To newbies golf may not seem like the most physically demanding sport, but the repetitive nature of the swing places a lot of stress on the body. From the rotation of the core and shoulders to the stability required in the lower body, golf requires strength, flexibility, and balance to perform at an optimal level. This is where dynamic stretching comes in and is key to improve and maintain a great golf game.
What is Dynamic Stretching?
Dynamic stretching involves moving the joints and muscles through an active range of motion to prepare the body for physical activity. This type of stretching utilizes movement and momentum from controlled bodyweight exercises to target all the major muscle groups. The constant movement gently lengthens the muscles and tendons while raising the heart rate, blood flow and body temperature. This allows for a greater range of motion and enhances elasticity and is great for warming up before a game.
Benefits of Dynamic Stretching
- Increases flexibility and range of motion – The swinging motion in golf requires a wide range of shoulder rotation, hip turn and spinal movement. Dynamic stretches boost mobility to allow for a fuller shoulder turn and coil.
- Activates muscles – Dynamic stretches target key muscles in the swing like the shoulders, core and hips. The constant movement engages the muscles to fire properly throughout the motion for maximum power.
- Prepares the body for activity – Moving the body through golf-specific motions prior to playing helps prepare the muscles for the repetitive nature of swinging. This decreases injury risk.
- Increases blood flow – The constant movement of dynamic stretching elevates the heart rate and pumps blood and oxygen to the working muscles. This circulation gets the muscles ready for action.
- Improves swing mechanics – The practice of rotating, turning and coiling during dynamic stretching reinforces proper swing mechanics and technique. This engrains the neuromuscular patterns to be carried onto the course.
Golf Warm Up Exercises: 15 Minute Rountine
- Jogging – Easy jogging with high knees and arm swings raises body temp and gets blood flowing. 2-3 minutes.
- Lateral Lunges – Great for inner thigh and groin stretch. Step left leg out wide, bend left knee keeping chest upright. Feel stretch down adductors. 8-10 reps per side.
- Forward Lunges with Rotation – Lunge forward with right leg, rotate upper body left bringing left arm across chest and right arm back. Twist through core activating rotation. 8-10 reps per side.
- Bird Dogs – From all fours extend one leg back and the opposite arm forward. Hold for 2 counts, switch sides. Targets balance. 6-8 reps per side.
- Hip Circles – Stand feet shoulder-width apart, circle hips clockwise 10 times then counter-clockwise 10 times. Loosens up hip joint.
- High Knees – Lift knees high to engage hip flexors. Exaggerate arm swing. 1-2 minutes
- Side Lunges with Rotation – Step right foot out to side, rotate upper body left reaching right arm overhead. Feel oblique and lat stretch. 8-10 reps per side.
- Shoulder Circles – Roll shoulders backwards and forwards through full circle motion. Loosens rotator cuff and chest muscles. 10 reps forward, 10 reps back.
Dynamic Stretching vs Static Stretching
Both dynamic and static stretching are beneficial before golf in their own ways. Static stretches involve holding a muscle lengthened for 15-30 seconds and can improve flexibility. However, static stretches do not engage the muscles or increase body temperature like dynamic warm-ups. The most effective routine combines both techniques starting with dynamic movements to get the blood pumping, followed by targeted static stretches where needed. Just be sure not to static stretch cold muscles.
A proper dynamic warm-up prepares the body for the twisting, turning, and swinging nature of golf. Dynamic stretches enhance mobility, activate the golf swing muscles, raise body temperature and prevent injury. Set aside 10-15 minutes before your round to move through golf-specific motions that will prime your body for peak performance on the course. Consistency is key in making it part of your regular pre-round routine. Low intensity cardio can also be perfect for warming up alongside dynamic stretching exercises noted above- for further information you can refer to the Total Shape article I featured in discussing examples and benefits.
How long should I stretch for before playing golf?
10-15 minutes is ideal. This allows enough time to raise your heartbeat, body temp, and loosen the major muscle groups through active movement.
Are dynamic stretches beneficial for senior golfers?
Yes! Dynamic stretches can help senior golfers maintain and improve mobility and flexibility. They also deliver blood flow to the muscles to keep them active.
Will stretching help my golf swing speed?
Improved mobility, muscle activation, and mechanics from dynamic stretching can contribute to added clubhead speed over time. But it depends on several other factors as well.
When is the best time to dynamically stretch on game day?
Complete your routine in the 20-30 minutes leading up to your tee time. You want your muscles warm and limber going into the first tee shot.