We've all heard words and phrases like "flexibility," "mobility," and "range-of-motion" when golfers are discussing ways to improve their golf game. While all three of those concepts are slightly different in strict semantic terms, the gist of what they all mean is pretty much the same: the deeper and more fluidly you can move your body, the better you'll probably be able to play golf.
Improving your range-of-motion around the many joints in your body will allow you to get a bigger takeaway, allow you to generate more hip rotation, and allow you to finish your swing with a deeper follow-through. Those are good things. These 2 golf flexibility exercises will let you play more smoothly with less pain and effort and improve your overall golf performance. And you can do them all in less than 15 minutes!
All Fitness Is Not Golf Fitness.
Even if you work out multiple times every week, there are probably some things that you're overlooking if the goal is to improve your golf game and/or your golf fitness. There might even be some things you're doing that may be negatively affecting your golf swing.
Traditional strength training usually involves variations of the chest press. While the chest press is a great exercise for strengthening the chest, shoulders, and triceps, overdoing it is a very easy way to tighten the chest and shoulders and limit your ability to maximize your takeaway and follow-through and maintain an optimal golf posture and golf stance.
1. Chest and Shoulder Stretch with Bands
This is a great way to open up the chest and shoulders. Plus, it feels amazing. Even if you give up the game of golf tomorrow, you'll still want to be doing this stretch.
Attach a v-shaped resistance band to a shoulder-high anchor point. (You can also use two traditional bands of equal resistance and attach one end of both to the anchor point.) Grab a handle in each hand and stand with your back to the anchor point with arms out to the sides and parallel to the ground. Keeping your arms extended out to the sides, slowly walk forward until you feel a stretch across your chest. Hold this position for a five-count and then allow the bands to pull your arms back even further. You should now feel a stretch from wrist to wrist across the shoulders and chest. Again, hold the stretch for a five-count. Do 3 complete ten-count chest and shoulder stretches.
Because we sit so much, most of us have tight hips and hamstrings. Off the course, tight hips and hamstrings may occasionally make themselves felt as lower back pain. On the course, though, they can be even more irritating. Tight hips will keep you from maximizing power and tight hamstrings will make it difficult for you to maintain proper golf posture and spine angle.
2. Pendulum Leg Swing
To loosen up your hip flexors and quadriceps muscles on the front of your body and your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings on the back of your body, take your driver in your right hand and place the grip end on the floor to the right of you. Using the club as support, raise your right leg slightly off the floor and swing it forward and back. Try to keep your leg straight and your knee from bending. Also try to avoid rocking back and forth with your upper body. Initially, you may not be able to get a lot of movement in either direction but, over time, you'll be surprised how much greater your range of motion becomes. This will be good news for the health of your lower back, but, more importantly, it'll be great news for your golf game.
Unlike the first stretch, where you held a static position while opening up the chest and shoulders, this is an example of dynamic stretching, where you use your body's own movement to create and intensify the stretch. Do three sets of 20 front-and-back pendulum swings on each leg.
Playing golf requires you to be able to rotate your body comfortably. Now that we've loosened up the upper body and the lower body, let's tie them together, thrown in some rotation, and optimize your body from head to toe.