By Jennifer Gage, StretchLab franchise owner
With the WM Phoenix Open upon us, golf is top of mind for everyone. You may even be inspired to break out the clubs for a round yourself. While golf is a low intensity and low impact exercise, without properly preparing the body to play, you could easily find yourself with an unexpected injury.
Stretching has numerous benefits, as it lubricates stiff joints and tendons, increases your body’s temperature, promotes blood flow, and reduces the risk of injury. If you are planning on hitting the links, the following stretches can help you elevate your golf game.
Rotated Shoulder Stretch
Before you swing, it’s important to rotate your shoulders. A rotated shoulder stretch improves range of motion and allows for a more controlled swing by loosening up tight joints. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, extend your arms straight out in front of you, gently bring your right arm across your chest while holding it with your left hand at the elbow, and hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat two to three times on both sides of the body.
A solid foundation is the key to a powerful golf swing and it starts with your ankles. Gently stretch and warm up your ankles to ensure stability and balance on the course. Sit down and lift your foot off the ground while rotating it in a circular motion, both clockwise and counterclockwise. Perform the stretch for 15-30 seconds in each direction and then switch feet.
Quadricep Stretch with Torso Rotation
This dual purpose stretch allows you to improve flexibility while strengthening your core. Targeting both your quadriceps and torso, this stretch primes your body for the complex movements involved in golf. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, bend your right knee while bringing your heel up toward your buttocks, hold your right ankle with your right hand. Simultaneously, extend your opposite arm in front of you and rotate your torso to the right. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat on both sides of the body two to three times.
Incorporating these three essential stretches into your pre-game routine can improve your performance and help prevent unnecessary injury. If you struggle with stretching on your own or are unsure of which stretches would help you improve your golf game, a stretch therapist or certified flexologist may be able to assist you with a customized routine that targets the areas of your body that need it most.