Rockliffe Hall's Wellbeing Manager, Peter Bell puts together his top tips for warming up when playing golf.

Studies in the UK have demonstrated that recreational golfer’s are not warming up effectively. Golfers tend to go through air swings as opposed to more specific stretches.

In other sports people warm their bodies up in preparation for the activity ahead without even thinking about it or questioning why they are doing so. What golfers tend to forget is that the golf swing is deemed the most complex movement in sport by experts. Golf is similar to sprinting in that it is a very explosive action, which culminates a lot of force travelling through the body over a very short period of time.Yet despite the similarities you would not see a sprinter roll out onto the track and try to compete, without performing an appropriate warm up routine.

In golf their seems to be a stigma attached to warming up and stretching properly on the range or prior to teeing off, it is certainly time to change the embarrassed culture that exists in the sport of golf when it comes to warming up prior to performance. Without warming up, you are not only sacrificing distance and feel from that first tee shot, but you are significantly increasing the risk of injury.

Why warm up?

  • Warming up prepares the body for the stress ahead when executing the golf swing. Golf is a rotation sport, because of the complex rotational movements involved throughout the joint chain, it is absolutely critical to warm up.
  • Blood flow increases to the muscles, warming the muscles up and making them more pliable, and resilient to forces placed upon them.
  • Joints become lubricated and looser, which help increase the range of movement.
  • Endorphins are released, which help relax the body, (reducing stiffness) and mind (reduce a tense mind)

Increasing Mobility and Flexibility

It is crucial to increase mobility and flexibility to avoid injury and maximise your swing range of motion, it is important to go through golf-specific mobility drills in a graded, careful controlled manner, before doing it in a fast explosive manner.

Recommended warm up: 10 minutes

Carry out a brisk walk, (with a good swinging arm motion, this is a great mobiliser for the middle of the spine) for a couple of hundred metres, this encourages blood flow throughout the body, increasing your heart rate and breathing gradually.

Carry out dynamic stretches (see below), these are stretches you are not holding for a prolonged period of time, but stretches you hold for a short period of time and move with repetition.

Go through the air swing in a graded fashion, for example, 5 gentle swings, holding the end range of movement for 2 seconds, 5 moderate swings, 5 explosive swings.

If you experience any pain or discmofort when trying the below warm up exercises, please be sure to stop.

Warm up 1: Hip flexor

Stand in a wide split stance position.
Rearfoot on your forefoot.
Tilt the pelvis backwards.
Bend the front knee forward, feeling the pull on the front of the thigh of the back leg.
Hold for 2 seconds, return to the start position
Carry out 2 x 8 reps

Warm up 2: Back release

Stand in a shoulder width stance.
Hold onto the buggy/object
Keep the arms outstretched up and forward
Move into a ¼ squat position and feel the release in the side of the back
Hold for 2 seconds, return to the start position
Carry out 2 x 8 reps

Warm up 3: Rotation 1

Stand in a shoulder width stance.
Move into the start position preparing for the golf swing.
Hold onto the golf club, keeping the arms wide.
Rotate one direction, hold at the end range for 2 secs, repeat on the opposite side.
Carry out 2 x 8 reps, each side.

Warm up 4: Rotation 2

Stand in a split stance.
Keep the arms forward, holding the club above the head.
Rotate in the direction of the outstretched leg forward, hold for 2 seconds, return to the start position.
Repeat on the opposite side.
Carry out 2 x 8 reps, each side.

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