5-minute Pre-round Golf Stretching Routine
By Nick Altman
A big part of performance in golf is about being able to move your muscles fluidly and quickly in a repeatable way. The golf swing is an athletic motion that uses muscles throughout the body, most notably a rotation of the upper torso on top of a fairly stable but rotating lower body. We need to have flexibility, strength, and speed in our shoulders and upper spine, our glutes and hips, our core to make powerful and repeatable swings. So, in order to get peak performance from our golf game, we need to be able prime these muscles and joints dynamically in a pre-round stretching routine, meaning moving the muscles in certain ways that promote blood flow and get them ready for the motions that they will be making over the course of eighteen holes.
Here are some quick exercises from the Titleist Performance Institute that will get you ready and warmed up in five minutes. These exercises for golfers are meant to be performed before you start hitting balls on the range and head to the first tee.
Leg, Hip and Glute Golf Stretches
To warm up the legs, hips and glutes, I recommend two pre-round exercises. First, I recommend leg swings. Stand on one leg, holding a club on the ground for support if needed, swing your leg first back and forth straight in front of you and then behind you. You are warming up the hip, so try not to bend the knee to help the swing. Do at least eight full swings back and forth. Then with the same leg, make swinging motions side to side, so that the leg is swinging across your body and then out away from you. Perform eight side to side swings and then switch to your other leg.
The second warm up exercise I recommend is to perform eight standing body weight squats. To do a squat, stand with feet shoulder width apart, keep your head up, and flex your hips and knees as you sit back and down into your heels. You should try for a ninety degree angle or lower between your lower and upper legs at the bottom of the squat, but do not allow the knees to move forward of the toes. Hold for about a second at the bottom and then return to the starting position. The squat will warm up your glute muscles, which have been referred to as the king of the golf swing.
Upper Body Golf Stretch
To get your upper body primed for rotation, hold a club in both hands extended away from you so that the shaft is parallel to the ground. Start rotating the shoulders and upper spine 90 degrees to the right and then 90 degrees to the left. Start slowly and then work up to some speed. Perform eight to ten complete turns. Try to keep your hips and lower body as stable as possible as your turn the upper body. After that, we will perform eight to ten more turns going each way, but this time allowing your legs and hips to rotate as well. You should be doing these turns explosively as you would be when you hit a golf ball. In this way, you are priming those muscles to move similarly to how they move when you are playing. Make sure to turn both ways so that you balance your warm up across all muscles.
After doing these few quick dynamic movements, your body should feel loose and ready to hit some golf balls. I hope this helps for a great round the next time you play!
Interested in more golf stretches and exercises? Or do you experience lower back pain as a result of an improper golf swing? Here’s a video with an exercise that may help correct it.
Nick Altman is a PGA Professional and instructor at Golf Academy of America in San Diego.