… Prepare by exercising, strengthening and conditioning before the season starts.
… Stretch vital areas to improve your game and prevent injury.
… Do warm-up stretches before each round.
It’s almost spring, which means golf is just around the corner. If you’re a golfer, the last thing you want is to be sidelined by an injury after being out of action because of winter weather. As you know, golf is a game that involves dynamic, athletic movement that combines neurological and musculoskeletal dexterity. If you want to be in top form this season, it’s time to pay attention to your body.
Top professional golfers make physical fitness a priority: Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald and Dustin Johnson work regularly with fitness experts. Lack of flexibility or weakness in one part of the body affects your golf swing as stronger muscles try to compensate.
Physical activity and golf-specific exercises and stretching can not only improve your game, they can help prevent injury during the season. In the off-season, developing a good regimen will keep you on the links in the warm months to come.
Let’s talk about exercises first. The most important muscles for strength and stability are the glutes, lower abdominals and scapular stabilizers – these assist rotator cuff muscles while in motion.
UPPER BODY. Simple upper body exercises you can do include pushups, bicep curls and triceps extensions. Begin with light weights – two-or-three pound dumbbells – that you don’t have to strain to lift. Begin by lying flat on the floor on your back, with your arms extended away from your body, holding a weight in each hand. Lift your arms off the ground without bending your elbows and point them toward the ceiling until they are perpendicular to your body.
CORE. Building core strength means increasing muscle tone in the abdomen and back. Core strength generates more power from the coiling action in your backswing. Classic exercises are leg lifts and crunches, but isometric exercises are something you can do any time – simply tighten and hold your stomach muscles for 60 seconds. Another good exercise starts by lying flat on your back, arms out to the side. Bring your knees to your chest. Gently roll your knees to one side and then the other without lifting your shoulders off the floor.
LOWER BODY. Legs and hips play a key role in controlling the direction of the ball. Leg strength also adds power to your swing. Two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange recommends strengthening your quadriceps with this exercise: Stand with your back and shoulders flat against the wall, keeping your heels about 12 inches away from the wall. Bend your knees and slide down the wall as if you were sitting in a chair. Hold for 60 seconds.
Strength is important and equally important is flexibility. Parts of the body require increased mobility, such as the hamstrings, hips, thoracic spine (mid-back) and shoulders. If you’re tight in the shoulders, back, hips and legs, you’ll restrict the extension of the club as you swing and injuries are more likely.
Stretch your arm muscles – Hold one arm straight out in front of you, palm up. Take your other hand and put it on the palm of the outstretched hand. Gently push the bottom palm down so your fingers point toward the ground. Stand up straight and bring your left arm over your head with the elbow bent so the left hand is behind your head – this will stretch your back. Grab that elbow with your other hand and tug it toward the right.
Or, grasp a golf club with your hands about 24 inches apart. Hold the club straight out at chest level and stand with your knees slightly bent. Swing your arms and club to the right and then to the left, keeping your arms parallel to the floor at chest level without turning your chest and head.
Rotate and stretch your trunk – Rest a golf club on your shoulders behind your neck with your hands at each end of the club. Twist your torso to the left and then twist to the right. You want the end of the club to point straight ahead or as close as you can come. Repeat 20 times.
Standing shoulder stretch – Grab a golf club and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the club upright with the grip touching the ground and your hands grasping the end of the shaft near the head. Move your feet back and bend at the waist until you feel your back stretching. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat two times.
Stretch those hips – Grab the club in your right hand with the head resting on the ground. Lean on the club for support, and raise your left leg, swinging it back-and-forth 10 times. Do the same thing with the right leg.
Getting in the best, most flexible shape you can before golf season is important, but to decrease chances of injury and improve your game, stretch before each round, focusing on these areas to increase mobility in your swing. Hold each of these for 30 seconds and perform each stretch twice:
-Hip Flexor Stretch
Just spending five minutes before each round can help prevent hours of pain and agony from an injury. If you’re unsure how to do any of these exercises or stretches properly, visit your sports physical therapist.
At True Sports, we’re sports-focused because you’re sports-focused. The best physical therapists in Baltimore and Maryland provide the highest level of sports physical therapy and expertise you need to get back to your sport. With six convenient state-of-the-art locations to choose from, any athlete who takes their rehab seriously can get awesome care and extraordinary results. Select your location and schedule an appointment and have True Sports get you back to your team. For questions about insurance or self-pay rates, please call our office at 1-401-946-1672.