Be­fore swing­ing a club, stretch with Golf Warmup

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - MATT PARROTT Ron­nie Stone Matt Parrott has a doc­tor­ate in ed­u­ca­tion (sport stud­ies) and a master’s in ki­ne­si­ol­ogy and is cer­ti­fied by the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Sports Medicine. vball­top@aol.com

As we roll into the meat of the sum­mer, many Arkansans are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the state’s beau­ti­ful golf courses. From Jones­boro and Hot Springs to Fayet­teville and Lit­tle Rock, amaz­ing golf venues dot the land­scape of The Nat­u­ral State. This week, I’ll pro­vide a few tips on per­form­ing a proper golf warmup.

Warm­ing up will not only min­i­mize the risk for in­jury but lower your score.

John Daly once said, “There are a few things I could prob­a­bly do to keep my flex­i­bil­ity up, but I’d rather smoke, drink and drink Diet Cokes.”

While some might ar­gue that phi­los­o­phy has served him well, most would agree that a com­pre­hen­sive phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity pro­gram im­proves golf per­for­mance.

Golf-spe­cific ex­er­cise should be­gin with two pri­mary goals, to in­crease core strength and joint flex­i­bil­ity.

A pow­er­ful swing is gen­er­ated by twist­ing the shoul­ders in re­la­tion­ship to the hips, thus gen­er­at­ing the torque re­quired to send the ball down the fair­way. The lower back, shoul­ders and hips need to be flex­i­ble to get into the right po­si­tions, and the core mus­cles must gen­er­ate the sta­bil­ity and speed.

I rec­og­nize that most am­a­teurs prob­a­bly aren’t go­ing to spend the time or ef­fort to do golf-spe­cific train­ing year­round, but there’s no rea­son that a pre-round warmup shouldn’t be­come a habit. A few min­utes of ex­er­cises can make all the dif­fer­ence in the first few holes.

The first step in a pre­round warmup rou­tine is in­creas­ing blood flow. A few squats, some pushups on the side of the cart and some short range prac­tice shots are just a few ac­tiv­i­ties that in­crease blood flow and de­liver oxy­gen to the ap­pro­pri­ate mus­cle groups.

Once the body is ac­ti­vated with the ex­er­cises de­scribed above, it’s time to stretch.

The min­i­mal stretch­ing ses­sion should in­clude a lower back stretch, ham­string stretch, quadri­ceps stretch, shoulder stretch and a fore­arm stretch. These five body parts are all ac­tive dur­ing the golf swing and should be pre­pared to per­form.

This week’s ex­er­cise is a blood flow-ac­ti­va­tor, al­though it also in­creases shoulder and hip flex­i­bil­ity to some de­gree. The Golf Warmup is de­signed to ac­ti­vate the ma­jor mus­cle groups with­out re­quir­ing any spe­cial equip­ment or gym space. But it helps to do in­doors in front of a mir­ror a few times so when you take it out­side (no mir­ror) you’ll re­mem­ber the move­ment pat­tern.

1. Select a very light Body­bar (3 to 5 pounds) and stand fac­ing a mir­ror with your feet shoulder width apart.

2. Hold the bar in front of you with the palms down and a shoulder-width grip. You should be hold­ing the bar at chest level.

3. Slowly squat down by mov­ing the hips back and down. As you be­gin this, slowly raise the bar over­head.

4. Just as you reach a full squat po­si­tion, the bar should also be reach­ing the full over­head po­si­tion. Hold there for five sec­onds.

5. Slowly stand back up and lower the bar to chest level.

6. Per­form two sets of six to eight rep­e­ti­tions to re­ally ac­ti­vate the golf-spe­cific mus­cles.

The Golf Warmup is a fan­tas­tic way to add some phys­i­cal prepa­ra­tion to the pre-round rou­tine. Ob­vi­ously, the rou­tine should still in­clude putting, chip­ping and hit­ting balls down the range. How­ever, this sim­ple ex­er­cise com­bined with a few other stretches can make a dra­matic dif­fer­ence in not only the qual­ity of the rest of the warmup, but swing per­for­mance over the first part of your round. En­joy!

Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette/CELIA STOREY

can learn what the Golf Warmup feels like by do­ing it in­doors, in front of a mir­ror, be­fore he takes it out to the golf course where there are no mir­rors be­cause of, duh, fly­ing golf balls.

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