This article appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of LINKS.
With the long days of summer upon us, it’s tempting to play more than 18 holes a day. Your spirit might be up for it, but is your body? In the warm weather, it’s easy to think your muscles are loose but that isn’t necessarily the case, according to Brant Wilson, the Titleist Performance Institute-certified head pro at Carmel Valley Ranch in California. Here are five exercises from Wilson to help you enjoy a whole day of golf a whole lot more.
HAMSTRING STRETCH Hamstring stretches feel good, increase flexibility, and keep your back and knees healthy, but many people make the mistake of doing them from a standing position. Better to stay stable by lying on your back. Raise your left leg in the air, creating a 90-degree angle with the floor. Keeping the foot flexed, place your hands on the back of your left thigh, pulling the leg towards you. Hold this for 30 seconds and then switch legs.
REVERSE PLANK A strong core is absolutely essential for golfers, given the full range of motion that is needed for your swing. The reverse plank is a great exercise to engage the muscles in the lower back and the abdominals. Sit on the floor with both legs stretched out in front and place your hands about six inches behind you, on the outside of the hips. Pushing through the palms to straighten the arms, lift the torso and hips upward. Maintain a straight line for 20 seconds, without losing form. Rest and repeat.
SHOULDER OPENER The shoulders and chest are very important during an extra lengthy game. One of the easiest ways to loosen those areas is with a wall shoulder opener. Standing within arm’s length of a wall, extend the right arm behind the body, pressing the palm of your hand against the wall. Rotate your torso to the left so you feel pressure in your right shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
HIP-FLEXOR STRETCH Begin by kneeling on your right knee with the top of your foot lying flat. Place the left foot in front of the body, making sure to align the knee over the ankle to prevent injury. With hands placed on the top of your left knee, begin to push the hips forward as you feel a pull in the right thigh. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
FOAM ROLLING Foam body rollers are a really great way to loosen the muscles before stretching. Since the roller mimics the fluid motion of a golf swing, we encourage players to use them in our swing room before hitting the course. While lying on your right side, place the roller perpendicular to the body and beneath your right lat. Extend your right arm above your head on the floor and roll back and forth several times. Repeat on the other side.