Well it feels like spring is in the air and the golf courses are getting busier again! So, I thought I would address another question that I get asked:
“Should I warm up for golf?”
As a physiotherapist this seems like a obvious answer -YES you should warm up for golf - Just as you would warm up for any other sport. Although on the surface golf may seem like a fairly gentle activity it actually involves lots of walking with intermittent strong bursts of activity. This can be a recipe for problems especially with the spine. It is important to warm up the body for the activity and prepare yourself to play the best golf you can.
1.AIM: Warm up the Whole body:
Start with warming up the whole body by a brisk walk - allow the arms to swing by your sides - slowly increasing the range that you swing the arms through.
Continue the walk for 5 minutes.
2.AIM: Loosen the trunk:
Cross the arms over the body - keep the hips square and rotate the trunk in each direction.
x 5 repetitions.
3. AIM: Stretch the back of the arms:
Take one arm across the body at a horizontal level and gentle add pressure on the upper arm to further increase the stretch.
Hold 20 seconds each arm.
4. AIM: Stretch the upper back, shoulders and arms:
Take the fingertips behind the head: Shrug shoulders and then drop shoulders. / Take the elbows back and then forward / Take the arms out to the side palms up and return to the start.
x 5 repetitions.
5. AIM: Mobilise the whole spine into flexion:
Roll downs: Lean against a tree with feet approx 1 foot from the tree. Nod the head and roll down - try to roll bone by bone as you curl down - if you feel any tension in the legs or back bend the knees to allow you to continue the roll down.
X 5 repetitions.
6. AIM: Mobilise the whole spine into extension:
Put your hands on your bottom and gently lean back.
X 3 repetitions.
7. AIM: Improve balance and stretch the sides of the body:
Take two arms up in the air and reach for the sky.
Hold the body straight then lean to the right and then the left.
Return to the vertical and then relax
X 3 repetitions.
8. AIM: Loosen the hips:
Stand on a curb and allow one foot to dangle off. Swing the leg back and forth to release the hips. Do not to try to push the legs just allow momentum to move you.
X 20 repetitions. each leg.
9. AIM: Stretch the calves:
Lean against wall and stretch the leg behind you. Ensure the rear foot faces forward. Stretch with the leg straight and bent.
Hold each x 20 seconds.
10. AIM: Improve the dynamic movement of the trunk.
Hold the hands together, flex the trunk as if you were leaning forwards to take a swing and start to rotate the body to the right and left - slowly increase the speed of the movement.
Continue 30 seconds.
11. AIM: Improve the balance and improve the neuro - muscular connection:
This is very important for golf as golf is very much a mind - body activity so it is important to “wake up” the neural system to improve the neuro - muscular (brain to muscle) connection.
Balance on one leg try to keep tall.
Try to maintain for 20 - 30 seconds - if this is too easy then close the eyes.
12. AIM: Get golf ready:
Finish the warm up with some putting, chipping and driving practice.
These exercises are of course not a comprehensive warm up but are intended to get you started and help improve your game and prevent injury.
You should not feel pain with any of the above exercise and should seek advice from a doctor or professional if you have any symptoms or concerns. Victoria would be very happy to guide you through a warm up for golf.