This months golf tip is provided by Garth Milne and covers the warm-up.
An effective warm-up is essential for gofers, yet it is almost always overlooked. Remember that you have 4-5 hours on the golf course, so take 10 minutes to give your muscles a good stretch so you can really grip it without ripping it!
GolfTip – Garth MilneGarth Milne
As seen at tournaments, practice ranges and on the first tee at golf courses around the world there is a heavy emphasis now being placed on warming up your body for golf. It has been scientifically proven that muscle tissue itself will work to maximal function if optimally stretched. Stretching is beneficial to everyone but there are unique benefits to the golfer and it is an essential component of a golf specific fitness regime.
Muscle tightness is a common problem amongst many golfers and the older we get the less flexible we become. Limited range of motion in a golfer’s joints due to muscle tightness can have an adverse affect on swing mechanics.
e.g. tight muscles around your hips will limit the amount of hip rotation causing a lateral shift of your pelvis, as opposed to the ideal coiling or pivot action.
Now the goal of a warm-up is to get the body ready for activity, not to change its physical makeup. As such, it is best to perform a dynamic, active exercise to get the body ready for an intricate and often ballistic move such as a golf swing.
Movement prep is a concept devised by world-renowned fitness expert Mark Verstegen. The purpose of movement prep is to get the muscles of the body activated and primed to engage in physical activity.
By making use of movement prep a golfer will boost heart rate, increase the blood flow to the muscles and improve the function of the nervous system.
When completing these drills it is important to get through the full range of the movement that you are capable of, without compensating. You must then engage the muscle that has just been stretched, as this will activate it. There is no need to hold any of the positions for more than a couple of seconds – just pause for the cameras!
GolfTip – Knee hugsPull your knee towards your chest. You should feel a stretch through the back of your leg and butt (glute). Then lock out your bottom leg and tighten the glute on that side in order to do this. Rise up onto your toes in order to get triple extension at the ankle, knee and hip. Perform 10 reps, alternating legs as you go.
GolfTip – Inverted hamstrings
This is a great way to activate the hip-hinge movement pattern essential to executing an athletic golf swing. The trail leg should remain in-line with the spine, which must be held straight. Focus on pinching the scapulae to do this. The support knee should be kept soft, but not excessively bent. Cue the golfer to keep their belt buckle pointing straight ahead as this will ensure that the pelvis does not rotate out of alignment. Perform 10 reps, alternating sides.
GolfTip – Lateral squat
Stand with your feet as wide as you feel comfortable. Now sit backwards by sticking your butt out and straighten the opposite leg. You must attempt to get your butt over your heel. You can wiggle your toes in order to ensure that you get your weight into your heels. Always be sure to keep your chest up. Perform 10 reps, alternating sides.
Backward Lunge with Reach
GolfTip – Backward Lunge
Take a large step backwards and then drop your back knee towards the ground, hovering your knee above the ground. You must get your front and back knee to 90 degrees and keep your chest up. Now reach to the sky with the same hand as the side you stepped back with. You must squeeze your glutes to feel a stretch in your thigh and in front of your hip. Notice how the belt is angled slightly upwards as you tuck your tail underneath. Perform 10 reps, alternating sides.
Seated Torso Twist
GolfTip – Thoracic rotation
Sit with a golf ball squeezed between your knees to keep the lower body still. Lock a golf club behind your back with your elbows and fingers locked at navel height. Rotate to the same side 5 times. Then repeat on the opposite side, turning your head as you go. Then complete another 10 reps alternating sides but keeping your head still, as you do in the golf swing.
GolfTip – Club Propellers
Hold the club confront of your chest, hands just outside shoulder width apart. Turn one palm up and then rotate the club by taking the under hand, over. Make sure that your shoulders remain level at all times. Complete 10 reps in one direction before you switch hands.
Garth is a golf performance coach. He works with a number of players playing on the professional tours around the world as well as some of the country’s leading amateurs. He is based at the Serengeti Golf Academy where he and Douglas Wood are working to create champions.
Garth also facilitates and assesses the sport science module for the PGA of South Africa.
Please feel free to contact him on [email protected] or follow him @smileymilne