Exam Room – Getting Loose
If every time you play a round golf you experience some post-round tightness and feel like someone swung their sand wedge directly into your body, you’re not alone. Let’s face it, you are not a spring chicken and the days of trunk golf are followed by several days of muscle soreness, ibuprofen and ice.
Well, we’ve got the solution, and here’s what to do: warm up and activate!
Here are some basic passive/active movements and muscle activation patterns to get you moving and help alleviate you from paying the piper with excessive lactic acid buildup. These are some of the movements that I use with my players that will help improve your mobility and get you swinging the club easier.
Let’s break the warm up into three parts and then combine the parts into a sequence pattern transferable to a golf swing.
Part 1 ▸ Thoracic Mobility
Opens up the chest and shoulders, and gets the back moving properly without any tightness or impingement
Cat / Cow – Start on all fours, focusing on flexion (rounding the back and tucking in the pelvis) and extension (arching the back and extending the neck).
Quad Rocker – Also start on all fours, slightly round the lower back and sit back onto the ankles while extending the arms into an overhead position and focus on sinking between the shoulders.
Side Laying Open Book – Lay on your side and bring your hips and knees to a 90-degree angle. Openly rotate your chest and position your top shoulder downward onto the ground while preventing the bottom knee from elevating off the floor.
Part 2 ▸ Hip Stability
We need a strong and stable base in order to utilize ground force to transfer power into the club. Glute activation helps prevent excessive lateral movement and promotes hip extension, which creates power in the golf swing.
Banded Hip Bridge – Lay on your back and focus on activating the glute maximus (hip extension) while activating shoulders and lats at the same time (what we call the posterior sling) while pressing your hips off of the ground. The glutes are the strongest and most important muscles used in the golf swing.
Side Plank – On your side, hips are stacked and shoulders are stacked with the bottom elbow, elevate the hips off the ground to promote lateral hip and core stability.
Banded Abduction (lateral walks) – Activate glute medius to help prevent any swaying or sliding in your golf swing.
Part 3 ▸ Core Activation
Think of the core as the brakes in a golf swing. If we can’t slow down the movement, that swing energy has to transfer somewhere, and can lead to injuries in the lower back, knee, hip or shoulder.
Dying Bug – Helps to activate the anterior core muscles. Lie on your back with your arms straight up and your legs up bent at 90 degrees. Alternate lowering the opposite arm overhead and leg down to the ground while keeping your core tight. Breathe in as you lower and breathe out as you rise back up.
Quadruped Bird Dogs – Promoted activation of the back core muscles. Start on all fours, alternate raising your opposite arm up overhead while straightening the opposite leg like you are kicking back against a wall.
Warm-ups and activations enhance mobility, and this is the basic warm up series to help your body move and activate the muscles needed for a proper golf swing. There are more advanced and technical movements that can and should be incorporated, but for now these will get you through those long days of summer golf and help prevent soreness after a round.
Keep moving my friends, keep moving.
Manny Hernando is a Certified Strength and Condition Specialist and has over 23 years experience in the fitness industry. He was the former Dallas Stars Strength and Conditioning Coach/Coordinator. He has trained professional athletes from the PGA, LPGA, Boxing, MMA, NFL, MLB, D1 collegiate athletes. He currently trains 5 PGA Tour Pros, 6 LPGA Tour Pros, 4 Korn Ferry Tour Pros, 6 D1 Collegiate Golf Athletes.