Digest Fitness Advisor Ben Shear, “strengthen the muscles at the bottom of the spine, and improve flexibility in the mid and upper back.”

All you need is a stability ball ($10), and you can put together a back workout with these five moves.

While it’s comforting to know that it will only cost me approximately $10 USD to really mess up that lower back, his first sentence is the most important:

“Even the most technically sound swings cause stress on the spine,” he says, but what he’s showing you to do while sitting in a chair, if you’ll forgive me, is the exact opposite of a technically-sound swing:


That torso-twist move, we all know, is the child of the Modern Golf Swing industry, and it is not to be advised, taught nor attempted.

Don’t take it from me – how about Dr. Sandy Kunkel, Indiana Orthopedic Surgeon, independent examiner for the NFL, team physician for the Indiana Pacers from 1988 to 2004 and one of the nation’s leading back specialists?

“The modern golf swing is hard on the body,” he said. “To have athletes in their 20s experiencing these types of injuries is very concerning for the long-term.”

What, pray tell, about the modern swing would the good doctor be referring to?  Well, it would be difficult to point to anything other than the torso rubber-band twist, wouldn’t it, since that’s the exact area (the lower back) that is becoming so problematic to young swingers?

So, yeah – what Ron Kaspriske is showing you to do while seated in a chair is a disastrous thing to be doing to your lower back or lumbar region, which is actually shaped like this:

I can actually go through the training drills’ stated goals or aims and tell you what the truth is, if you’re interested:

1 – BACK EXTENSION – The goal: Strengthen the erector spinae and other low-back muscles that protect the spine from torsion forces.

DJ: Now this right away makes no sense – if you are making the torso twist that Ron advised in the prior article, you yourself are the one creating the torsion forces!

So, if you decide to use a golf swing model whose main component is the twisting of the torso against restricted hips – nothing you do is going to “protect” your spine from those forces.

In fact, rather than preventing the twisting, the strengthening of the muscles in this exercise will increase the torsion forces as you deliberately twist your lower back.

2 – WALK-OUT PRONE PLANK – The goal: The core muscles around your mid-section need to be strong to stabilize the body as you swing.

DJ: Again, what is there to “stabilize” if you yourself are causing the twisting in the lower back in order to swing according to the Modern Golf Swing method?

Once again, stronger core muscles will only assist you in exerting greater twisting forces on your lower back than before you strengthened those muscles…

3 – REACH-THROUGH – The goal: Improve mid- and upper-back rotational mobility to lessen stress on the lumbar vertebrae.

DJ: This one is the most ironic – you’re going to strengthen the mid and upper back to “lessen stress on lumbar vertebrae,” while deliberately twisting that lumbar region?

Question: How does a stronger upper or mid back do anything to lessen the stress on your lumbar region while you’re actively twisting that lumbar region?

This is like saying you want to do leg presses to strengthen your quadraceps in order to lessen the stress on your abdominals while being punched in the gut by an MMA fighter.

If you want any proof that these Modern Golf Swing people are either insane or completely and catastrophically incompetent – that sentence right there is pretty good for the task…

Nothing you do to your upper and mid back muscles will save your lumbar region from the stress you’re inflicting upon it by twisting it, I’m afraid!

I’ll skip the 4th exercise as it pertains to something that completely escapes me (but then, I don’t swing this way, for obvious reasons), and go to the last one:

5 – SIDE STRETCH AND CRUNCH – The goal: The muscles on the side of your trunk (obliques) improve lateral and rotational movement of your upper body, reducing stress on the lower back.

DJ: Once again, it’s like this chap doesn’t have any idea how the stress on the lower back is caused by the twisting of the lower back, but once again, he’s telling you that stronger muscles to improve rotational movement of the upper body will reduce the stress on the lower back region that you are twisting intentionally and un-naturally…

Conclusion None of these exercises will protect you from or prevent lower back trauma if your golf swing model includes the intentional twisting of the lower back against the hips – in fact, if you strengthen the muscles with which to swing to create that stress, you’re only going to increase the risks of incurring, or increase the trauma of those same injuries.

I have to hand it to Golf Digest – they do not disappoint when I’m browsing the golf publications looking for something good to point out… or something horrific against which I would advise, which is almost invariably the case.

And the ironic kicker of it all – if you swing properly, none of these exercises are necessary, because the lower back has nothing to do with a mechanically-sound swing, which is what these people are trying to tell you what their horror-show swing mechanics are.

The are not – they are very dangerous, and will more likely cause you injury and future, even chronic back issues, and anyone associated with this style of swinging is doing a great disservice to their readers and students.


Want to learn more about the MCS Golf Swing Theory? Try one of DJ’s “Secrets of the MCS” video shorts available via download.

“Dropping The Hammer!”


Or you can download the very latest MCS  video “MCS – Dropping The Hammer , Part 3 of the MCS Golf Swing Trilogy**



4 thoughts on “Golf Digest’s “Five Ways” To Help Destroy Your Back

  1. David

    I am walking Frisco as I read this. My back got tighter by the word. Thanks for skipping #4. I might have finished our walk with all that….. thanks for sharing their nonsense.

    1. D Watts Post author

      I am walking Frisco as I read this. My back got tighter by the word… Thanks for sharing their nonsense…

      Hi to Nancy & Frisco, DK!

      All jokes aside, it’s amazing, and would be more than a little amusing to read this stuff – if not for the damage being inflicted on unsuspecting students.

      The pros can do what they want, frankly, if they don’t wish to seek out proper athletic motion, but it’s a shame that people who just want to play the game for fun have to suffer from this.

  2. Laser

    Actually, there are only two things wrong with emphasizing torso twist, while resisting with the legs:

    1) The torso is not strong.
    2) The torso is not fast.

    People who teach torso-twist are missing what the legs should be doing. They’d be well advised to study your dunaway-stickman-slow.gif. Then, they could ask themselves whether the torso is turning the legs…or if the legs and torso are working together.

    1. D Watts Post author

      A sad state of affairs (but a proud one for this blog) that Wax Golf readers know more about proper motion than the “leaders” of the industry…

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