Properly stretching your body before a round of golf can greatly improve your flexibility, prevent injuries and ultimately lead to better scores. However, most golfers tend to overlook proper and thorough stretching routines before and in-between rounds of golf. One of the most important areas a golfer should stretch are the shoulders.
The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint that is similar to the hip, but with a lot less stabilization. In every other sport, the shoulder and rotator cuff is often prone to the most injury. The shoulder can move in all planes, which is necessary to make the golf swing – but with greater mobility comes greater chance for injury.
Tightness in the shoulders can make it very difficult to keep your left arm straight (if you are right-handed). It can hinder your takeaway and ultimately hinder every swing you make – from putting to driving to chipping.
I recommend never stretching cold – do some light exercise to loosen up the body and get the heart pumping (example: walk up and down the practice tee once or twice). Once you feel a little energized you can begin stretching.
Hold each stretch for 10 – 15 seconds and repeat a few times. Stretch at a slow pace, don’t jerk or bounce. It’s a good idea to stretch everyday along with before and after every round. Here is a simple shoulder stretch to help loosen the upper body.
Simple Shoulder Stretch:
- Take your golf stance and grab your left elbow with your right hand.
- Point your left thumb up, then rotate it clockwise so that your palm is facing away from your body.
- Now rotate your chest to your right, similar to a backswing.
- Apply some tension to you left elbow until you feel a stretch in your back
- Now switch arms and repeat with the other side – it’s important to stretch both ways.