The other day I had a conversation with Titlest Certified Fitness Instructor, Kathy Ekdahl about off-season exercise for golfers. Which is better: strength training or working on flexibility. Her answer, of course, is that the best exercise is a combination of both. But which should come first? And which form of exercise has the most impact on your golf game?
I recorded our conversation and you can listen to it here:
If you prefer to read rather than listen, here is a short summary of her remarks:
The best golfers practice a combination of flexibility and strength exercises. Recently a study put out by Golf Digest, was done among pro golfers to try and determine which was the best step to take in practice or exercise if a golfers wants to improve his or her game. They broke the group of golfers into 4 groups and had each group work on just one thing. They then measured each group to determine the increase in improvement after taking the assigned action.
- Group 1 went to the driving range to practice
- Group 2 was told to only perform flexibility exercises
- Group 3 were told to take a couple of golf lessons from a professional instructor
- Group 4 performed only strength training exercises
Which group improved the most with better swing speed, power distance and accuracy?
The group that only performed flexibility exercises actually lost potential on all aspects of their golf game.
This highlights how important both flexiblity and strength training are.
Golfers need to rotate through the ball. This power comes from the upper back not from the lower back and women have an advantage here as most women are more flexible in the hips than are men. However, if you are someone who sits for hours at a desk working, you likely have a very stiff upper back.
Stretching those muscles can really help increase your flexiblity. There are two types of stretches:
- classic – stretch and hold a muscle in its lengthened position for several seconds
- dynamic – move a joint and stretch a muscle through a range of motion
Of the two, dynamic stretching is very important for golfers. When you address the golf ball you are still, but when swinging your golf club you need to have dynamic flexibility.
Your routine does not have to be complex. Perform a simple warm up routine to rotate and flex the upper back, while your hips still, knees are bent and your abs tight. Rotate through the upper back. You can do this using a golf club, beginning with some light easy swings and slowly working your way from the short irons to the driver.
If you discover areas that are tight? Once you are warmed up, give those areas an extra stretch.
Bottom line: warming up before a round of golf is crucial. When your muscles and joints are warmed up the risk of injury is reduced dramatically.
Do you stretch before a round of golf? Do you have a regular routine to increase your flexibility? Add your comment below.