Five stretches you should do after every round.
When was the last time you stretched after a round of golf? And no, elongating your stride en route to the bar does not count. Incorporating a good stretching routine will help your body feel its best the next time you tee it up. And luckily, your stretching routine doesn’t have to take all evening. Andrea Doddato, one of Golf Digest’s Top 50 Golf-Fitness Trainers in America, has five exercises that will help you recover quickly, so you’ll be ready if you’re teeing it up again tomorrow.
Hip-Flexor Lunge Stretch
Two main things shorten your hip flexors during a round of golf: riding in a cart, and your set-up position. You want to stretch those hip flexors out after each round, so they’re not tight the next day.
“By releasing these at the end of a round you’re helping to regain length and keep the low back loose,” Doddato says.
In this exercise, Doddato is doing the stretch on a bench, with her left leg extended behind her while her right foot is planted solidly on the ground. If you don’t have a bench, you can do this by putting one knee on the ground, your shin and foot extended behind you. Plant your other foot out in front of you so your knee makes a 90-degree angle and your thigh is parallel to the ground. Keep your torso upright and your shoulders back in good posture. You’ll feel this in your hip flexor and quad. Hold for one minute and switch legs.
Glute and Internal Hip Stretch
“The golf swing puts a lot of stress on the internal hip rotators and muscles that make up the glute complex,” Doddato says. “Stretching these after a round will ensure that the hips won’t hold onto residual tightness and result in unwanted stiffness or set you up for potential injury.”
To do this stretch, sit on the floor and extend your left leg in front of you, creating a 90-degree angle so your shin is parallel to your hips. Extend your right leg behind you in another 90-degree angle with your thigh parallel to your lower left leg. Now lean forward with your torso over your left thigh. Come up, plant your hands for stability, and rotate your right knee up to the ceiling and your left knee down to the mat. Do this 15 times on each side.
“The lat muscles are a huge component of the body’s ability to achieve proper arm extension within the swing,” Doddato says. “Throughout the round, these large muscles become fatigued. Maintaining flexibility will ensure you are making a proper turn the next time you play.”
Grab onto a bar like Doddato is here, or a doorframe, with both hands. Set your feet next to the bar. Lean away from the bar (or doorframe) with your hips, letting the rest of your body stretch away as your hands continue to hold onto the bar. Your body should make the shape of the letter C. Hold for 30 seconds.
Thoracic Extension/Pec Stretch
“As the core fatigues, so does one’s posture. Spending time reversing the rounding of the upper spine and opening up the front of the chest will restore the body’s ability to stand upright, therefore resulting in an increase in thoracic rotation within
the spine,” Doddato says.
Lay on your back with your feet planted solidly on the floor and put a foam roller underneath your shoulder blades. Put your hands behind your head and arch back, opening your shoulders. Hold for one minute.
“How many times has your back and neck become tight after a round of golf? Doddato asks. “Moving the back one segment at a time loosens the long muscles that cover the spine, as well as the larger muscles that tug and pull on this part of the posterior chain. This flow of stretching will make sure you are back to 100 percent.”
Set up in a quadruped position with your hands and knees on the ground and your spine neutral or flat. From that position, roll your spine towards the ceiling one section at a time, until your back is fully arched. Push down through your hands. Now do the opposite, extending your spine towards the ground. Move slowly and do this five times.