Practice a better way to warm up!
Golf is often referred to as a game that you can play for a lifetime. This statement can be true only if we can avoid injuries. With more focus on maximizing distance and incorrect body training, injuries are happening more and more.
When most golfers arrive at the golf course they can’t wait to roll some putts and hit as many balls as they can before they venture onto the golf course. This habit can lead to stress on your cold hips, shoulders, and back. These areas are big components of the golf swing and not properly warming them up will lead to injury. Tiger Woods was the first golfer who took fitness to a new level. His injury troubles weren’t from a lack of preparation but from the unnatural movements that the spine and joints go through when swinging a golf club. If you try and perform a swing with cold muscles and stiff joints, injuries will ultimately happen to result in less time on the course and more time in the doctor’s office. This month rather than giving you technical or practice routines we will cover how to properly warm up so that you can ‘play for a lifetime’.
1) STRETCHING & ALIGNMENT STICK DRILLS
During the November News, we covered the many ways that alignment sticks can help our golf swing. Using an alignment stick can also help us stretch the 4-main muscle group involved in the golf swing:
In the diagram below, you can see the many ways we can use alignment sticks in our warm up. These images show how they can effectively loosen your shoulders, hips, legs and back.
2) TOWEL DRILLS
Towel exercise drills work very similar to alignment sticks but allow you to work on other muscles and stretch in a different way. The towel drills can be added to regular stretching to increase the intensity and resistance. The towel is something that most golfers carry with their equipment so there is no need for you to bring extra pieces to the course. The diagrams below show us many effective stretches you can do with a towel:
3) HEAT PADS, MUSCLE RUBS & OINTMENTS
The emergence of heat pads to help alleviate soreness and improve mobility can really help golfers prevent getting injured. Some of the leading companies like Icy Hot, Deep Heat and Tiger Balm have enhanced their products with temperature and intensity modifiers to customize your needs. Many golfers use the heat pads before, during and after playing. Doctor’s believe that heat pads are the best alternative improve mobility without seeing a specialist for treatment. The cost of heat pads will be more than an ointment but still considerably cheaper than seeing a Sports Masseuse.
Muscles Rubs or Relieving Ointments are the cheaper alternatives from heat pads. They are also very effective especially with players who lack the time to warm up fully. Most muscle rubs tend to be fast acting and can last a long time. Brands like Tiger Balm and Deep Heat have been used on tour for years. Please note that though these ointments help relax and loosen the muscles they should not replace warming up, but aid with it.
4) TPI & SPORTS MASSAGE
If traditional warm-ups don’t work and the use of pads or ointments is ineffective then you might want to go see a sports massage clinic or TPI Instructor. TPI is the world’s leading educational organization dedicated to the study of how the human body functions in relation to the golf swing.
Since its inception in 2003, TPI has studied thousands of golfers ranging from the top professional Tour players to weekend enthusiasts. An incredible amount of data on players of all shapes, sizes, ages, and fitness levels has been gathered during this time. Using this data, TPI discovered how a properly functioning body allows a player to swing a golf club in the most efficient way possible. Additionally, TPI has analyzed how physical limitations in a player’s body can adversely affect the golf swing and potentially lead to injury.
TPI’s mission is to educate golfers and industry professionals on the Body-Swing Connection™ through its one of a kind ‘TPI Certified’ educational program. This program was developed by founders Dr. Greg Rose and Dave Phillips along with a 52-member advisory staff of industry leading experts. Five unique fields of study are offered for TPI Certification: Golf, Medical, Fitness, Power, and Junior Development. Currently, there are over 15,000 TPI Certified professionals in 58 countries assisting players of all skill levels. To find out more about TPI please click here.
The alternative to TPI would be your local sports massage centers. Many of these establishments like my local center INSPIRED in Port Jefferson, NY include:
- Post- Rehabilitation
INSPIRED is a place for anybody looking to enhance their life experience through health, wellness, lifestyle, and improved motivation. Many INSPIRED clients are seeking physical improvements of weight-loss, strength improvement, performance enhancements, post-rehabilitation, pain relief, and relaxation & recovery. INSPIRED has a professional staff of Lifestyle Coaches & Therapists, as well as Massage Therapists and Yoga Instructors to help blend your mind, body, and soul. This can be very effective in golf and if this is something that can help you I would encourage finding a local establishment near you.
For more details please click here.
My Winter Lesson Program is now underway.
To learn more, click here or schedule a lesson with
Nick Banks, PGA