Golf specific stretches not only help improve your swing, they also help to prevent common golf injuries. Poor flexibility of your joints and muscles result in dysfunction. To improve your golf swing and your score, PGA golf fitness trainer Sean Cochran recommends a pre-round, post round and a maintenance stretching routine.
Areas of Tightness
Swinging a golf club is a total body movement. Primary joints involved in the golf swing are the ankle, hips, thoracic spine, shoulders and wrists. If the associated muscles of these joints are tight and not properly elongated, they cannot optimally meet the range of motion necessary as you swing your golf club.
The goal during these stretches is to get your neuromuscular system ready for play. To do so, three aspects of the warm up must occur; elongate the muscles, activate your neurotransmitters and integrate these two.
Pre-Round Warm Up
Perform your pre-round routine within minutes before your tee time. Dynamic stretching rather than static stretching is best for your pre-round routine. Hold dynamic stretches only for a few seconds as compared to typical 30-second static stretches. You can choose from a wide variety of golf specific dynamic stretches. Here are a few examples.
- For arm rotations, hold your arms to the side while standing. Swing your arms back and forth across the front of your body for 30 seconds. Next while holding your arms at your sides make wide circular rotations for 30 seconds.
- Stretch your neck by moving head right toward your right shoulder. Hold this position for five to 10 seconds. Do the same movement toward your left shoulder. Alternate stretches from side to side for three to five repetitions.
- Do an upper body and arm stretch by placing feet shoulder width apart. Hold a golf club overhead with hands at each end of club. Stretch from the waist up moving side to side holding each side for a few seconds. Complete three repetitions.
- To perform a wrist stretch, hold arm straight out in front with palms facing downward. Grasp fingers with opposite hand and pull back toward forearm. Hold position for five to 10 seconds. Repeat once for each wrist.
Post Round Routine
Your post round routine can occur any time between the time you complete your round and the time you go to bed. The goal is to perform flexibility stretches that help to relax tension accrued during play. You can choose from multiple static stretches. Here are a few examples.
- To stretch your shoulders and chest clasp your hands behind your back. Raise your arms as far as you can. Now bend from the waist and hold the position for at least 30 seconds. Repeat three to five times.
- Stretch your lower back by lying on the floor while bending your knees to the side toward your chest. Raise and straighten the top leg so it is parallel to the floor. Move it across your body while maintaining shoulders flat to the floor. Repeat on each side doing three to five repetitions.
Setting aside just 10 minutes each day for flexibility stretches does much to improve your swing. A combination of dynamic and static stretching provides for good overall flexibility. Choose golf specific stretching exercises to help condition joints and muscles you use during a round.