Most avid golfers eventually reach a point where their games plateau, and they would likely rush to check their bank balances if they learned about some new gadget that could provide them with a breakthrough and shave a stroke or more off their average score.
Golfers who want to improve their games without breaking the bank may be happy to learn that spending a few minutes stretching and warming up before a round could provide even better results than the latest titanium driver or space-age putter. According to some golf trainers, players who incorporate dynamic warmup routines save about 1.5 strokes over 18 holes.
Preparation is Key
Preparation is the key to success on the golf course, and improving strength and cardiovascular fitness will yield benefits in athletic performance and make injuries less likely. Here are some things that you can do to improve both your golf game and your overall health:
- Eat right: Champions often say that titles are won in the kitchen. To follow in their footsteps, you should follow a predominately plant-based whole food diet that provides the vitamins, minerals and micronutrients your body needs without supplementation. You should also carry nutritious snacks to provide a burst of energy if you begin to tire late in a round.
- Dress right: Golf is not a contact sport, but playing it does involve a lot of stretching and twisting. The clothes that you wear while golfing should be loose enough to provide you with a full range of movement but not too loose. You should also dress in layers so you can adjust to changing weather conditions.
- Wear compression socks: A drop-off in performance late in a round of golf is often caused by pain or swelling in the legs or feet. This is because spending a lot of time standing and walking can impede circulation and allow blood to pool in the feet.
Compression socks work like an additional layer of muscle to maintain circulation, prevent injuries and speed up recovery. When a group of golfers in Georgia were asked to try compression socks, half of them said that they had less leg swelling after an 18-hole round and 86% of them said they felt better.
Golf Warm Up Stretches
A dynamic golf warm up gets the blood flowing, loosens up joints and wakes up the nervous system – it should also start with some dynamic stretching. Most people associate stretching with bends and twists that are held for several seconds. While static stretching can increase flexibility, studies have found that it can also negatively impact performance when performed immediately prior to an athletic activity that involves forceful movements like swinging a golf club.
Researchers have discovered that dynamic stretching is a far more effective way to prepare for a round of golf. You tighten your muscles and move your joints throughout a dynamic stretch, but you do not hold the final position for more than a few seconds. This is how animals stretch, and it improves agility, acceleration and speed. Here are a few dynamic stretches that you should think about adding to your golf warm up routine:
- Arm swings: Stand with your hands by your side and then swing your arms around in circles both forward and backward. Do this for about 30 seconds.
- Side bends: Stand with your feet slightly apart and place a golf club behind your neck and across your shoulders. Put both hands on the golf club and then lean as far to one side as you can. Try not to lean forward or back and hold the stretch for about two seconds. Perform about 10 stretches for each side.
- Torso twist: This is the stretch that could add distance to your drives. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and a golf club behind your neck across your shoulders. Now bend down slightly and twist your body until the golf club is pointing straight down at the ground. Perform 15 or 20 alternating twists.
- Leg swings: This simple exercise will warm up your hamstrings and hip flexors to take pressure off your lower back. Stand on one leg and move your other leg forward and back through its full range of motion. Do this 10 times for each leg.
Golf Warm Up Exercises
A little walking to get your heart pumping and a few stretches should be enough to improve your golf game and prevent minor injuries, but you will probably have to add some resistance exercises to your warm up routine if you want to shave strokes off your score.
When British researchers observed how three different warm up routines affected the games of 15 elite golfers, they discovered that adding functional resistance exercises greatly improved performance. When the golfers incorporated resistance exercises into their warm ups, they had longer drives and struck the ball more consistently and forcefully. Here are some resistance exercises that you could try:
- Bodyweight squats: Squatting can be difficult at first, but holding onto a golf club for balance makes things easier. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and then lower yourself into a squatting position. Make sure that your knees stay in line with your feet, and try to keep most of your weight on your heels.
- Supported squats: This is an exercise that you should not try until you have built up enough leg strength to perform 10 bodyweight squats. A supported squat is basically a bodyweight squat that you perform with one leg. It is called a supported squat because the person performing it has to hold onto something to provide balance.
- Lunges: This exercise works and stretches the leg muscles and the hip and knee joints. Stand with your feet apart and then place one foot about three feet in front of the other. Now bend your front leg and hold the position for about two seconds. Perform 10 lunges for each leg.
Put Technology on Your Side
Adding dynamic stretching and resistance exercises to your warm up routine could help you to improve your golf and get more enjoyment from the game. You should also consider seeking out apparel that has been designed to reduce the discomfort caused by prolonged standing and walking. The compression socks available from TRUEENERGY® use technology first developed by NASA to improve circulation and speed up tissue regeneration, and they can help you to avoid the swelling and pain that can ruin a round of golf.