Fantastic we can play golf again. All who can are booking times and playing golf. However, “Do you warm up before you play”. In our rush to get out onto the course does warming up before playing play a part. So, let`s talk about warm ups and ask some questions and see how important it is.
I invited a good friend of mine, Ross Tomkins, one of the leading Physiotherapists in the North East, to see what he thought about warming up for golf. Here is what he had to say,
Why do we need to warm up Ross?
As well as decreasing the chance of injury when playing, warming up will certainly help with your range of motion. This motion could be an increase of up to 17%. Warming up prepares your body for the intense activity coming up by getting blood flowing to the muscles, raising your muscle temperature and gradually increasing the heart rate and circulation.
Is 10 minutes enough time?
It is better than nothing at all and as to whether it`s enough will depend on the player. Whatever you do will help as stretching a cold muscle with that first driver swing can result in a pulled or strained muscle.
What do warm ups depend on?
These differences will depend on a number of factors including age, gender, height, weight, posture, general level of fitness and previous injuries. Each of these can contribute to faulty body mechanics and postural imbalances, which in turn will affect the many physical attributes (such as balance, flexibility, strength, power, control, timing and endurance) which work together in harmony to produce a good golf swing. Subtle problems with any of these characteristics can produce a less than optimal swing, a greater risk of injury and act as a physical obstacle preventing you from reaching your potential in golf. The good news is that in most cases, simple personalized exercises can give you the strength and flexibility you need to improve your performance.
So personalized warmups mean players will all warm up differently?
Everyone’s warm up should follow the same basic structure including three key elements (general exercises, static stretching and sport specific exercises) however; differences in each of our anatomies will likely require us to focus on different parts of our body for differing lengths of time. Elite athletes may include a fourth element (dynamic stretching) but this form of activity carries with it a high risk of injury if used incorrectly. The general warm up aims to elevate your heart and respiratory rate, increasing blood flow and therefore oxygenating your muscles and preparing them for activity. It also raises your body temperature allowing for a more effective static stretch. This second element should involve all major muscle groups around the body including those of the neck, mid back, lower back, shoulder girdle, upper and lower limbs. In the third sport specific part, the golfer is specifically preparing their body for the demands of the game and should therefore include movements that reflect the type of actions that will be required during the match.
I see golfers loosen up by swinging two clubs together. Do you think that this is a good exercise?
Definitely not, swinging two clubs together doesn’t fit into any of the three key elements for a warm up and is more likely to cause an injury than enhance sporting performance.
My old boss once said to me that the best way to warm up for golf was to hit golf balls. Do you think that he was right or should a golfer combine exercises with hitting some golf balls?
Definitely the latter, practicing your swing and even then, hitting some golf balls falls nicely into the category of sport specific warming up. Providing you have completed some general exercises and static stretching prior to this it will serve to not only minimize the risk of injury but also add to your game by helping to build muscle memory and groove your swing.
Is warming up the only consideration a golfer should have if they want to perform better?
From a medical rather than a coaching point of view and as stated earlier warming up is crucial in the preparation of any sport as it not only minimizes the risk of injury but also can enhance performance. However, it is only part of the jigsaw and if a golfer truly wants to maximize their golfing potential, they should not only warm up but also cool down and undertake a fitness regime that includes strength, flexibility and stability training. Such activities can lead to us hitting longer, straighter and with more consistency.
For any more information about any of the above Ross can be contacted on (0191) 4773 776 or via www.therapydirect-uk.com.
If this makes a difference to your performance, then it was worth the effort to find out. Let me know how you get on.
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