Golf Warm Up Routine
By Western Berks Physical Therapy on March 22nd, 2021
Golf Warm Up Routine to Improve Your Golf Game
We’ve all heard that a proper warm up is important before exercise, and that skipping it can lead to injury. As physical therapists, one of the more common places we see people skipping a warm up routine or doing it improperly is at the golf course.
The golf swing is a complex, full body motion that puts a lot of force through the bones, muscles, and ligaments. Jumping straight into swinging a club without properly preparing those bones, muscles and ligaments puts golfers at risk for injury. A good rule of thumb to help you remember what a proper golf warm up looks like is that you can’t swing to warm up, you have to warm up to swing.
A proper golf warm up routine happens right before you start golfing, so that means you’ll be doing it at the course. If swinging a club isn’t a good warm up, what does one look like?
A good golf warm up is a series of dynamic activities that raises your heart rate to 60% of your maximum. The easy way to figure this number out is to subtract your age from 220 to get your maximum, then multiply that by 60% to get your target heart rate for your warm up. So for a 55 year old, the maximum heart rate would be 165 (220-55) and 60% of that is 99 (165 x 0.6).
Each exercise below should be done for about 1 minute on both sides of your body to keep symmetry and be performed at a pace to get your heart rate up to the target you calculated.
Drop your chin down to your collar bone, then rotate your head in a circle, bringing your ear to your right shoulder, up to the sky, to your left shoulder, then down at the floor. Repeat for 30 seconds and then switch directions.
Turn your head to the left and hold for 2 seconds, then to the right and hold for 2 seconds. Continue for 60 seconds.
Torso Rotation with Club
Stand in a 5-iron posture with your feet shoulder-width apart, and a slight bend in your knees and waist. Hold the club in front of your shoulders with crossed arms, and keeping your hips steady, rotate your shoulders from side to side. The end of the club should point forward at the biggest point of the stretch.
Side Bends with Club
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the club on your shoulders behind your neck. Keeping your back straight, bend to your left and hold for two seconds, then to the right and hold for two seconds. Make sure you’re not bending forward or backward as you bend from side to side.
Do small shoulder circles for 30 seconds, first clockwise and then counter clockwise.
Walk forward, kicking one leg and then the other out in front of you while keeping your back and knees straight. As you kick, reach your arm on the same side, aiming to touch your toes to your fingers. Keep your toes flexed toward your body as you kick.
High Knees Walk
Walk around where you are, and with each step, grab your leg just below the knee with both hands and pull it as close to your chest as possible, feeling a stretch in the glute. Hold the stretch for a second and then release and take the next step.
Reverse Lunge Calf Stretch
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and step back with one leg. Keep your back knee straight with your heel on the ground as you bend your front knee and drop into a slight lunge. Hold for a moment and then switch legs, alternating legs for 60 seconds. Hold onto a wall or chair if you need to.
Physical Therapy to Reduce Pain and Improve Your Golf Game
While many pain-causing injuries can be prevented by following a proper warm up, aches and pains from golf are a common occurrence and should be treated immediately before the pain and any corresponding injury worsens. Strengthening muscles through conditioning exercises and increasing flexibility through stretching are both ways physical therapists help to prevent injuries. Western Berks Physical Therapy offers conditioning and exercise programs specific to preventing or resolving injuries in golfers.
Preventing the most common golf injuries can be done by:
- Participating in a golf-specific conditioning program
- Working on improving swing mechanics
- Buying properly fitted equipment
- Avoiding long practice sessions
- Always performing a warm up routine prior to play
When treating golf related pain or injury, it is important to have a good understanding of the biomechanics and forces of the golf swing to diagnose and manage the injuries incurred in this sport. This is where the therapists at Western Berks Physical Therapy can truly benefit those who are dedicated to playing golf. The explosive nature of the swing can put a tremendous amount of stress on the body and needs to be treated by those who have specialized expertise in this particular type of sports injury.
If you are a golfer in the Reading, Pennsylvania area and are suffering from pain or injury, contact Western Berks Physical Therapy today at 610-589-2263.