31 Oct The Importance of Stretching Before Your Round
It’s no secret that fitness is becoming part of every good player’s program. The modern day golfer is fit, functional, and flexible – a real athlete! Obviously golfers are not performing typical workouts, they are addressing their highly specialized needs via very specific biomechanics, strength and conditioning programs.
Today we will talk a little about the pre-round warm-up.
When you see Tiger or Rory enter the fitness trailer before the round, what exactly are they doing? Well one thing is for sure, they are not performing anything too strenuous. Instead they are physically preparing themselves for what lies ahead. This is what is referred to as a dynamic or active warm up. A dynamic warm up will prepare you physically, but also mentally via central nervous system stimulation. If done properly, a warm should leave a golfer feeling physically and mentally ready for the round ahead. This can prove to be just the advantage you need in a close match.
So what do you do?
The first thing you want to do is make sure your joints are lubricated. We all know the feeling of a little stiffness getting out of bed. It could be your back, knees, elbows or shoulders but no matter where it is, its certainly not conducive to a better golf game. When sore or stiff, your body’s natural defense mechanism kicks in and will limit joint range of motion. So naturally you should stretch right? – well kind of. Typical, static stretching is not what you want to do prior to a round of golf. Instead, opt for dynamic stretches. A dynamic warm up will allow your joints to move more freely, thereby increasing range of motion and alleviating stiffness.
Main areas of focus for the dynamic warm up will be the shoulders, spine and pelvis (hips).
Shoulder circles are a great way to get moving. Start small then slowly work your way to larger circles. Be sure that you train both forward and backward directions.
Pass troughs (also called shoulder dislocations) are another great movement. Grab a club on each end, extend forward then up and over your head backward. Perform 8-10 reps.
Lie on your side, arms extended with hips and knees bent at 90 degrees. Place top hand behind head then slowly rotate backward to open shoulder and chest. Perform about 10 reps on each side.
Start standing, then bend from the waist allowing your hands to touch the floor. Walk them out to pushup position, do a pushup, then walk them back start to position. A hamstring stretch can be added to this movement by simply keeping the legs straight at all times. About 8 reps is plenty.
SPINE AND PELVIS
Roll your hips 10 times each direction then move down to each knee and eventually each ankle. The goal is to maximize range of motion.
WALKING KNEE HUGS:
Grab your right knee and pull as close to your chest as possible. Release, step forward then repeat with left side. Perform about 10 each side.
STRAIGHT LEG MARCH:
Kick your right leg (fully extended) as far forward and up as possible. Your opposite hand can be used as a reference to kick to. Step forward then repeat with other sides. Again, about 10 reps is good for each leg.
WALKING QUADRICEPS MARCH:
Bring right heel to right glut and grab the toe. Pull back allowing the quadriceps to open and stretch. At the same time, raise the left arm up and slightly backward to really open the torso. Step forward and repeat with opposite sides. Perform about 10 each.
Start in pushup position with hands elevated on box or bench. Bring your right foot outside your right hand while keeping your chest elevated. You should feel a deep stretch in your hip flexor. Pause for 2-3 seconds, then return to start positing. Repeat with other leg. 10-12 reps per leg is perfect.
This is a bare bones workout that will work for everyone. It involves zero equipment but will have your body primed to function at its highest capacity when you begin your golf warm up. Go through the entire thing twice and I can assure you that your first few swings will feel far better than ever before!