GOLFING WARM UP

Golf is one of the few sports we can return to in Phase 1 of our route out of lockdown. It’s important when resuming any sport after a period of inactivity, that we are aware of pacing our return. This will allow your joints, muscles and tendons to become accustomed to the demands of your sport. This could mean gradually building up the number of holes completed or the number of shots taken at the driving range. Even more important, after a long period of inactivity, is ensuring an adequate warm-up forms part of your return to golf.

Why warm-up?

Many golfers don’t warm up at all or only for a short duration, despite evidence showing it can significantly improve performance. Although golf may be a relatively “gentle” sport, it can involve lots of walking with intermittent bursts of high-speed movements. Golfers could put themselves at risk of injury if the body is not prepared for this.

A good warm-up sequence will not only physically prepare you but help focus you mentally, improving your overall performance.

 

It may be beneficial to look at your warm-up from three perspectives:

  1. Injury Prevention/Reduction
  • Increases blood flow to muscles
  • Lubricates joints to allow them to move more freely
  • Activates or primes the nerves and muscles required for sport
  1. Improve Performance
  • Increases consistency
  • Increases power and length of drive
  • Increases the accuracy of shots
  1. Mental Preparation
  • Sharpens your senses
  • Reduces anxiety

How to warm up?

Golf involves many different muscle groups, speeds of movement and planes of motion. Therefore, a good warm-up routine is just as important as it is for sprinting or any team sport. A personalised warm-up routine, which takes into account areas of stiffness or previous injury, may be preferable. However, for the amateur golfer, there are a few basic areas to consider when performing your warm-up. So, what types of exercises should form our golfing warm-up?

 

  1. Cardio/Raise Heart Rate

Firstly, we want to raise heart rate, breathing rate and body temperature before doing any stretching/mobility or practice drills. Some options could include:

  • Brisk walk
  • Light jog
  • Star jumps
  • Bodyweight squats or lunges

 

  1. Mobility/Dynamic Stretching

Gone are the days of getting out the car and doing a few static stretches before teeing off. Research has shown that for most sports, dynamic or mobility drills that move body parts through a range of movement in a controlled way, are more effective to warm up muscles and joints. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that static stretching may have a negative effect on your performance.

Ensure that both the lower and upper body are targeted with your drills. Some options could include:

 

Lower body (hips/lower spine/ankles)

  • Hamstring walking stretch
  • Hip flexor lunge with arm elevation
  • Pelvic tilt
  • Hip hinge

Upper body (upper back and neck/shoulder/elbows/wrist)

  • Upper body swing with fixed pelvis
  • Squat with arm raise or rotation
  • Shoulder elevation
  • Wrist/forearm rotation

  1. Resistance Exercises

Research has shown that resistance banded warm-ups can increase your performance in terms of clubhead speed and carry. Introducing resistance in the warm-up is thought to activate or “prime” the muscles that will be utilised in the sport.

Again, try to ensure both the lower and upper body are targeted with these drills. Some options could include:

Lower body

  • Crab walk
  • Lunge with twist
  • Woodchop split stance

Upper body

  • Banded pull apart
  • Lateral raises with band
  • Shoulder external rotation

  1. Golf Specific Movements

Once the required muscles groups have been mobilised and activated, it is useful to finish with some practice shots. Use this to not only physically prepare the body fully but to focus the mind on the game ahead.  Include 10-15 putts, 10-15 chips and pitches and 15-20 golf swings starting with wedges and progressing to woods.

 

A good warm-up can take around 15-30minutes. If you are in a rush and keen to do a quick 9 holes, this may seem like a long time. However, its benefits on performance and injury prevention will pay off. If time is limited, try to ensure some dynamic mobility is included as part of your preparation.

 

If you have any questions regarding specific sporting injuries or want more information on how a warm-up could be targeted to your specific needs please get in touch at bookings@physio-flex.co.uk or call our team on 01506237770.

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Caroline Bennett
On Behalf of PhysioFlex (West Lothian) Ltd