Flexibility is one of the most important factors in making a successful golfer. Stiff shoulders, tight hips, and stubborn hamstrings inhibit achieving the ideal swing. Lack of flexibility can also limit your distance off the tee. Power comes from strength but also flexibility since it allows you to use a full range of motion in the movement.
The stronger and more flexible you are throughout your swing, the straighter and farther your ball will fly!
When golfing, many muscles are used, especially core muscles, which are often neglected when strength training. Hamstrings help maintain proper posture and quads help flex knees. When swinging, upper back and shoulder muscles are used.
In the video below I demonstrate three exercises and three dynamic stretches that will have you swinging and hitting the ball better.
Side Plank with Rotation
Lay on your right side, elbow under your shoulder and feet stacked on top of each other. Lift your hips up off the ground. Brace your abs and reach your left hand toward the ceiling. Slowly tuck your left arm under your body and twist forward until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Return to the side plank and repeat. After 10 reps, switch sides.
Benefits: Strengthens obliques. Challenges joint stability through range of motion.
Stand with your feet spread slightly wider than the shoulders. Shift your hips to the right and down by bending your right knee and keeping your left leg straight. Your feet should be pointing straight ahead and flat on the ground. Push through the right hip, returning to the starting position. Then shift your hips to the left and repeat the exercise in the other direction. Be sure to keep your knee on the squat side behind your toes, your back flat and your chest up.
Benefit: Stretches the hip adductors (inside of the thigh), glutes, groin, hamstrings and strengthens the quads.
1-Leg Romanian Deadlift
Stand on one leg holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Your leg should be in a fixed position but not locked at the knee. Shift your hips back, keeping your back straight, shoulder blades back and down. Fire your hamstrings and glutes as you return to an upright position. Keep the dumbbells close to your body, almost touching your leg throughout the movement. Repeat 10 times per side, then switch legs.
Benefit: Strengthens the glutes, hamstrings and, to a lesser degree, the lower back and core.
Shoulder-Chest Stretch with Spinal Rotation
Stand upright with feet shoulder distance apart. Hold golf club horizontally in front of you, with a wide grip, palms facing down. Keeping your arms straight, raise the club above and over your head. Keep moving your arms back until you feel a comfortable stretch in shoulders and chest. Hold and rotate your torso gently to the left and right.
Benefit: Increases flexibility in shoulders and chest
Bent-over Row with Rotation
Stand with feet shoulder distance apart and hold the golf club horizontally in your hands (overhand grip). Bend forward at waist, slightly bending knees. Pull right arm toward rib cage while rotating your torso as far as possible to the right. Pause, then pull up left arm and rotating left. Perform 2 to 4 sets of eight reps.
Benefit: Improves core strength and the ability to activate the obliques.
Front and Side Leg Swing
Stand tall with feet shoulder distance apart. Hold a golf club in right hand for balance and swing left leg forward as far as possible, then backward as far as possible. Perform a set of 8 reps for each leg. Then, take a narrower stance and swing leg out to the side. Perform one set of 8 reps for each leg.
Benefit: Increases mobility in the hips.
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