With temperatures rising and summer hours in full swing, many people will be getting out their irons, drivers, and woods to play golf on outdoor courses or driving ranges. According to the National Golf Foundation, in 2021, 41.1 million people over age 6 played golf both on- and off-course with 3.3 million of them hitting the course for the first time. Whether you are new to the game or an experienced veteran of the game, it is important to keep your body in swinging shape to prevent shortening your season with aches and pains.

We all know that joints and muscles are incredibly important for flexibility and strength and the act of swinging a golf club requires much of them. Because you will typically be more active during the swinging portion of your golf game, strengthening your body for those movements will be pivotal in preventing and treating injuries that may occur.

Practicing your rotation through exercise will ensure your range of movement remains fluid and pain free. Here are a few targeted exercises to help with your upper body rotation:

  • Thoracic spine rotation to help with the motion in your upper body:
    • Cat-Cow is a yoga pose that lengthens and strengthens the spine through flexion and extension. On your hands and knees with them at shoulder/hip width apart, inhale and lift both your head and tailbone up (like a cow), then exhale and round out your spine by lowering your head and tailbone and arching your back (like a cat). You will hold each position for 5-10 seconds before moving into the other pose.
    • Reach-under/over is a rotational stretch that opens a tight upper back. On your hands and knees, again with them at shoulder/hip width apart, plant your left hand on the ground and, without moving your hips, reach under your body to the right side as far as you can safely go. Then, slowly transition your left arm back to your left side and raise it high in the air making sure to keep your hips in position. Now move on to your right side and do the same. Repeat these motions slowly several times for best practice.
  • Low back and hip rotation is another important movement during your swing. To increase power, both your low back and hips must be in sync. When your hip motion is limited, your low back will compensate and will eventually cause pain. Mobility stretches can include:
    • 90/90 hip stretches can be done by sitting on the floor with one leg in front of you and one leg behind you, each bent to form 90 -degree angles. Keeping your back straight and ankles neutral is important for this stretch.
    • Hip rotation stretches are done by starting on your hands and knees with them shoulder/hip width apart and, keeping your knees at a 90-degree angle, lifting one side by keeping your hips secure but rotating your hip out. Hold for a few seconds then repeat a few times then switch sides.
    • Deep squats involve standing with your feet flat and legs hip-width apart and squatting low enough that your hips go lower than your knees (a typical squat puts your hips and knees parallel). Typically, the thigh and calf meet.
    • Deep lunges require standing with your feet hip-width apart and stepping forward with one leg and bending at the knee to form a 90-degree angle. The other knee should also be forming a 90-degree angle. Press down through the heel and squeeze that side’s glute muscle for a few seconds before returning to standing position and switching sides.

Strengthening your muscles will help provide the stability and power you need to decrease the risk of injury and improve your game. Active care and massage therapy can be beneficial to overall strength and health. Here are some muscles to strengthen and the exercises that help get them in shape:

  • Glutes
    • Responsible for much of the power, balance, and hip range of motion, having strong gluteus muscles has so many benefits including less back pain especially when you strengthen them through a full range of motion (deeper squats and lunges) and in multiple directions (lunging through the full 90-degress). One of the easiest ways to start training the glutes is through lunges and properly done deadlifts. More difficult progressions can include hip airplanes, single leg deadlifts, and deficit lunges.
  • Quads and Core
    • These muscles are the other power builders. Jumping or twisting through impact can be sped up with faster/strong quad contraction. Your spinal rotation can be maximized by having a strong core. Both result in a faster, more coordinated, more powerful swing. Exercises can include: jumping exercises, step ups, and Patrick Step Ups (the knees over toes guy) for quads. Medicine ball rotational wall tosses, Russian twists, and planks can be done for core strength.
  • Hamstrings, Wrists, and Back
    • Training the antagonists also increases the strength of the protagonists. By working out the hamstrings, wrist flexors/extensors, and back muscles just as frequently, you can increase the strength of other muscles. The quads and core along with other power generators can only contract as fast as the hamstrings, back muscles, and other passive muscles can stretch. The key point being that a strong muscle stretches better than a weak muscle.

While strengthening and training your body is important, ensuring that you get the proper nutrition and hydration for your muscles and joints will be key to healthy exercise. Visit our nutrition product shop https://kcc.nutridyn.com/. It is important to set up a daily or weekly exercise routine outside so that you can shed the wintertime “funk” and get back on the journey to living a full and healthy life. Here are some ways to maximize your time outside:

Get a good start on a healthy golf game this summer by increasing your flexibility and strength. As always, consult with your doctor on the best regimen for you.