Lets start with a statement that, at first glance, may seem rather counterintuitive…
Just because something is tight DOES NOT mean it should be stretched.
The case in point is the hamstrings. Tight hamstrings are one of the most common complaints I here from clients, and their reaction to this is often to stretch them. Makes sense right? But is this really the correct course of action?
We have spent so long assuming that everybody is in posterior pelvic tilt from sitting at a desk all day. However constant cueing to arch or straighten the back when assuming golf posture, along with spending long periods standing walking the course, has left many golfers living in anterior pelvic tilt.
Anterior pelvic tilt, means the pelvis is tilted towards the front side of the body. Now think about this, it stands to reason the hamstrings would feel tight, but they are only this way because they are in a constant position of stretch! So yes, your hamstring may feel tight, but stretching them is only going to make things worse. You may feel better initially, but it will not resolve the issue.
Check out these low level anti extension drills for a better way to combat anterior tilt:
Another common area for golfers to attempt to stretch to relieve pain or tightness is the lower back. The spinal erectors, of the lower back, have essentially two sets of fibres – the superficial set (which promotes lumbar extension), and the deep lying fibres which promote posterior sheer force. Due to the lordotic curve of the lower back, our lumbar vertebrae are constantly in a position of anterior sheer, as the superior vertebrae is essentially ‘slipping’ forward on the one in front of it. If we stretch our spinal erectors, we decrease the magnitude of posterior shear force. What does this mean? Again, while it may provide temporary relief, we are essentially allowing our lumbar lordosis to increase in size. Not cool man!
Neck tightness is also prevalent in golfers, especially as we age. Much like the lumbar spinal erectors the levator scapulae provide sheer force on their associated vertebrae. In the case of someone with forward head posture, the lavator scapulae is already excessively stretched, thus feeling tight. However, just like the previous examples, stretching it is only going to exacerbate the underlying issue.
If your serious about moving better, performing better and staying healthy (which sounds pretty good to me, at any rate!) don’t rely on feeling – Instead, focus on the underlying causes add trying to address them. Treating symptoms is a short term fix that leads to inferior results.