Taking a small amount of time to do as few as five simple stretches can really have an impact on your experience of playing golf. Improving your range of motion and flexibility will not only help you maximise the potential of your golf swing, but it will help limit the risk of injury.
The golf swing can be a strenuous rotational movement, with particular pressure on your back, shoulders, hips and glutes.
Below are five quick and easy stretches that you can do in the comfort of your own home that target those specific muscle groups. Try and incorporate them into your routine a couple of times a week – they won’t just help your golf, but will improve your mobility in your day-to-day life too.
Open Book Stretch
Step 1: Lie on one side and bend your hips and knees to 90-degrees
Step 2: Put both your arms out in front of your body, also at 90-degrees. Your lower arm should be resting on the floor and your upper arm above, with your hands together
Step 3: Rotate your upper arm and torso back around your body until you feel the stretch in your upper back. Keep your knees together and to the floor
Step 4: Hold this stretch for 7-10 seconds
You can perform this stretch for a couple of minutes, switching sides halfway.
The ‘open book’ stretch is excellent for improving rotation in the thoracic region of your spine, plus it has the added benefits of improving chest and shoulder mobility too.
You rely heavily on your ability to rotate your spine for creating power in your golf swing. Golf pushes the boundaries of your range of motion and injuries in the back are easily one of the most common. Performing this stretch regularly will help reduce this risk.
Step 1: Lie down on your back with your knees bent, but feet on the floor
Step 2: Put both your arms out sideways, as if making your body into a ‘T’
Step 3: Slowly rotate your lower body moving your knees towards the floor. Keep your core activated throughout and your shoulders and arms against the floor
Step 4: Hold the stretch for 7-10 seconds before rotating your lower body to the other side
You can keep rotating from one side to another for a set number of reps that you feel comfortable with.
Trunk rotation is a simple, but effective stretch that’s perfect for golf. It will increase the range of motion and strength of your trunk, which helps to relieve back tension and improve the mobility of your spine.
Step 1: Lie on your side with one foot on top of the other
Step 2: Brace yourself using your forearm. Your elbow should be directly below your shoulder
Step 3: Slowly raise your hips off the ground until your spine forms a straight line with the rest of your body. You should keep your core engaged and squeeze your shoulders blades together
Step 4: Hold this stretch for as long as possible until failure, but do not lose your straight form
Switch sides and repeat. Aim to do this for three sets on each side.
The side plank might seem more like an exercise, but it is an excellent way to stretch out your obliques. The isometric hold element of a side plank is also the perfect way to improve your core and lower back stability.
Step 1: Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your arms down by your sides (you can raise your arms out in front to make it a little more challenging)
Step 2: Bring your heels towards your bottom and raise your toes off the ground
Step 3: Squeeze your glutes (bum muscles) together and push upwards through your heels to raise your hips as high as you can manage.
This stretch is best performed in sets, so try to perform 3 sets of 10.
Unsurprisingly, this stretch targets the strengthening of your glute muscles, but it also helps to work on your hip mobility too. You use your connection to the ground for additional power in your golf swing and having strong glutes helps you transfer this power, through the extension of your hips, into a stronger and more stable golf swing.
Step 1: Lie face down with your arms stretched out above your head and your head remaining in a straight position.
Step 2: Engage your core and raise all your arms and legs up off the floor at the same time. This is where you get to channel your inner Superwoman!
Step 3: Try to hold the position for 5-10 seconds, although if you can go longer then go for it. Before relaxing back to the start position.
This stretch is best performed in sets, so try to perform 3 sets of 10. If you want to mix it up, you can raise only your opposite arm and leg at the same time, before switching. This has the added bonus of challenging your coordination too.
The Superwoman stretch targets your lower back, abs and glutes. Improving your strength and stability in these major muscles is key to both improving and reducing the risk of injury in your golf swing.
Bonus Tip: Squeeze a Stress Ball
Squeezing on a stress ball helps to relieve muscle tension and reduce stress, but it is also ideal for golfers to stretch out and strengthen the muscles in your forearms, hands and wrists.
Wrist injuries are particularly common for golfers so repeatedly squeezing a stress ball helps to prepare these muscles for the stress put on them during a golf swing, especially at impact with the golf ball.