Golf is a popular sport of all ages played year-round. Range of motion of the trunk and upper extremities is key to a successful golf swing. Unfortunately, as one gets older, flexibility (or range of motion) is likely to decrease, predisposing one to injury.
Golf is a game of repetitive twisting and rotation of the trunk. Excessive rotation puts a shear stress of the spine which may increase risk of injury. In addition, most participants who play on the average of once or twice a week do not bother warming up beforehand.
Flexibility exercises not only have the potential to prevent injury, but also to improve golf performance. To help prepare oneself for the game, here are a few exercises to do before golfing:
Side Bending: Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart and arms at your sides. Bend to the right (keeping your hips facing forward) letting your right arm slide down along the outside of your thigh. Your left arm leaning overhead to the right. Feel a stretch along the left side of your trunk/torso. Hold each stretch for a count of 10. Repeat 3 times. Reverse arm positions bending to the left.
Upper Body Trunk Rotation: Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart and arms bent at elbows grasping golf club behind your head. Twist your upper body toward the right keeping your hips facing forward. Hold for a count of 10. Now twist your body toward the left and hold. Repeat each stretch 3 times.
Shoulder Stretch: Grasp your club in front of you with your hands crossed. The bottom hand palm up and top hand palm down. With the bottom hand push the club in the direction of the top hand. Feel a stretch in the back of your shoulder. Hold each stretch for a count of 10 and repeat 3 times. Now switch hand positions and repeat the stretch on that side.
ITB Stretch: Sit on the floor with your legs out in front. Keeping your left leg straight, bend your right knee and place your right foot flat on the floor on the outside of your left knee. Then turn your body toward the right so your left elbow is on the outside of your right knee. Also, turn your head to look over your right shoulder. Keep your hips flat on the floor at all times. Now switch sides and turn toward the left. Hold each stretch for a count of 10 and repeat 3 times on each side.
Hamstring Stretch: Sit with your right leg out in front and your left leg bent so the outside of your left leg is resting on the floor and your left foot touches your right knee. Slowly reach down the right leg until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Grasp onto your leg to maintain the stretch. Now switch sides. Hold each stretch for a count of 10 and repeat each side 3 times.
Quadriceps Stretch: Stand with one arm holding onto a wall or your golf partner. With the other hand grasp your ankle and pull your foot behind you toward your buttocks. Keep your knee back – don’t let it come forward. Feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold for a count of 10 and repeat 3 times on each leg.