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The golf swing is a complex 3D movement that requires some mobility in certain areas such as the thoracic spine, hips, ankles and shoulders, some core/lumbopelvic and scapular stability and, some strength and power.
During the warm-up, you want to focus on maximising your mobility to get adequate rotation and activating your muscles to prevent any muscle strains and optimise your ability to create your best body-swing connection.
Each exercise that you perform during your warm-up gives you an opportunity to work on your posture using your breathing and by activating your core and stabiliser muscles. These muscles are very important to maintain good posture during the golf swing and therefore, have a more efficient and consistent swing.
The golf swing being a high velocity movement, you want to make sure that you prepare your body before you hit your first golf shot. Going through a variety of exercises focusing on adequate movement patterns and finishing with faster movements will help you achieve optimal golf swing sequence and prevent you from injuring yourself.
While performing your warm-up exercises, you may notice some tensions in some areas more than others so it is the perfect time to work on them before you go and tee off. Be kind to your body, listen to it and prepare it before swinging your golf club to prevent injuries that would potentially keep you away from the golf course.
Here is a series of exercises that you can perform on the range with minimal equipment - all you need is a theraband (light/medium resistance), a miniband (medium resistance) and a golf club.
Lunge with side flexion to trunk rotation – 3 reps each side
a. Go into a lunge keeping your posture. Sidebend reaching up to the sky to stretch the side of your body. Take a couple of breaths then lower your arms down in front of you and turn your body to the side while maintaining your knee with your hand to get more range of motion.
b. The aim of this exercise is to stretch the side of your body, the front of your shoulders, your hip flexors and work on the upper/lower body dissociation which will give you more rotation into your golf swing.
Squat with trunk rotation – 3 reps each side
a. Go into a deep squat, place your hands on your feet then lift one arm up and turn your chest while breathing in and looking up to your hand. Return to the starting position and alternate side.
b. The aim of this exercise is to improve your thoracic spine extension/rotation while working on your hip, knee and ankle mobility.
Arms circles with TheraBand in golf posture – 10 reps each direction
a. Go into your golf posture and place a TheraBand behind your upper back. Set your shoulder blades slightly back, pull on the TheraBand with both hands then draw circles one way then the other way while maintaining the tension on the TheraBand and your shoulder blades in neutral.
b. The aim of this exercise is to activate your scapula/shoulder stabiliser muscles and maintain good body alignment
Shoulder flexion with TheraBand – 8 reps each side
a. Step on the TheraBand with one foot, stand tall and pull the band up while maintaining your wrist in neutral throughout the movement.
b. The aim of this exercise is to activate your scapula/shoulder and forearm muscles and maintain posture.
Sidelunge with trunk rotation to single leg balance – 5 reps each side
a. Do a side lunge and trunk rotation as you load your leg then push up to a single leg balance.
b. The aim of this exercise is to activate your glutes, work on your upper/lower body dissociation and lateral weight transfer.
Resisted lateral walk with miniband – 10 steps in each direction
a. Place a miniband above your knees and stand into your golf posture. Take lateral steps in each direction while maintaining the band taut throughout the entire exercise by pushing your knees out.
b. The aim of this exercise is to activate your glutes and work on the lateral weight shift.
Single leg deadlift with airplane – 5 reps each side
a. Stand on one leg, perform a single leg deadlift using a club for balance then turn your body over your hip and come back to neutral.
b. The aim of this exercise is to activate your glutes and work on balance.
Golf posture load/explode with club in front of you – 5 reps each side
a. Load your back leg/glutes and push into the ground to generate power as you transfer your weight onto the other leg. Perform this exercise fast. Speed up the movement as you go to reach the speed of your golf swing.
b. The aim of this exercise is to work on weight transfer and generation of force from the ground up which will make you hit the ball longer.
Words & Photos by Anne-Lise Bidou – LPGA Tour Physiotherapist