FITforeGOLF™ Warm Up – Play Hot
Note: A PDF file showing first-tee stretching exercises as well as a medical research paper on warm-up is available for free download below.
The warm-up is one of the most important components of a healthy golf career. It is something many of us acknowledge but few of us do particularly well.
An appropriate warm-up not only permits peak performance right from the first tee but helps protect our body from all sorts of different injuries. Some of these injuries could potentially force a premature end to the season. It should be remembered that many of the movements required to swing a golf club require maximum ranges of motion and velocities. Performing these movements while “cold” is a recipe for disaster. The risk associated with not warming-up correctly is simply not worth it!
The time-frame required for a proper warm-up will depend on how intense the exercises are performed and to what extent each type of golf shot (putting, chipping, driving) is practiced. A good target is 15 - 30 minutes. The ideal warm-up can be broken down into four sections: general body warm-up, static stretching, golf-specific dynamic stretching, and practice.
GENERAL BODY WARM-UP
The best way to warm-up the body is by low intensity activity using as many of the large muscle groups as possible. Muscles are like the engines in our car. When they are activated they produce heat which in turn is transported by the blood vessels to the rest of the body resulting in an increase in body temperature. Examples of good warm-up activities include: brisk walking, riding a stationary bike or a dozen gentle jumping jacks. A reasonable alternative to the above is to park your car at the far end of the parking lot and use the walk from the car to the check-in area to help limber-up the body.
Gentle stretching exercises for golf should follow the general body warm-up. Illustrations and descriptions of the most important first-tee stretching exercises for golf are available for free download by clicking the icon below.
Muscles should be stretched to the point of mild discomfort but not pain. The ideal hold time for each stretch varies for different people as well as different muscles. Each person should hold the stretch for the length of time that feels right for them. In most cases this will be between 5 and 30 seconds. Five to ten minutes should be devoted to warm-up stretches.
DYNAMIC GOLF WARM-UP
After stretching, a dynamic warm-up for the key golf muscles should be performed. Start by gently swinging a short iron back and forth. Gradually build up the tempo until you feel loose then add resistance by swinging two clubs at once. Do not swing the two clubs aggressively. Use the weight of the clubs to help dynamically stretch the golf muscles. It is a good idea from a muscle balance and coordination point of view to perform your warm-up swings both left and right handed.
After you have completed the warm-up exercises, it is a good idea to practice the various types of shots required while out on the course. Practice will further warm-up the golf muscles plus help improve shot consistency. Start with a short club such as a wedge and only hit the first few shots 20 or so yards. Slowly build up the length of the shots as well as introducing longer clubs such as mid-irons (e.g. 7-iron) as well as hybrids and finally the Driver.