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We hope that your summer is off to a great start. We know that many of our patients enjoy golfing over the summer. Whether you are just starting out or golf regularly this edition of our newsletter is designed to keep you in the game injury free.

In the past month we have added over 20 new articles to our website including these new patient guides:

Enjoying Golf

Getting ready for a game of golf?

Before you head out to the green, here is some advice to prepare yourself properly before you start playing as well as to properly cool yourself down when you finish the 9 or 18 holes ahead. 

By doing a good warm up and cool down you can ensure that you not only play your best game, but also avoid any post game injury or soreness, and that you have a fun and safe golfing experience.

Let’s walk through the main points that you need to consider before you begin your game:
Perform a Light Warm-Up

A light but sufficient warm-up is essential.
Some people may think they don’t need to warm up since they aren’t doing ‘intense’ exercise when they’re playing golf; this just isn’t the case. While golf may not be a very intense sport in terms of getting your heart rate up, when you swing the club with a high degree of speed and strength, you are creating a very rapid contraction in the muscles – a contraction that could result in injuries if the muscles are tight and cold. In addition to the stress on the muscles, the joints are being swung and forced quickly into their maximum ranges of motion. Without an adequate warm up to the muscles, joints and their associated tissues, a single tee off could result in a debilitating injury and send you straight back to the clubhouse.

For the light warm-up, you should do some brisk walking, marching in place, or some other form of light cardiovascular exercise for 5-10 minutes to get the blood flowing.  Once your muscles are warm and relaxed it’s time for stretching.

Stretch the Muscles you’re About to Use
A proper pre-round stretching program, such as the one listed below, will take about 15 minutes to complete.  This time also doubles as mental preparation time for your game.  Golf is a dynamic sport so you'll need to do a dynamic stretching warm-up and save your static stretching for after the  game.  Dynamic stretches (active movements) form part of your pre-round warm-up and can be used during the round itself. They are used to prepare your muscles for the rapid shortening and elongation they will incur as you golf.  Static stretches (long steady holds), on the other hand, are more useful to improve your overall flexibility and are most effectively done at the end of your golf round as part of your cool down.

How to do dynamic stretching:
While your muscles are warm, start moving your limbs and torso through your range of movement, keeping momentum under control, never “flinging” or “throwing” your body parts around.  You may feel light resistance in your muscles, but you should never feel pain during a stretch.
Start with slow, low intensity movements, and gradually progress to full-speed movements through full range of motion. Complete several repetitions of each of the motions below (10-15 times).

  • Arm Swings and Circles - Starting with your arms wide; begin by crossing your arms over your chest and opening them wide again for 10-15 repetitions.  Then try swinging your arms in small circles gradually making the circles larger and larger. Don’t forget to swing your arms both forwards and backwards.
  • Leg Swings - Repeatedly swing your leg forward as if kicking a ball and then back behind you. Don’t allow your back to arch.   Hang onto something for balance if needed. Next swing your leg wide to the side and then across in front of your other leg for 10-15 repetitions. Switch legs and repeat!
  • Torso Rotations and Side Bends - With your arms crossed over your chest, turn your torso left and right keeping your hips relatively still. Gently increase the speed and range. After a few repetitions allow your hips to start to move as you rotate, and try to simulate your golfing motion with your torso while keeping your arms gently crossed over your chest.  Next, relax your arms at your sides and bend your torso sideways to the left and right as if sliding your hand toward your knee along the outside of your leg. Do 10 repetitions or more to each side.
  • Neck rotations - Looking forward, gently turn your head left and right as if saying “no”.  Then roll your chin forward towards your chest and repeat the left and right turns 10 times to each side.
  • Mini Squats - With feet hip width apart and arms outstretched in front, bend as if trying to sit in a chair without using your arms for support.  Return to standing and repeat.  Start with a small bend and gradually increase the depth to “chair height” if you can, without letting your knees pass your toes.

Finish your warm up with simulated quick golf movements such as full practice swings and simulated forward bending as if reaching for the ball.  Repeat for several repetitions (8-10 times). Driving range practice should occur after your dynamic stretching routine and right before you start your round.

