Health And Exercise: Easy And Effective Golf Stretching Exercises

Here are a few great stretches to warm up the body before a round of golf.

Golf appeals to people of all ages and athletic abilities; young and old, men and women, countless people find their way to the driving range and golf course year-round. Because they consider it a recreational pastime, though, many golfers never stop to stretch and warm up before heading out onto the first fairway. Still, as with any physical exertion, golf involves repeated muscular motions, and all golfers, from beginners to the most advanced, will benefit from performing a series of targeted stretches before they beginning their next round.

The average golf swing takes the arms and torso through an extended range of motion, requiring both strength and flexibility. The rotation of the torso can put stress on the spine, particularly for those golfers who are new to the sport and have some imperfections in their swings. Walk the 18-hole course instead of using a cart, and golf provides quite a nice four-hour moderate workout!

The following stretches will warm up the muscles for general exercise, but focus on specific movements that will provide the most preparation for the repetitive movements of a golf game.

Side Bend. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees soft. Raise your right arm overhead and, hinging at the waist, bend your torso to the left. Reach your arm out, keeping it close to your ear. You will feel a stretch along the right side of your torso. Hold the stretch for thirty seconds, then repeat to the other side.

Iliotibial (IT) Band Stretch. Sit on the floor with legs straight out in front of you. Bend right knee and cross right leg over left, placing sole of foot flat on floor outside left knee. Twist your torso to the right, placing your right hand behind you for stability, and cross your left arm over bent right leg, so that your left elbow helps to push your torso away from the right leg and farther into the twist. This stretches the muscle that runs from the hip to the knee, and is often tight, so only go as far as is comfortable. Hold the stretch for thirty seconds, and switch sides.

Hamstring Stretch. Sit with legs straight out in front of you, feet flexed. Hinge at the waist and lean forward as far as is comfortable, placing your hands on knees, shins, or around feet if you can reach. You should feel the stretch in your hamstrings (the back of your upper legs). Hold for thirty seconds.

Torso Rotation. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees soft. Place a three- or four-iron along your upper back, below your neck but above your shoulder blades; hold it there with your hands near the ends. Moving only from the waist upward, slowly twist your torso to the right until you feel a stretch along your left side and in your lower back. Make sure hips remain facing forward. Hold for thirty seconds, then repeat to the left.

Shoulder Stretch. Hold your club out in front of you with hands crossed. Grip the club with right arm over left arm, right palm facing up, left palm facing down. Press the club upward with the left hand while pressing downward with the right. You should feel the stretch across your upper back and in your shoulders. Hold for thirty seconds, then switch arm configuration and repeat to the other side.

Quadriceps Stretch. Stand with feet slightly less than hip-width apart. Place the head of your club on the floor and hold onto the grip with your left hand for balance. Bend your right knee, raising your foot behind you, and grab your foot with your right hand. Press your foot toward your buttocks until you feel the stretch in the front thigh. Do not let knee move forward - keep foot and knee moving back. Hold for thirty seconds, then switch sides.

After performing all these stretches, you should be warmed up and ready to play. After your round, repeat the stretches for any areas that are starting to feel sore or stiff. Enjoy your game!

© High Speed Ventures 2011