As with any sport, a solid training regimen that focuses on the muscles most used by the player is best. In golf, the focus should be given to flexibility and core strength to reduce overuse of your arms and wrists and to prevent strain on the lower back. Keep in mind, your overall strength and flexibility will improve your swing and can also shave strokes off your game. If you want to be physically ready for your best game every time you step onto the course, consider adding the following eight stretches and exercises to your workout routine;
Knee Hugs: Maintaining your posture is a crucial factor for a golfer when you use upswing and follow-through. The knee hugs help to stretch the hamstrings and your glutes. To do knee hugs, stand with your arms to your sides and keep your back straight. Lift your right foot as you squat down on your left leg for two seconds. While squatting, bend your knee and grab your left leg with both hands placed below the knee. Bring the bent leg up close to your chest. Relax and switch over to squatting on your right leg while bringing your bent left leg up to your chest. Perform the exercise 6 times for each leg.
Quad Rocking Exercise: While playing golf, you can feel stress build up in your back region while swinging. Quad rocking exercises relieve the stress while strengthening the lower back. These exercises also help your hip mobility. Get down on your hands and knees with your palms flat on the ground. Your bent knees should be under your belly and your hands positioned under your shoulders. Pull in your belly button while keeping your back at its natural curve. Now shift your hips back while breathing normally. You should feel your pelvis rotating. Now return to your start position. Do this exercise ten times.
Supine Spinal Twists: To increase core strength and torso mobility, these twists are a simple and helpful exercise. It also provides an excellent shoulder stretch when done correctly. Start on your back with feet raised and bent in a 90-degree angle or so your calves are parallel to the floor. Stretch your arms out wide and twist your torso right to left. You will feel the stretch and you can control the speed so increase stretch time. Do ten twists per side, alternating back and forth. Remember that walking the golf course can also help warm up your muscles but sometimes that isn’t enough to get the blood flowing. Next time you are playing a round of golf, try throwing a few supine spinal twists in as you walk between holes.
Hip Crossovers: Hip crossovers are an ideal exercise when you are looking to strengthen your lower body so that you can put more force into your downswing. These exercises focus on stretching the muscles and tendons in the hip region. To perform the hip crossover, lay flat on your back with your legs bent and your feet pressed flat into the floor. Your feet should be spread apart more than shoulder length as you can keep your hands flat on the floor. Now twist your legs to the left, keeping them bent, as they touch the ground. Then repeat the step to the right. Do this exercise three times for both sides.
Mini-Band Walk Forward: Activating the legs and strengthening the glutes is key to developing and maintaining a stable base when you swing. This benefit is achieved by the resistance of the stretch bands which are placed around the legs above the knee and the other band placed around the ankles. Walk forward in small steps, keeping the knees bent and alternating the elbows, driving back with each step. Make sure you are keeping your back straight and knees over the toes during the exercise.
Lateral Squat: This squat will work to build both leg power and lower core strength while stretching essential leg muscles such as the hip abductors, glutes, groin, hamstrings and strengthening the quads. Leg power is important because it plays a key role in providing power for the golf swing when strong and elastic. To perform, stand with your feet spread slightly wider than the width of your shoulders. Shift the hips to the right and down by keeping your left leg straight as you bend your right knee. Your feet should be pointed forward and flat on the ground. Push through the right hip, returning to the starting position. Shift your hips to the left and repeat the exercise.
Inverted Hamstring Stretch: To maintain a strong core, the hamstrings allow you to fire your core muscles properly during the swing. That is, of course, if they are flexible. This stretch will help you maintain your posture throughout the swing and in many cases, decrease lower-back pain. The connection between tight hamstrings and lower-back pain is common, so this exercise is an essential one. To perform this exercise, stand on your left leg with your arms outstretched and extended from your sides. Then bend over at the waist and raise your right leg so it is parallel to the ground behind you. Once you have felt the hamstring stretch in the left leg, return to the starting position and switch standing legs.
Standing Wood Chop: This exercise engages movements of your hips, back, and shoulders while simultaneously increasing strength and flexibility. Practice this exercise with a cable system, resistance bands, medicine balls or free weights. With a slight bend to the knees, pull the band overhead to the right as if swinging an ax. After 8-12 repetitions, rest for 30 seconds and repeat.
With practice comes strength, mobility, and flexibility, which all contribute to a better golf game. Try working these exercises into your routine and remember consistency is key when training our muscles.