The beginning of the “main” season every spring brings about a lot of rusty golfers both physically and mentally. But, one of the worst things you can do when coming back from your “golf hibernation” is to not stretch. Not only is this important at the beginning of the season but during every practice session and round thereafter.
Stretching warms up the muscles and enables you to make the repeated motions that are required during the round. Three of the more well-known types are Static, Dynamic, and Ballistic.
Static stretching is what most people know as “the norm” when it comes to stretching. A few examples are crossing one foot over the other and stretching down with your fingertips and holding. Another is extending your arm across your chest and grabbing the back of that arm with your other hand. These types of stretches help warm up the muscles so you don’t pull anything.
Dynamic stretching is accomplished by using active movements mimicking the actually sport you are playing. This can be done in golf by making several golf swings repeatedly. Ballistic stretching is another form of Dynamic Stretching and as P90X creator Tony Horton puts it, “It kind of lets gravity do the work.” This type of stretching is done through body movements like running in place, jumping jacks, or just bouncing up and down while shaking your arms and legs. This is another way that will get your body warm and make you feel great before you play golf. This is a little more dangerous than your typical static stretch and you may want to consult a licensed professional if you have any doubts as to your limitations.
Either one of these, or a combination, can work for you. If you are really in a time crunch (or think you may look silly doing jumping jacks on the range) then try this. Simply take an iron and start making full golf swings without a ball. Start slow and then build your way up to full speed by the end. If you take about 20-30 practice swings while gradually increasing your speed this will be a great “dynamic” way to warm up. Also, you get the benefit of getting a solid rhythm with your golf swing for that day.
Try that next time you are out on the practice tee or course and it will help prevent future visits to the chiropractor and physical therapist.