Golf is a great sport that usually many are looking forward to in the summer. However, if you have played golf, you know that you need very good flexibility in your body for the sport. Playing golf with reduced flexibility leads to a lot of injuries. Some of them include golfer’s elbow, back strain, shoulder or knee injuries and so on. Therefore, golf stretches are an important part of the golf routine.
First, let’s go through the benefits of stretching.
Benefits of stretching
- Improves flexibility and range of motion
A sedentary lifestyle or less physical activity may lead to reduced mobility in the joints. If you start playing golf without stretching, it may increase chances of getting a muscle strain/injury as it may be in a shortened state and may also reduce the ease of playing golf.
- Improves blood circulation
Stretching improves the blood flow to the muscles which has also been shown to reduce muscle soreness that comes after activity (also known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness-DOMS)
- Improves your posture
Poor posture can be caused by imbalances in the muscles. Correctly stretching and strengthening certain groups of muscles can encourage a good postural alignment and thus help in improving posture.
How should you do golf stretches?
There are different ways that you can stretch before and after a physical activity.
Before golf– prior to playing golf, you want to prepare your muscles for the activity. Thus, it is advisable to stretch but not hold the stretches at the end position. You can repeat the same stretch about 5-10 times.
After golf-After playing golf, you need your muscles to cool down and avoid venous pooling. At this time, it is better to hold the end position for about 15-30 seconds and repeat it 3-5 times each.
What are good golf stretches?
This one is to try and prevent the infamous “Golfer’s elbow”
- Keep your right arm stretched out with palm facing upward
- With your left hand, push your right hand and fingers down and hold this position
- Repeat with the left arm
This is a great stretch to increase the range of motion of the shoulder and upper chest before you start with golf
- Start with holding your golf club in your hands at the ends of the club
- Pull up your hands with the elbows straight and take it slightly behind the head
- You can hold this position and repeat several times
- Make sure you do not overstretch to the point of discomfort
This stretch is very helpful to make your golf swing smoother
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart
- Take your right arm across your body to the left side
- With your left forearm hooked around your right elbow, try to push the right arm further across the body
- Hold this position and repeat on the left side
Forward bending stretch:
This stretch is for the back muscles as it is common to have a back strain during golf. Your may need to hold on to an extra support/chair for this one
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart
- Hold a chair/table for support with both hands and keep the elbows extended
- Now gently bend down forwards from your back and walk backwards till you feel a stretch in your back and armpits
- Make sure you are not slouching too much
Lower back extension stretch:
This stretch is also for the low back to prevent injuries
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and both your hands behind at the lower back
- Now lean backwards as much as you can and try not to lose your balance!
- Repeat this several times
This stretch is for the front of the thighs. Quadriceps is a group of muscles that helps in bending the hip forward and extending the knee. You may need an extra support to hold on to while doing the quads stretch.
- Stand on one leg holding on to the support if required with left hand
- Bend your right knee and with the other hand, hold onto the right ankle and try to pull it up towards your buttock
- Once you feel a stretch, hold it in this position
- Repeat on the left side
Hamstring strains are common while playing golf. Hamstrings are a group of muscles in the back of the thigh. You will need a step stool or a bench to perform this stretch
- Keep your right foot on the step stool or bench with the knee straight
- Now slowly lean forward from the waist, make sure your back remains straight and is not slouching
- You will feel a stretch in the back of the thigh
- Alternatively, you can also hold your golf club at the back of your shoulders. Once you lean forward, you can also twist your upper body to right side to get an additional stretch
- Hold this position and then repeat on the left side
Things to take care of while doing golf stretches
- Do not perform any of these stretches if you have a pre-existing injury or physical limitation. Consult a Registered Physiotherapist before you perform these stretches so they can modify it based on your needs.
- Avoid over-stretching. Too many stretches several times a day can also cause damage.
- If you get pain while stretching, do not go beyond that point of comfort. Stretching should not cause pain. If it does cause pain, either you are over doing it or you have a pre-existing injury which is not allowing you to go further.
- Perform all the stretches gently and smoothly. Do not bounce the movements while stretching.
- Ideally, do not stretch for long before doing basic warm up/ cardio. This is because if the muscles are cold, they do not stretch as easily and you are at risk of injury as a result.
How can we help at PhysioNow?
If you are not sure which stretches are best for you or how to best perform them, you can visit us at PhysioNow. We have an expert team of Registered Physiotherapists who can assess you and help you with a stretching plan that would work best for you and your game of golf. Call PhysioNow today to book your appointment!