Tip #14: Golf Stretching Routine

Stretching techniques can range from ballistic or dynamic range ofmotion to static stretching, active isolated stretching, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) techniques, just to name a few. Don't let the long names intimidate you, because we recommend beginning with some simple static stretches and gradually progressing to more golf-specific flexibility exercises.

Let's begin with some basic recommendations for safely improving your joint flexibility:

  • Know your anatomy and its limitations.
  • Learn proper stretching techniques.
  • Warm up to increase your body's temperature before stretching. Stretching after activity is more effective because the muscles are warm. Stretching also enhances the relaxing effect of the cool-down.
  • A simple way to stretch is do an easy stretch for 10 seconds and an additional developmental stretch for 10 seconds.
  • If possible, stretch with a partner to avoid boredom. This permits both encouragement and supervision of your technique.
  • Stretch when you feel that you have to stretch. This can be done in between strengthening exercises or during your golf game.

Before playing or stretching, do an adequate warm-up activity to raisey our body temperature. Preceding your stretches with a brisk walk orother appropriate aerobic exercise, such as stationary cycling or stepping, makes your muscles more responsive and resistant to injury. Five to 15 minutes of warm-up exercise increases muscle extensibility and lets you stretch more safely and effectively.

To achieve the best stretch possible, make certain either the near or far body segment is in a fixed position. If this does not occur, the result will be two moving parts and a stretch possibly occurring where it should not occur. When you perform your flexibility exercises, be sure to stretch only one muscle group at a time.


Knee To Chest

Focus: Lower back and gluteal muscles

Procedure:

  • Lie on your back with your neck supported and body extended.
  • Flex one knee and slide your foot toward your buttocks.
  • Grasp with both hands behind the flexed knee.
  • Pull your knee toward your chest.
  • Hold the stretch and relax.
  • Exhale and re-extend your leg slowly to prevent possible pain or spasm; repeat with other leg.

Duration: Hold for 20 seconds or 2 X 10 to 12 seconds.


Double Knees To Chest

Focus: Lower back

Procedure:

  • Lie on your back with your neck supported and body extended.
  • Flex your knees and slide your feet toward your buttocks.
  • Grasp behind your thighs to prevent hyperflexion (too much bending) of the knees.
  • Exhale, pull your knees toward your chest and shoulders, andelevate your hips off the floor.
  • Hold the stretch and relax.
  • Exhale and re-extend your legs slowly one at a time to prevent possible pain or spasm.

Duration: Hold for 20 seconds or 2 X 10 to 12 seconds.


Cat and Camel

Focus: Upper back

Procedure:

  • Kneel on all fours.
  • Extend your arms forward and lower your chest toward the floor.
  • Exhale, extend your shoulders, and press down on the floor with your arms to produce an arch in your back.
  • Hold the stretch and relax.

Duration: Hold for 20 seconds or 2 X 10 to 12 seconds.


Hamstring

Focus: Hamstrings

Procedure:

  • Lie flat on your back with legs extended.
  • Raise one leg and grasp your thigh with both hands, while keeping the knee extended and your other leg flat. To increase the stretch, pull the leg toward your chest.
  • Hold the stretch and relax.
  • Exhale while you slowly release the stretch and repeat with the other leg.

Duration: Hold for 20 seconds or 2 X 10 to 12 seconds.

Tips:

You can also position yourself in a doorway and use the door frame to hold your elevated leg. The closer you move your buttockstoward the door frame, the more intense the stretch.

To intensify the stretch, use a folded towel wrapped around the footof the raised leg. By pulling on the towel, the leg can be pulled away from the doorframe and closer to your chest.


Figure Four

Focus: Hips and gluteal muscles

Procedure:

  • Lie on your back with both feet resting on the wall or a door. Use a towel or neck rest to support your neck.
  • Bend your knees and hips to a 90-degree angle.
  • Cross your left foot and rest it on your right knee.
  • Use your left hand and push your left knee away from your chest until you feel a gentle stretch in your hips or buttocks region.
  • Return to starting position. Repeat with the other leg.

Duration: Hold for 20 seconds or 2 X 10 to 12 seconds.

Tip: If you do not feel the stretch, place both hands under your right knee and slowly pull your right leg toward your chest until you feel a stretch in your buttocks.


Crossover

Focus: Hips and gluteal muscles

Procedure:

  • Lie on your back with your head supported by a rolled-up towel.
  • Place both feet flat on a wall, with your hips and knees bent to 90 degrees.
  • Cross your left leg over your right thigh.
  • Place your right hand on your left thigh and pull it slowly toward the floor, until you feel a stretch on the outside of your left hip.

Duration: Hold for 20 seconds each leg.

Tip: Stop if you feel pinching in the groin region.


Kneeling Hip Flexor

Focus: Hip flexors and upper thigh

Procedure:

  • Stand upright with the legs straddled (spread sideways) about two feet apart.
  • Flex one knee, lower your body, and place the opposite knee on the surface.
  • Roll the back foot under so that the top of the instep rests on thesurface.
  • Place your hands on your hips (some people may prefer placing one hand on the forward knee and one hand at your side) and keep the front knee bent at 90 degrees as much as possible.
  • Exhale and slowly push the front of the hip of the back leg toward the floor.
  • Hold the stretch and relax.

Duration: Hold for 20 seconds or 2 X 10 to 12 seconds.


Quad Stretch

Focus: Middle and upper quadriceps

Procedure:

  • Stand holding onto a bar or table for support with your right hand.
  • Exhale as you slowly lift your left leg off the ground and grasp the left foot with your left hand.
  • Inhale, and slowly pull your heel toward your buttocks.
  • Hold the stretch and relax. Repeat with the other leg.

Duration: Hold for 20 seconds or 2 X 10 to 12 seconds.

Tip: This exercise can be an intense stretch. To protect your lower back, stand straight and contract the abdominal muscles.


Pec Stretch

Focus: Upper chest (pectoralis muscles)

Procedure:

  • Stand upright facing a comer or open doorway.
  • Raise your elbows to shoulder height at your sides, bend your elbows so that your forearms point straight up, and place your palms against the walls or doorframe to stretch the sternal sectionof the pectoralis muscles on both sides.
  • Exhale and lean your entire body forward.
  • Hold the stretch and relax.

Duration: Hold for 20 seconds or 2 X 10 to 12 seconds.


Inverted Hurdler's Stretch

Focus: Hamstrings

Procedure:

  • Sit upright on the floor with both legs straight and about 90 degrees apart.
  • Flex one knee and slide the heel until it touches the inner side of the opposite thigh.
  • Lower the outer side of the thigh and calf of the bent leg onto the floor.
  • Exhale and, while keeping the extended leg straight, bend at the hip and lower your extended upper torso onto the extended thigh.
  • Hold the stretch and relax.

Duration: Hold for 20 seconds or 2 X 10 to 12 seconds.


Calf Stretch

Focus: Gastrocnemius muscle and Achilles tendon

Procedure:

  • Stand upright facing a wall; stand slightly more than arm's length from the wall.
  • Bend your right leg forward while keeping your left leg straight.
  • Lean into the wall keeping back straight and bending elbows.
  • Exhale and hold stretch; repeat with other leg.

Duration: Hold for 20 seconds or 2 X 10 to 12 seconds.

Tip: To feel the stretch closer to the heel, bend the rear leg (at the knee) while keeping the foot on the ground.


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