Golf Fitness

Stretching: Technique Can Make a Difference

GOLF GAME RESULTS: GREATER DISTANCE.

One of the mainstays of golf fitness is stretching. In this case, stretching serves many purposes. Stretching can give your movements a greater range of motion that can translate to greater club head speed. It can help to bring more blood flow to tissues and lubricant to joints, which makes for better, less restricted movements. Stretching can help your body to stay in optimal alignment and to be more resistant to injury.

There are a few crucial things to keep in mind when stretching. It is a good idea to stretch before playing golf as part of a warm-up, but it is NOT a good idea to stretch a muscle when it is cold. If stretching is part of your warm-up, it needs to happen after you have already done some gentle movement patterns or swinging of the club. The goal of stretching at this point should be to lengthen tight or stiff muscles while mobilizing the joints in order to prepare them for the activity to follow. To accomplish this, the stretch need not be held for more than 5-10 seconds. It is a good idea to stretch every major joint in the body, but specific areas to focus on for golf would be the neck, shoulders, chest, low back and hamstrings.

To change your range of motion permanently, you need to stretch for a longer time, and to do so after a more pronounced warm up. The best time to stretch for these results is after at least 10 minutes total body warm up such as walking vigorously, or after a longer bout of moderate to strenuous activity. Then, you need to hold the stretch 20 to 30 seconds. Here, technique can make a huge difference in the results you get. If you stretch too far too quickly, your body will actually tell your muscles to contract as a protective measure. The same will happen if you stretch past the point of pain. In other words, stretching in these ways will be counterproductive—causing shortening of the muscle rather than a relaxed lengthening. So, ease into each stretch slowly and gently, and stop for the hold just before the stretch becomes painful.

A regular program of stretching (2-3 times/week) for length changes will yield good results in 3-4 weeks. A single stretch for each muscle group will be effective, but repeating each stretch 3-5 times will yield even better results.

All the best
Kristen

© 2013-2020 Kristen Carter. All rights reserved. Kristen holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology, and is a Certified Health Coach and Titleist Performance Institute Golf Fitness Professional.


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