As with any sport, a warm-up is essential before playing golf. Pre and even post-golf warm-ups can greatly improve your game as well as prevent injuries playing the sport.
Experienced golfers and fitness professionals recommend yoga, stretches, and several warm-up routines that you can practice at home. We have compiled the basics of what you need to know to get started today.
“Yoga is the best warm-up exercise for golfers. Hands-down. It helps with body alignment and helps to prevent injuries. Many famous golfers use YogaForce, including Nate Crosby.”
Anne E. Appleby, Founder and CEO, YogaForce LLC
“Simple arm swings. Swing your arms in front of you and behind your back laterally. During some of the swings, make sure your thumbs are pointing up and also perform swings with your thumbs pointing down.” (Mark Williamson)
“Slowly lower yourself into the squat position while rocking back and forth and then come back up. Tucking and rocking the pelvis. These help to fire up the hips and pelvis.” (Mark Williamson)
“Lift knee to 90-degrees and swing leg from side to side. Do this on both sides. Swing a weighted club (or device such as the Golfers Toolbox or orange whip). Swinging a weighted club/device helps you find rhythm, not speed, so there is no need to swing it quickly. Be sure to swing the weighted club/device both ways.” (Mark Williamson)
“Place your hands on the wall, walk your feet back, press your butt out and work your belly towards the ground. Slowly come back up. Stretching the hamstrings prior to a round is imperative, especially since so many golfers suffer from back pain that originates from tight hamstrings. Use a wall or your golf cart for balance and do a simple figure four stretch. Place your ankle over your knee and drop your butt low. Slowly come back up and do the other side.” (Mark Williamson)
“Place your heel on the ground and your toe on the wall or cart. Bring your chest toward the wall and then release. You should feel a good stretch in the calf while stretching.” (Mark Williamson)
“Grab onto your golf cart with both hands, begin to round into your back and then come back to a neutral position. This is a lot like a standing cat-cow stretch.”
Mark Williamson, Former Professional Golfer turned Golf Fitness Expert The Golf Yogi
“Osteoarthritis is the major cause of joint stiffness as cartilage which connects the bones in joints deteriorates as we grow older, and since there is no cure yet for osteoarthritis, the best we can do right now is to manage it. Low impact exercise will help you manage stiffness and joint pain.
“If you still don’t feel ready to begin a round, there might be other causes for your soreness or stiffness, and you should seek medical advice.”
“Golf is an explosive, rotational based sport that requires optimal mobility. It is important that the golfer incorporates a dynamic warm up prior to golfing in order to prime the nervous system, to make sure that tissues have adequate mobility, and to prepare the body for the golf swing. These warm up options require some room to move around. They include jogging, high knees, butt kicks, skips, cariocas, and lunges with a twist. Most of the rotation in our golf swing should come from our hips and our mid back (thoracic spine). Once you have completed the dynamic warm up, it is important to stretch these areas.” (Jordan Duncan)
“For the hips, a great option is the 90/90 Stretch. Here, you would sit on the floor and orient both your legs on the ground so that your both legs are forming 90-degree angles. One of your lower legs would be in front of your body and your other lower leg would be beside you. The leg in front is the side to be stretched. While keeping your back straight, move your chest toward the leg that is in front of you.” (Jordan Duncan)
“For the mid-back, a great option is called the Open Books Rib Cage Stretch. Lie faceup with your hips and knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Rotate both knees to one side and take the hand on the side of rotation and place it on the top knee. Take your other hand, reach across your body and grasp the downside rib cage. Slowly rotate your torso away from the side of your knees, using the ribcage hand to help and the knee hand to resist lower body rotation.
“In both of these stretches, you would switch legs and stretch the other side.”
Jordan Duncan, the owner of Silverdale Sport & Spine; a sports medicine and fitness clinic
“Golf is a game that requires subtle core strength, thoracic mobility, and good hip and ankle mobility. When any of these motions are limited, the golf swing is affected, and all golfers want to maximize clubhead speed. Here are some warm up exercises to do before you hit the green!” (Lara Heimann)
“Hip hinge: from standing, hinge at your hips, keeping your spine lengthened and chin neutral (don’t look forward as you bend knees). Hinge in hips, bend knees, and sit back into your glutes. Hold your core strong by hugging strongly around the full length of spine. Rise to stand and repeat 10 x. Then go lower by sitting back and touching the floor with fingers to flex more in the ankles. When you rise to stand, lift heels off the floor by pressing your toe mounds into the floor. This move is called “triple flexion” ( flexion at hips, knees and ankles) to “triple extension” ( extension in ankles, knees, and hips). Repeat for 2 minutes.” (Lara Heimann)
“Come on to all fours on the floor, wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Place the right hand behind the skull, press the left hand into the floor, and rotate through the spine and ribs as you turn to the right. Return to the starting position and repeat 15 x. Perform on the other side and hold core engagement to control the pelvis and low back from moving.” (Lara Heimann)
“Bring forearms and toes on the floor, make a straight line with your spine, skull, and pelvis. Hold for 15 seconds and then begin to turn the pelvis left and right, holding the front body tight to avoid any back sagging. This move fires up the whole core and adds some twists to prepare the body for rotation in your swing.” (Lara Heimann)
“Lie on your back with your feet on the floor. Keep the spine long and lift hips off the floor, staying low to activate glutes and to keep the low back long. Stay in bridge and bring your hands up like you were holding a tray over your chest. Grab your left fingers at the base with your right hand and pull back to stretch your left wrist. Hold for 10-15 seconds and switch hands. While you are working your core to hold in bridge, you also get a great wrist stretch to prepare you to hold the club with more balance in your grip.”
Lara Heimann is a Physical Therapist and movement specialist that works with professional golfers to help them maximize their movement and game.