My passion in life is fitness, but golf is a close second. I picked up the game at the ripe old age of two! I started lifting weights for sports performance at age 12, but it took the last 17 years living my passion as a fitness professional to figure out the most important component to improve my golf mechanics – flexibility!
For a lot of us fitness fanatics who love to put our bodies through energizing, blood pumping, heart pounding workouts, stretching is like flossing: we know it is good for us and we should do it consistently, but it’s often forgotten. My opinion about why we don’t stretch enough is the lack of instant gratification, which our society can’t seem to live without. With resistance training, we feel the pump, the effort exerted and we have that sadistic soreness the next day, which tells us we actually worked something. With cardio, we feel the heart instantly pump harder, our breathing picks up and we start sweating within minutes. With stretching, well – it’s just not sexy! But maybe if you and your clients are armed with reasons why it will improve your golf swing, you’ll give it a shot and make it a regular part of your workouts.
Look at the pros. Some are strong and it’s apparent they work out; but the majority is of normal strength. And then there are plenty of guys and gals who can hit the ball 300+ yards who, if not for their golf spikes, might be blown away by a heavy gust of wind! However, they ALL are extremely flexible and have good timing – two components that are highly correlated and essential for solid golf swing mechanics.
Case in point: Tiger Woods. He has put on 30 pounds of muscles since he left Stanford; however, his previous swing coach, Butch Harmon, stated, “… [Tiger Woods] hit it farther when he was wiry…” In addition, Tiger’s physical therapist, Keith Kleven divulged that Tiger’s golf and workout sessions begin with 40 minutes of stretching and core work. Kleven has also been recommending Pilates to golfers since 1975, before the mind/body practice became mainstream in the fitness world. Good Pilates repertoire usually consists of an equal amount of lengthening and strengthening the muscles, and of course, core work.
So, if you love golf but still like to strength train like I do, just remember the flexibility component. Be sure to use a lengthy rest time between sets to stretch the muscle you just worked. I like to use Total Gym GTS for this purpose. Here are a few stretches I like to do:
And finally, I LOVE the leg pulleys for opening up the hamstrings and hips (and as you can see, I can slip in some abs while stretching!). If you don’t own leg pulleys, buy them! It’s an investment your hamstrings, hips AND your golf swing will LOVE.
And for best results on the course, make sure you take some time to stretch your hips, shoulders and spine. You’ll get more distance, improve your accuracy and prevent injury.
Hit em’ straight!