Flexibility is an important part of golf, and performing regular stretching year round can help your swing and your game. Stretch the large muscles in your legs – hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves, holding each for 20-30 seconds. Don’t forget the back, neck and shoulders as well. Stretching is best done when muscles are warm, like after a walk or other workout, or after a shower. If right before your round of golf, stretching should consist of more dynamic movements, like light swinging of clubs or 5-10 second stretches.
Strength of core muscles is another very important part of the golf game. Sit ups are no fun, but stomach muscles are a key contributor to power in your game. Sit ups can be done on the floor or on an exercise ball, and core can also be worked with medicine balls and resistance bands. The gluteus muscles (in your buttocks) and leg muscles are also important muscles to keep strong for good performance on the golf course. Squats and wallslides will help to increase lower body power with your swing.
Another important part of the game that you can train year round is balance. The golf swing requires good balance. Take time to stand on one leg, 15-30 seconds. Try at first with eyes open, then progress to eyes closed. This is easy to do while standing and doing dishes or brushing your teeth.
Improving flexibility, strength, and balance will not only help your overall performance with golf, but hopefully prevent injury as well. So get yourself ready so you can go out and hit ‘em long and straight!
Laura Blair is a physical therapist at Center for Joint Surgery and Sports Medicine. She is also certified level II by Titleist Performance Institute to perform golf fitness evaluations. Call her for all your golf fitness questions, and also check out www.mytpi.com for additional golf fitness information.