Way to Better Golf
By: Mike Pederson
August 13, 2002
Flexibility is the buzzword in the golf world! The
more flexible a golfer is the better chance he/or she
has at making an optimal backswing, and producing maximum
clubhead speed. There is still some controversy over
which flexibility exercises are the best for golf and
how often you should stretch. Knowing your limitations
going into a stretching program is very important. If
you have joint or muscle limitations, you should see
your doctor before you start. Flexibility training should
be done consistently (daily) to obtain significant improvement.
As we get older, flexibility becomes a greater issue
when attempting recreational activities such as golf.
Follow the guidelines I have written below, and you
will get the most out of your flexibility program, and
play your best golf!
Always Warm Up Before Stretching
A warm muscle is much more easily stretched than
a cold muscle. Never stretch a cold muscle; always warm
up first to get blood circulating throughout the body
and into the muscles. A warm-up should be a slow, rhythmic
exercise of larger muscle groups done before an activity.
Riding a bicycle or walking works well. This provides
the body with a period of adjustment between rest and
the activity. The warm-up should last about 5-10 minutes
and should be similar to the activity that you are about
to do, but at a much lower intensity. Once you have
warmed up at a low intensity for about 5-10 minutes
and have gotten your muscles warm, you can now stretch.
Stretch Before and After Exercise
We recommend stretching both before and after exercise,
for different reasons. Stretching before an activity
(after the warm-up) improves dynamic flexibility and
reduces the chance of injury. Stretching after exercise
or golf ensures muscle relaxation and facilitates normal
resting length, circulation to joint and tissue structures,
and removal of unwanted waste products, thus reducing
muscle soreness and stiffness. Body temperature is highest
right after cardiovascular exercise or after strength
training. In order to achieve maximum results in range
of motion and other benefits, it is highly recommended
that you do static stretching at this point in your
workout, just after your cardiovascular program and
during or after your strength-training program.
Stretch Before Golf
Stretching before golf should be part of your warm-up.
Active or dynamic stretching is crucial in preparing
a golfer to perform at their best. Warming up first
is essential. Your core body temperature should be raised
to avoid injury. This can be done by walking from your
car to the practice range at a fast pace, thus preparing
your body for active warm-ups specific to golf.
The shoulder joint is the most active joint in the
golf swing. Movements such as arms circles and crosses
are needed to prepare for an aggressive golf swing on
the first tee. The hamstrings and low back are also
critical areas to warm up before swinging a club. Doing
some easy toe touches (ease into it) with slightly bent
knees will adequately loosen up your lower back and
hamstrings and provide more freedom in your golf swing.
Stretch After Golf
Most golfers head for the clubhouse after the round.
This is a crucial time for stretching because you have
just put your body through a lot of stress. Spending
only 5 minutes after the round doing static stretches
will prevent a lot of soreness and tightness. The areas
to concentrate on are the low back, hamstrings, hips,
and shoulders. If done consistently, you will be able
to play or practice the next day with very few residual
Stretch Between Strength-Training Sets
To improve functional flexibility, we recommend stretching
the muscle being worked in between strength-training
sets. The benefit: maintaining and improving full range
of motion while muscles are recovering. This is a very
time-efficient method because by the time you have gone
through each of your strength-training exercises; you
will have stretched each muscle without taking-up any
Golfers are very concerned about losing flexibility
from strength training. This is one way to ease your
mind about maintaining full range of motion, even while
strength training. Applying all of these principles
will allow you the best chance at improving your flexibility
and ultimately your golf game!
Article courtesy of Mike Pederson of