Do we really need to warm up?
Those of us that regularly enjoy strolling around a golf course will be familiar with the typical preparation of hitting a few balls on the range before heading to the putting green followed by some static stretches on the first tee, all with the expectation that this will ready our body to launch a high rising draw down the centre of the fairway. For a sport that requires so much movement from so many body parts with such a dynamic and explosive action then surely there should be more emphasis on getting the body ready for optimal performance?
What do the pros do?
The stats tell us that 35.2% of amateur golfers never warm up before they play, and 62.5% do not warm up prior to practice (Fradkin et al, 2008). If this sounds all too familiar then rest assured, you are not alone and this does not apply only to us amateurs. A recent study coming out of Brighton University and the Eastbourne Golf Club (Langdown & Wells, 2016) found a surprisingly short warm up routine was also evident in the professional game from athletes who should surely know better! The study went on to investigate the effects on club head speed, power, accuracy and distance when using a driver following a variety of warm up options with some interesting results.
Static stretches may not get you the results you want
If, like most people you were bought up preparing to play sport by going for a short jog followed by a lengthy routine of static stretches you may be surprised to hear that you may not have been reducing the risk of causing an injury and may even have been impeding your performance. This latest study is no different and results for the group who performed a set of static stretches prior to hitting 10 balls with their driver were found to have a reduced power output, club head speed and driving distance.
How does this apply to me?
A good question. Well, the most interesting results came from the group who did a set of five simple dynamic exercises using some theraband in order to get the shoulders and most importantly, the cannons of the golf swing, the gluteal muscles firing. This group demonstrated significant increases in power output, club head speed and crucially distance with an average increase of 14 yards. One participant increased his drive distance by an average of 47 yards!
So the next time you are thinking to yourself that you might invest hundreds of pounds on the latest driver or set of irons to help you hit that little bit further, why not spend just a few pounds on some theraband, make sure you arrive at the club in plenty of time and allow yourself just a few minutes to prepare your body effectively, reduce the risk of injury and maximise your performance.
If you require any more information, or need treatment for a golf related injury, Ed is in our Malmesbury Clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays and in Dursley on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.