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The Golf Warm Up

By Dr. Brian Lee, PT, DPT, CSCS, TPI

· Warm Up,Exercise,FItness Tips

Introduction

Are your longest drives coming in the middle of your rounds? Does your body feel “tight” when you hit the first tee? What if you could feel as loose as you do on holes 9, 10, and 11 as you do on 1, 2, and 3?

“I’m hitting it so much better now that I’m warmed up,” and “I wish I had been hitting the golf ball this good when I started my round” are some of the common phrases I hear from clients. Often it is followed by, “What’s a good warm up routine?”

Why Should I Warm up Before Golf?

A proper golf warm up will not only help to prevent injury, but improve your performance. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that players who performed a golf warm up increased the carry distance on their drivers as much as 45 yards! 

Just like there are benefits to jogging up and down the court before playing basketball, there are benefits to warming up before swinging a golf club. The golf swing is a complex, full body movement that requires your muscles to sequence and coordinate to generate power. It requires the same type II muscle fibers you would need if you were explode off the blocks for a sprint or throw a 100 mph baseball.

If you’re like most golfers, your routine probably consists of hitting balls at the range, and if there’s time, doing some chipping or putting. If there’s time, you might throw in a quick stretch here or there, or swing a weighted club. What is the most beneficial?

Like most sports nowadays, the research is showing that a DYNAMIC WARM UP is the most beneficial for improving athletic performance. Compared to static stretching, a dynamic warm up consists of taking joints through their ranges of motion repeatedly.

What an effective dynamic warm up does that helps your athletic performance is prime your nervous system, which increases your movement efficiency. Imagine you are turning a light switch on in a room and there is a delay between when you flip the switch and when the light bulb turns on. When you do a dynamic warm up, the light bulb turns on faster because you have increased the firing of those neuromuscular circuits.

Golf Warm Up

The golf warm up does not have to be long, but it needs to be effective. What makes a warm up effective is when it simulates the movement that is about to be performed. In golf, you want to start to prime the muscles that are going to be used for the swing, including your rotator cuff, glutes and abdominals, and increase the ranges of motion in the areas you want to be flexible, including your hips, shoulders, and thoracic spine.

Here are 7 exercises you can start incorporating into your routine that require no equipment, and can be performed in less than 5 minutes!

1. Pelvic rotations

Good for:

Hip Mobility

Upper/Lower body Dissociation

Upper body stability

Teaching Points:

  • Ensure as much of a ROTARY motion in the pelvis (do not want to see pelvis moving sideways)
  • Keep upper body stable

2. Reverse Toe Touches

Good for:

Activating the posterior chain

Mobility through the shoulders and hips

Teaching Points:

  • Do not round your upper back
  • Keep your knees as straight as possible when doing the toe touch

3. Stork Turns

Good for:

Upper/Lower body dissociation

Hip mobility

Teaching Points:

  • Keep your pelvis in the same position, only the HIP should be moving

4. Torso Turns

Good for:

Upper/Lower body dissociation

Thoracic mobility

Lower body stability

Teaching Points:

  • Keep your pelvis in the same position, only the torso should be rotating
  • Feel a stretch across the upper back

5. A-Frame Stretch

Good for:

Upper/Lower body dissociation

Thoracic mobility

Lower body stability

Shoulder Mobility

Teaching Points:

  • Keep your pelvis in the same position, only the torso should be rotating
  • Follow your hand with your eyes as your rotate toward the sky

6. Assisted Single Leg RDL

Good for:

Warming up the posterior chain

Balance

Lower body Stability

Teaching Points:

  • Keep your hip pointed toward the floor the entire movement (do not rotate towards the sky)
  • Keep the neck, upper back, and low back in as straight of a line as possible (do not round)

7. Overhead Squat

Good for:

Scapular stability

Hip mobility

Shoulder flexibility

Core activation

Teaching Points:

  • Keep the dowel as high as possible (don't let it come forward)
  • Keep your heels down the entire exercise

Resources

http://www.mytpi.com/articles/fitness/the_science_behind_a_golf_warm_up

http://www.mytpi.com/articles/fitness/are_you_stretching_or_warming_up

About the Author

Brian received his Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2016, and his Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Psychology from the University of California Berkeley in 2013. He is currently certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and by the Titleist Performance Institute as a Medical and Fitness Instructor (TPI). During his time at USC, Brian had the opportunity to work in Athletic Medicine and collaborate with sports medicine physicians, athletic trainers, strength and conditioning specialists, and coaches, and saw the value of a team approach.

Through TPI, Brian has been trained to evaluate and train golfers across the movement spectrum, from individuals who are looking to prevent injury, to those who looking to take their game to the next level. Brian evaluates a golfer's needs and designs individualized programs based on flexibility, neuromuscular efficiency, and strength. Whether you're looking to hit the ball farther, or stay on the course, Brian will help you meet your goals.

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