Cool Down
Following your game, before heading to the 19th hole, you should stretch in order to prevent muscle aches and pains, as well as to work on any flexibility issues you may individually have.

Static, rather than dynamic stretches are best following your golf round. Be sure to stretch while your muscles are still warm from the game.

How to do static stretching:
Static stretches, as opposed to dynamic stretches, slowly take your muscles to the end of their range of motion and hold it there rather than quickly moving them in and out of that position. You will feel slight resistance in the muscle as you stretch it but you should never feel pain during a stretch.  Once at the end of the muscle’s range of motion hold the static position, do not bounce. Maintain this stretch position for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3-4 times on each side or more if you are particularly tight in one area.

  • Wrist Extensors - With your palm down and your elbow straight bend your wrist (with the other hand) towards the ground until you feel a stretch on the back of your forearm. Hold this position then switch and do it on the other arm.
  • Wrist Flexors - With your palm up and your elbow straight bend your wrist (with the other hand) towards the ground until you feel a stretch on the front of your forearm. Hold this position then switch and do on the other arm.
  • Posterior Shoulder Stretch - Reach your arm across your chest and with the other hand push above your elbow so that your upper arm is squished in tight towards your chest. You should feel a stretch in the back of your shoulder. Move your arm up and down until you feel the position where there is the most stretch; hold this position then switch and try it on the other shoulder.
  • Anterior Shoulder Stretch- Clasp your hands together behind your back and keep them down low near your buttocks. Press your shoulders back while pushing your chest forward. You should feel a stretch in the front part of your shoulders. Hold this position.
  • Hamstrings Stretch- While standing put one leg out in front with the leg resting on the heel and your toes pointing up. Keep the leg that is out in front mostly straight (keep the knee just a bit soft, not locked) while bending the other knee. Bend forward a bit at your hips while pushing your buttocks backwards and mildly arching your back. You should feel a stretch at the back of the straight leg. Hold onto something if necessary to maintain your balance. Hold the stretch on one side then switch and stretch on the other.
  • Quadriceps Stretch- While standing (hold onto something if necessary) bend one knee and grasp the ankle with your hand on that same side.  Put this knee beside or slightly behind your other knee. Keep your hips level. Push your heel into your buttocks while simultaneously tightening your buttocks on that same side. You should feel a stretch on the front part of your thigh.  Hold this position and then switch to stretch the other side.
  • Hip Flexor Stretch- While standing with your hands on your hips, take one large step forward. Slightly bend the knee that is in front while keeping the back knee straight. Keep both feet flat on the ground.  While keeping your torso up straight gently glide your back hip forwards until you feel a mild stretch in the front part of that same hip. Hold this stretch then switch and do the same thing on the other side.
  • Groin Stretch- While standing with your hands on your hips take one large step sideways. Bend slightly the knee of the leg you have taken the step with while keeping the other leg straight.  Keep both feet and your torso facing forwards.  Maintaining this position glide your hips towards the side of your bent leg.  You should feel a stretch on the inside area of your straight leg.  Hold this stretch then switch and do the same thing on the other side.
  • Calf Stretch- While standing with your hands on your hips, take a large step back with one leg and ensure both feet are directly facing forwards.  Keep the knee straight on your back leg and bend slightly the knee of your front leg. Glide your hips forward a bit while keeping both heels on the ground. You should feel a stretch in the back part of your lower leg as you do this. To stretch the second muscle in the calf stay in the same position but slightly bend the back leg so both knees are bent and continue to glide your hips forward. You should feel a stretch lower down the back part of your back leg.  Hold the stretch then switch and repeat on the other side.

An adequate warm up and cool down for golf can mean the difference between a good game and a great game so next time you are heading out to the greens, don’t forget to factor in enough extra time for you to both prepare and cool down your body; your muscles, joints and score card will thank you for it!

Learn more by visiting our online patient resource for golf.

Copyright (2015) Stellar Physical Therapy. All rights reserved.
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