When a tournament is approaching athletes are constantly preparing. We spend countless hours at the course perfecting all areas of our game. A pre-shot routine is crucial for success in the game of golf. One area of the game that I feel lacks emphasis is stretching before playing. Whether you are playing with a group of friends or heading into a big tournament stretching your muscles before playing is extremely important. In this article, I am going to give you some good stretches to incorporate in your “pre-round” routine that will help improve flexibility and increase your muscle recovery.
Important Areas to Stretch Before Your Round:
· Legs – hamstrings, quads, inner thighs and glutes
· Low back
· Shoulders & upper back
First things first, all golfers are aware of how important our legs are in our golf swing. Your legs are very crucial in a competitive round of golf both in the golf swing and oftentimes they’re your form of transportation from hole to hole. It is very important to loosen your leg muscles before your round of golf to help properly activate your muscles and also to help prevent injury.
STANDING HAMSTRING AND CALF STRETCH
Length: 3x 20 seconds each leg
Target Areas: hamstrings and calves
- Place the right foot about 2 feet in front of the left. Keep the left foot flat and lift the right toes upwards leaving the heel on the ground.
- Slightly hinge forward keeping the chest and back straight until you feel a stretch in the back of the right leg. Stretch as far as possible without experiencing any uncomfortable pain.
It is also optional to reach towards the toe pointing upwards for a deeper stretch. However, be sure to maintain a straight chest if choosing to do so.
HIP FLEXOR STRETCH
Length: 3x 30 seconds each side
Target Areas: IT band, hip flexor, glutes, knees
- This stretch can be done on a bench, on the ground, or standing. If you do this stretch standing, find something to hold to help you keep your balance.
- Sit up tall and straight and place the left ankle over the right knee.
- Slightly tilt forward while keeping the back straight until you feel a stretch in the right glute and hip.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
Tight IT bands lead to tight hips which can cause pain all throughout the lower body. This stretch is very important before and is highly recommended after a round of golf.
Length: 3x 15 seconds each side
Target Areas: inner and outer thighs, hip flexors, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings
- Stand upright with both feet facing forward and feet hip-width apart.
- Take a step outwards with both feet so your legs are in a triangle position.
- Slightly tilt feet about 45 degrees
- Bend the right knee as far as you can until you feel a stretch in the inner thigh and hips.
- Hold the stretch and then switch sides.
It is also beneficial to do alternating side lunges to help warm up the legs before holding the stretch. In the photos below you can see my hands on my legs, this is okay to do in order to keep balance. However, be sure to not be applying any pressure on the legs through the hands.
LOW BACK BEND WITH ASSISTANCE
Length: 3x 30 seconds
Target Areas: back, hamstrings, shoulders, and glutes
For the example I am going to use my golf bag. However, this stretch can be performed using any object you can hold on to.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold onto the back of the golf bag.
- Scoot the feet backward so you form a 90-degree angle.
- Be sure to keep the knees loose and that the head in between shoulders.
- Hinge until a stretch is felt through the legs, back, and glutes.
- Hold and repeat.
This stretch is also great to do after or during a round if experiencing tightness in the body.
STANDING TOE TOUCH
Length: 3x 30 seconds
Target Areas: low back, hamstrings, and quads.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with loose knees.
- Hinge with the hips as far as possible while keeping the back straight and chest strong/straight.
- Hold and then repeat.
- You should feel this stretch in the hamstrings, glutes, and low back.
If you cannot touch your toes with a straight back it is okay. This stretch takes time to become flexible and good posture is more important than being able to touch your toes.
In the game of golf, it is extremely important to stretch your shoulders. Tight shoulders will lead to a shorter and more tense golf swing.
CROSSOVER ARM STRETCH
Length: 3 X 15 seconds each
Target Areas: shoulder and rotators
- Relax the shoulders and arms before beginning this stretch.
- Cross one arm over the other, for this stretch hold the opposite arm just above the elbow so there is no extra strain being placed on your elbow joint.
- Once you feel the stretch hold.
DYNAMIC SHOULDER STRETCH:
Length: 20 times each way. Rest and repeat. 2x
Target Areas: low back, shoulders, arms, hips.
- Stand with a strong lower body and hinge the hips.
- Swing your arms loosely apart from side to side, rotating the shoulders back and forth stretching the arms across the body.
This stretch is also good to do if you experience tightness in the back or shoulders during a round of golf.
It is important to note that the wrists and hands are very delicate and important to stretch before playing. However, our wrists are very delicate and need to be stretched much lighter than the other muscles.
Length: 10 each direction. Repeat 2x
Target Areas: wrists
- Hold your wrists together at chest height interlocking the fingers.
- Roll the wrists 10 times one direction and 10 times the other direction.
The hands are very important in the game of golf but as mentioned above they are very delicate. It is important to take your time while doing these stretches to help prevent injury.
FINGERS POINTED UP WRIST STRETCH
Length: 15 seconds 2x
Target Areas: wrists and forearms
- Put the right arm straight out in front with the back of the right hand facing you. Take the left hand and gently pull the fingertips towards you.
- Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and then switch hands.
These are some great simple stretches to incorporate into your pre-round of golf warm-up. It is also highly recommended to stretch after a round of golf to help speed up muscle recovery time.