How many times do we show up at the golf course in time to practice a few swings with the driver and then tee off, only to wonder why we feel so tight and stiff during the first few rounds and stiff and sore later that night? Does this sound like you?
Do your back, shoulders and golf game a favor and take a few minutes to stretch and warm up properly.
Here are 5 great stretching moves created by the ‘StretchIt’ app that will loosen you up — and just maybe improve your game.
1. Twisting Stretch
Start with your legs wider than your hips. Rest your right hand on your lower back palm facing away from you. Inhale. With an exhale, bend the right knee and reach your left hand outside your right foot. With an exhale, lift your torso up and switch your hands, placing your left hand on your lower back. Twist toward the left reaching your right hand around the corner. Follow your hand with your gaze to exaggerate the twist. Repeat six times and switch sides.
This twist stretch is great for loosening up your hamstrings and low back.
2. Hip Press
Tight hamstrings tend to put a lot of pressure on your lower back. This stretch will loosen up the hips and hamstrings — releasing this pressure, alleviating back pain and increasing the range of motion in your legs.
Step your right foot forward in a short lunge position with both heels on the ground. Place your hands on your hips or hold onto your golf club with one hand to help with balance. Tuck your pelvis in. Engage your left glute and feel the stretch in your left hip flexor and quad. Inhale. With an exhale, bend your back leg and extend your front leg into a hamstring stretch. Lower your torso while keeping the back straight. Think of arching your lower back to intensify the stretch. With an inhale return to your lunge and repeat. Continue this action six times, breathing through it.
This stretch is great for relieving pressure on your lower back.
3. Scarecrow Twists
Start with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. Place your golf club behind your neck and onto your shoulders with both arms over the golf club in a scarecrow position. Bend your knees slightly and inhale. With an exhale, twist to the right, pivoting in the left foot. Look around the corner to intensify the stretch. With an inhale, return to center. Repeat on the other side. Continue this twisting action six times on each side, breathing through it.
Twisting action is great for the spine and will prepare your body to swing a golf club.
4. Standing Side Stretch
Standing up straight, plant your golf club into the ground with your right hand. Cross your left leg over the right and reach your left arm up and over toward the club. Then, open your chest and look at the sky. Allow your hips to go slightly to the left and feel the stretch in the left side of your body. Use your club as a balance point. Hold here for 3-5 breaths and switch sides.
This stretch opens the chest and diaphragm muscles, loosens the spine and alleviates back pain and tightness.
5. Shoulder Flossing
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and grab your golf club with each hand. Lift the golf club over your head. With an inhale, begin to floss it behind you until it becomes parallel to the ground. With an exhale, return to your original position. If you want to intensify the stretch, inch your hands closed together; to simplify the stretch, move the hands wider apart. Repeat 6 to 8 times, breathing through it.
This stretch reduces stiffness in the back, neck and shoulders and increases the range of motion in your shoulders.
“Keep your sense of humor. There’s enough stress in the rest of your life not to let bad shots ruin a game you’re supposed to enjoy.” -Amy Alcott