As the golf season approaches, it is crucial for golfers to begin preparing their bodies for the demands of the sport with the best golf exercises. To prevent injury and enhance performance, golfers must incorporate effective physical fitness and conditioning practices into their preparation and training.
Flexibility and range of motion are critical for golfers to optimize their swing mechanics and prevent injuries. Incorporating specific golf stretches and flexibility exercises, such as yoga or a dynamic warm-up routine, can help improve these areas.
Here are a few golf stretches to incorporate to improve flexibility and improve your range of motion:
- Shoulder Stretch: Grip your golf club on both ends using an overhand grip and lift it over your head with straight elbows. Slowly pull your hands back as far as possible to stretch your shoulders, holding the stretch until you feel the tension in the front of your shoulders.
- Hamstring / Lower Back Stretch: Place your right foot forward in a lunge position with your left knee on the ground. Gently press your right elbow into the inside of your right knee, twist your torso to the left, and reach your left arm behind you to stretch your lower back. Repeat on the other side.
- Core Stretch: Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and cross your arms over your chest. Gently bend your knees and lean your upper body forward. Rotate your torso to mimic your golf swing backswing position, hold for a moment, then rotate your body to mimic your follow-through position and hold for 30 seconds.
UPPER BODY EXERCISES
Core strength is essential for golfers to generate power in their swing and maintain proper posture throughout the round. Try these golf swing exercises:
- Planks: Start in a push-up position, engage core muscles, hold for 15-30 seconds.
- Bird Dogs: Start on all fours, raise opposite arm and leg, hold for a couple of seconds, repeat on the other side.
- Russian Twists: Sit on the floor with your knees bent, lean back and hold a weight or a medicine ball, twist to the right and left and touch weight to the floor beside you.
Upper body strength, particularly in the shoulders, arms, and back, is also important for golfers to generate power in their swing and hit the ball further. Here are some of the best exercises for your golf swing:
- Shoulder Press: Stand or sit with a barbell or dumbbells at shoulder level, press weight up above your head, lower back down, repeat for 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.
- Dumbbell Bicep Curl: Stand or sit with a dumbbell in each hand, keep your elbow close to your body, and curl the weight up towards your shoulders. Lower back down and repeat. This exercise works on your biceps, which are important for generating power in your swing.
- Row: Stand or sit with a barbell or dumbbells in front of you, bend over slightly, pull weight towards your chest, lower back down, repeat for 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.
LOWER BODY EXERCISES
- Squats: Squats are a great exercise for building leg strength and power. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, and then lower your body as if you were sitting back into a chair. Push back up to the starting position and repeat.
- Lunges: Lunges are a great exercise for building leg strength and stability. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, and then step forward with one foot and lower your body until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Push back up to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
- Step-ups: Step-ups are a great exercise for building leg strength and endurance. Start by standing in front of a step or a bench, and then step up with one foot and bring the other foot up to meet it. Step back down and repeat with the other leg.
- Glute Bridges: Glute bridges are a great exercise for building hip and glute strength. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Push through your heels to raise your hips up towards the ceiling and then lower them back down.
- Calf Raises: Calf raises are a great exercise for building calf strength and stability. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and then raise up on your toes and lower back down.
Remember to focus on form. Start with lower weights and higher reps, and gradually increase the intensity as your body adapts. Consult with your orthopedic doctor or a physical therapist to have a personalized golf exercise plan that fits your specific needs.
Finally, adequate rest and recovery are necessary for the body to heal and repair after a workout. Golfers should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night and allow for adequate recovery time between golf stretches and exercises to prevent overuse injuries such as golfer’s elbow.
GOLF OVERUSE INJURIES
Lateral epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow, is a painful condition of the elbow caused by overuse and is common in golfers. This condition occurs when the tendons that join your forearm muscles to the bones become inflamed. As the muscles and tendons are overused from repeating the same motions over and over in your golf swing, they start to become damaged, resulting in pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow.
Medial epicondylitis or “golfers elbow” is also a common elbow injury, but the inflammation occurs at the tendons that attach your forearm muscles to the inside of the bone at your elbow. Other symptoms include weakness in hands and wrists, numbness or tingling from the elbow to the fingers, and elbow stiffness.
For more tips and information on living a healthy and pain-free life, join our monthly newsletter. The link to sign up is below.