Whether you’re a novice or seasoned expert, it is good practice to loosen up before enjoying a session, to avoid injuries and play a more assured game. Muscles need to be strong and flexible, to deal with the variety of shot types and playing environments that the game can demand. The sport requires poise, balance and hand-eye coordination. Only by warming up correctly and focusing on the game ahead will you really develop these skills over time.
From the hamstrings to the hands, playing golf requires strength from a number of key areas. Here are some of the muscle groups you should be looking to warm up before taking to the course or driving range …
- Shoulder joints and arm muscles — With its emphasis on big swinging, golf places a large amount of stress on the shoulder joints and arm muscles. As a result, it’s important you don’t end up damaging these areas by launching straight into playing shots. It’s essential to warm up beforehand, perhaps conducting gentle arm circles and hand rotations to loosen muscles and get blood moving around your upper-body.
- Hamstrings and lower-back muscles — Hamstring muscles and the lower-back are vital in setting up your posture and swing. It’s obviously vital they are properly warmed up before you take to the course. A light jog will loosen up these muscles and you may later wish to touch your toes a few times to gently stretch them.
- Core muscles — Developing core stability is vital if you want to hit the ball harder, without overstretching on your swing. As a result, it’s really important to warm up the core muscles in your abdominal area (including hip flexors and glutes) before you take to the golf course. This doesn’t have to involve too much effort. For example, twisting your abdomen and rotating your hips are both supple warm-up exercises to try.
- Groin muscles — Along with the hamstrings, it’s vital you warm up your groin before trying any exercise. The groin muscles need to be flexible in order for you to bend into your swing. If these muscles are cold when you try and stretch them, you will seriously increase your chances of straining the groin, which could prove painful in the long-run.
- Quadriceps — The quads (upper thighs) work in conjunction with the knees to create the required momentum for a decent golf swing. Because of this, it’s vital you properly warm up your quads before even thinking about taking that first swing. Again, a light jog or some jumps should supply them with the blood they require to perform well.
It’s incredibly important to warm up correctly, no matter whether you’re planning to play for a quick half-hour at the driving range or embark on a full afternoon’s play. Warming up properly is the number one way of avoiding injury. It’s easy, effective and doesn’t require much effort.