A good golf swing demands flexibility, and the key to increased flexibility is stretching. Last week we began warming your muscles to prepare them for your first week of stretching. This week, we will begin to incorporate cardio conditioning to improve your endurance.
The importance of stretching your muscles cannot be overstated. In addition to preventing injury in the neck, back, shoulders, and lower body, it also improves your overall flexibility, which is key to making a fully extended golf swing.
While it’s true that golf may not require the same level of cardio training as other sports, anyone who has walked 18 holes knows it can be a challenging task. This program is designed to help you build your endurance level and increase your stamina.
Cardio Training for This Week:
Last week, you began your walking cardio program. This week, you will continue on with the goal of improving your distance by at least ¼ mile, or 25%.
During this second week, we are not particularly concerned with time. Take as much as you need. If you need to stop and rest for a bit, do so. If you cannot increase by the full ¼ mile or 25%, just do what you can. Jot down your results in your notebook for each session.
Shoot for at least three walking sessions per week.
Golf Stretching Program
Last week, you spent considerable time warming your muscles. During this second week of fitness training, you will continue with the warm-up exercises and will also add the following.
After completing the warm-up exercises, hold each of the following stretches for 15 seconds, as long as you can do so without pain. Then relax for 5 seconds and repeat for one more set of 15 seconds.
As you become more proficient, the muscle groups you are stretching will feel a bit tight, but should not hurt. If you feel pain, stop the exercise.
For maximum results, perform this routine at least three days per week, or ideally five days.
Shoulder and Chest Stretch
To perform a full golf swing, your shoulders and chest muscles must be limber and agile. This simple exercise can help loosen up the muscles that are seldom used in everyday life, but are essential to a good golf swing.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Put both hands behind your back and interlock your fingers. Slowly, raise your arms as you bend forward. Do not press this one too far. Your ability will increase as you go through the program.
Hold for 15 seconds and lower your arms.
Release your fingers and shake your arms. Repeat.
Shoulder and Arm Stretch
Place your left arm across your chest. Place your right hand on your left elbow, pull your arm toward your chest, and hold. Release and repeat with your right arm across your chest.
One Arm Push Up (Assisted)
With your feet slightly less than shoulder width apart, place one hand on a sturdy wall. Slowly lean toward the wall until your supporting arm is halfway bent.
Hold for 15 seconds and press back up to the starting position.
Repeat 2 more times and then switch arms.
Big Back Stretch
This is an excellent way to loosen up your back muscles.
Begin by kneeling on your mat, and then lower your back until your forehead is on the mat.
Bring both arms out in front of your head.
Slowly, slide your arms forward until you feel the pull in your back and your bottom is resting on your heels.
Once your arms are fully extended, slowly bring them back to your right and left.
Hold and then gradually sit up.
Low Back Stretch
A large number of golfers, both fit and unfit, experience problems with their lower back. Stretching those muscles is a highly effective way to avoid low back pain.
Begin by lying on your back with your left knee pulled up to your chest.
Using your arms, guide your left leg toward your right side and hold, keeping your shoulders down against the mat.
Bring your left leg back to the starting position, slowly lowering it to the floor.
Bring your right leg up and repeat.
Do 10 sets for each side.
Inner Thigh Stretch
Sit on your mat, keeping your back straight, and place your heels together. Using your hands, gently pull your feet back toward you until you feel a stretch in your inner thigh. Hold for 10 seconds and relax.
Do 10 sets.
Standing with a chair to your side, slowly squat down and hold for 5 seconds. Rise and repeat.
Do 10 sets.
Using a chair for balance, stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Lift your right foot and grab it from behind with your right hand. Pull your foot upwards and hold.
Lower the right foot and repeat with the left.
Do 10 sets.
Wrist and Forearm Stretch
This is an easy stretch, but can bring about amazing results when done on a regular basis.
Hold one arm out in front of you. Using your other hand, grab the fingers of the outstretched hand and pull them back. Hold for a count of 5 and release.
When done correctly, you should feel a stretch in your forearm and wrist.
Note: You are not limited to these stretches. If there are others you are familiar with or enjoy, feel free to incorporate them. There are literally hundreds of stretches for every muscle group in your body. The more you do, the more flexible your body will become Remember, a solid golf swing demands flexibility. Muscle suppleness allows you to increase club head speed, which is the key to longer drives and better accuracy.