Now that the weather is cooperating, golf courses are ready but you may not be. Inactivity can lead to weak muscles and stiff joints. You may want to take some time to get back into shape. Before you hit the links, some simple suggestions can help.
Use proper posture. Stand with your feet shoulder with apart and distribute your weight equally on both feet. Avoid hunching over those custom golf balls, which could cause neck and back strain.
Stay smooth. The power of a golf swing comes from the force transferred through all the muscle groups. Overemphasizing a part of the body could lead to injury. During the swing be smooth from your ankles to your wrists.
Don’t over swing. If you swing the club too hard or too fast, you could stress your joints. Relax and take an easy practice swing, now you are ready for a smooth consistent swing at the ball.
Warm up. Stretch your hands, wrists forearms, shoulders, spine and pelvis. A brisk walk or a set of jumping jacks will help the circulation as well.
Focus on flexibility. Periods of inactivity, even a few days can cause joints to stiffen, 10 minutes of stretching the arms and legs can improve your range of motion and lead to a more fluid swing.
Strengthen your muscles. Stronger muscles combined with core strength will increase your club speed and decrease your risk of injury. Strength training year round will maintain endurance.
Inactive people have a weak core. This can lead to poor posture and increased wear and tear on the body. The core is were the body’s center of gravity is located and were movement begins. A golfer with a weak core looses power and club speed and is more vulnerable to injury. Three core exercises can be done in a few minutes after warm up.
Crunch – Lie on the floor face up with your knees bent. Place your hands behind your head or across your chest and raise up your head and shoulders. You should feel the abdominals contracting hold for 3 seconds.
Twisting crunch – This is the same as the crunch except as you rise up rotate your shoulders from side to side. You should feel the muscles on the sides of the stomach tighten.
Plank- Begin by lying on your stomach with legs extended. Place your elbows under your shoulders with your hands reaching forward. Push your body up onto your toes and elbows. Lift your stomach up toward your spine. Try to hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds.
Strengthen your core can add an extra 20 yards to your drive, improve your posture and prevent injury. Develop a routine of exercise three times a week and you will see results the next time you tee off.
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
Susan Hill CHEK Golf Biomechanics’ and Sports Nutritionist, President of Fitness for Golf