Your questions answered: Warming-up

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions to me via social media, it is very much appreciated. Most of the questions centred around how to warm-up properly to prepare for a practice session on the range or a round on the course. With that in mind I thought I would detail my recommendations for a proper warm-up, then address specific issues raised by those asking questions in the note section below.

What would your warm-up be prior to heading to the range?

First let me say a good dynamic warm-up is an essential part of all our clients strength and conditioning programs, and their preparation for practice sessions and competitive rounds. The reason for the word dynamic there is that we are not talking about static stretches. Static stretches where a position is held for 20-30 seconds with the goal of increasing range of motion in a muscle. Static stretches do just that; increase range of motion, but they are not ideal for preparing for movement through that range of motion as required in golf. This is where dynamic exercises come in, dynamic stretches require controlled movement through a range of motion. Dynamic stretching is able to increase blood flow, increase the range of motion, increase your awareness of your joint position, and effectively prepare you for athletic performance.

People in this field that are really really clever have suggested four key characteristics of a good dynamic warm-up, which I tend to live by when designing warm-ups and I think would be helpful you to know:

1.  A good dynamic warm-up should progress from ground-based to standing.

2. A good dynamic warm-up should progress from single-joint to multi-joint movements.

3. A good dynamic warm-up addresses mobility at the ankles, hips, and thoracic spine.

4. A good dynamic warm-up should actually increase body temperature.

Okay, now you have a handle on why I design warm-ups the way I do lets get to the bit you skipped to anyway, a proper warm-up for golf.

1. Wall slides/ Floor Slides.

Because we spend so much time in flexion and internal rotation (you’re probably there right now), we need to counterbalance this with extension and external rotation. 10 wall slides will put our shoulders through full-range and have a profound positive impact on our ability to get into proper golf posture and rotate in the golf swing:

2. Hip drops.

I love hip drops because they combine both the internal and external hip rotation necessary in the golf swing. 1o reps each side is a good place to go here as well. Fire hydrants are another good option too.

3. Spiderman lunge, hip raise and overhead reach.

The spiderman lunge stretches out the hips, whilst challenging dynamic weight transfer and balance, the hip raise gives a nice hamstring stretch and  the overhead reach challenges our ability to extend and rotate the t-spine. It’s a great catch all exercise for everything you need in the golf swing. Perform 6-8 reps on each side. The video below is courtesy of Eric Cressey – check out his youtube channel cos it’s awesome!

4. Letter T’s and Letter L’s

Nice bit of upper body rotation which is highly specific to the golf swing. 5-6 reps each side of each exercise. Apologies but this is the only video I could find of these exercises (I will get my own videos done shortly but am struggling with time in my rather hectic schedule!) anyway if you could be so kind as to skip to 3.58 in this video you will see the two exercise demonstrated between 3.58 and 4.20.

5. Feet together swings

Great drill to improve timing and balance in the golf swing as well as work through the full range of motion of the golf swing at a lower speed. 5-6 reps work well agin with this swing drill and the feet together swings with step below.

6. Feet together swings with step

Same as feet together swing but a great dynamic weight transfer element added and a big increase in speed too. Big thanks to Robin Symes Golf for the swing drill videos.

Notes

– Go right into hitting balls from this point.

– Your warm-up should as do just that: warm you up! Make sure you put these exercises together at a brisk pace so as to get the heart rate up a bit and increase blood flow.

– Specificity is important in a warm-up, as such every warm-up for golf  write would end with golf swings in some for or another (this could be full swings, or modified swings to also address a technical issue – such as feet together swings for balance and timing). Additionally, warm-up exercises in the gym will often be done with a barbell or PVC pipe, if you’re on the range a golf club will make a perfectly suitable and easy to hand replacement.

– This warm-up should only take 15-20 mins to get through and to be honest it’s all you need. At a certain point spending an hour warming each specific muscle used in the golf swing is just a waste of time and energy when there are multi-joint exercises that are just as efficient if not more so and much more time efficient. The only thing you may want to add is some self-myofascial release of foam rolling before you begin the dynamic exercises (this can be done at home). If a golfer only has a limited amount of time available to warm-up and really can’t manage this then my advice is either to drop the wall slides and hip drops completely or do these and the spiderman lunge to hip raise and overhead reach at home and the club work on the tee before you tee-off (for best results though  you wouldn’t recommend the at home approach if you have more than a 30 minute drive to the course.

– If you’re preparing for a round you’re probably going to want to do some putting, I recommend that you putt before or after you have done these warm-up exercises and hit ball on the range, which you choose really depends on whether you like to putt last before you head to the first tee or hit the club you plan on using.

 

By the way I really like this your questions answered post idea and am considering making it fairly regular, so please let me know what you think and if you have any questions you’d like answered.

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