Golf Fitness: Stretching Routine for More Flexibility
We all do it. Show up to the course, run to the first tee and start the round with cold muscles and a warm soul… these usually get swapped late in the round but had we started with warm muscles perhaps the soul would have followed suit.
Getting a proper warm up before a run, bike or lifting weights is not uncommon but even though golf can be more taxing on the body (big swingers apply here), players usually skip a pre-round stretch and therefore endure injury or do not maximize their playing potential.
David Raudenbush from www.livestrong.com shares a few good tips on getting ready for the round.
Get the Blood Flowing
You will enjoy the greatest gains in flexibility if you stretch four or five times a week for about 15 minutes, before you play and on your off days. You should always warm up your body before you begin to stretch. Five to 15 minutes of light aerobic exercise will increase blood flow to your muscles and prepare them for stretching. Without this warm-up period, not only will you find stretching in difficult, but also you will risk pulling and tearing muscles. Take a walk, ride a bike or dance around a little before you start to stretch.
Tight hamstrings — the muscles in the back of your legs — will prevent you from creating proper posture at address and maintaining good posture throughout your swing. To loosen your hamstrings, sit on the edge of a bench with one leg hanging over the edge and the other leg extended along the length of the bench. You may feel a little pull in the back of your leg when you assume this position. If not, lean slowly over the straight leg until you experience a gentle pull. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds. Repeat five times.
Twist with the Shout — of Pain
The bending and twisting in your swing can leave you with tight lower-back muscles. To loosen them up, drop to the floor on your hands and knees for the cat/cow stretch. Look down at the floor to keep your neck in a neutral position. Arch your back toward the ceiling and hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then flatten your back and hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Perform this stretch twice. To keep muscles in the side of your torso supple, stand straight with feet hip-width apart. Lift one arm straight overhead and lean your upper body away from the straight arm. You should feel a stretch through your side. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
In your golf swing, your arms need to be able to move freely across your upper torso. That requires flexibility through your chest and shoulders. To loosen up your pectoral muscles in the chest, stand in an open doorway. Extend your arms out to your sides so you hold onto the door jam or wall on either side of the door. Lean forward as far as you can. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds. To loosen your shoulders and rotator cuff, grab a club in the center of the shaft with one hand and hold the club out in front of you. Slowly rotate the club from a palms up to a palms down position 10 times, then repeat with your other arm.