With the season just around the corner it’s no wonder I’m getting questions about golf season. [Although with April 15 here in Southern Ontario being an official ice storm day – we’re all left wondering where the ‘actual’ season is?]
I’ve played golf on a number of occasions – I cannot say it’s my first choice of activities on a Saturday morning. (I much prefer the sound of a barbell and bumper plates clanking together). I do, however, appreciate the amount of work/effort and precision it takes to be good at the game of golf.
If I was a golfer and only had 5 minutes to warm-up and really wanted to get the MOST out of my game this is how it would go:
[And remember these are the things I would do regardless of whether or not I was experiencing pain (as pain is often a very poor indicator of our level of tissue health (function)).]
First of all – I would recommend you have access to a light tension band. This is something you can pick up at your local sporting goods store. Store it in your briefcase / purse / golf bag.
Now – a little bit of background information for you on how you should move to optimize performance.
- You want your muscles/joints to be warm
- You also want your nervous system (the system that helps control your body) to wake up and be aware of what you’re about to do. This system communicates messages from the brain out through the spinal cord to the muscles & organs (also information gets sent back to the brain)
- Your trunk (core) should stay relatively stiff and stable during most activities
- Your hips, shoulders, wrists and ankles should supply a good amount of motion (varying degrees in each joint)
I would start with the band pull-apart. This will help to stabilize your shoulders and activate your upper back so that you can swing better. Here I would do 15 – 30 reps. As you do these don’t let yourself lean back too much into extension (hyperextending your chest). Keep your abs contracted just a bit (10%) and don’t let your chest rise up.
Next I would grab a golf club for a set of shoulder dislocates. Go through a range of motion on each shoulder and take the shoulder to end range. (Stop if you’re going too far and getting pain/numbness/tingling – be smart about it. You should feel some tension). 6 – 8 times through.
The third movement should focus on the forearms. Since there’s a specific injury called “golfer’s elbow” I would focus on being proactive and conditioning the forearm muscles as many of them cross the wrist joint. Perform flexion/extension movements with your band. This should be in the higher rep range: 15-20 reps per side and perform both flexion and extension on both wrists. (see below)
I would move down and do something for my hips now… Hip circles would work really well to warm up. 8 to 10 per side. Notice I bring my leg up towards my chest to the outside of my body then across to the inside of my body (do the exact same in the reverse direction, that’s one rep).
Finally – if you are feeling really motivated I would do this one static stretch here down in the lunge position. This one really opens up your hip (groin muscles) so that you can optimize your rotation during the swing. I would hang out in this position for 1-3 minutes… of course this may put you over the 5 minute warm-up but definitely worth the benefit. Focus here on keeping your big toe dug into the ground and use your elbow to push your knee to the side (yellow line, away from your body).
You can go through the top 5 movements – 2 times and then perform the hip/groin opening lunge stretch as your last movement. This will be sure to help wake up your nerve system (to a degree), muscles and joints.
Give these a try and I guarantee you’ll be a head of 90% of the people out there on the green.
Let me know how it goes?