One of the most pervasive myths that we continually try to correct is that you need to stretch before you golf.
Stretching before golf INCREASES your risk of injury and DECREASES your bodies performance.
I have literally read over a dozen articles this year written by golf “experts” wanting you to stretch before you play golf. They are wrong…stop stretching before you play.
I understand that this is a difficult concept because stretching before you play has been the go to advice for over 4 decades now. The thinking has always been that you want to loosen your muscles before you play to avoid pulling a muscle.
Here is the difference. You want to stretch in order to elongate the muscle so that it will move further in its range of motion. As a result, stretching is key to an Age Defying Golf Game because you want long muscles so you can make a full swing. But having long, stretched muscles DOES NOT reduce your risk of injuring them.
In order to reduce the risk of injuring your muscles, you want them to be pliable. This may be difficult for you to conceptualize so I am going to have one of my friends explain the “rubber band analogy.”
The Cold Rubber Band
“The cold rubber band is the classic example of what a muscle is like prior to activity. We need to heat the rubber band, or muscle, prior to activity.”
Even a long (or stretched) cold rubber band will easily break if it is tested. So will the muscles of someone that has good flexibility if they are not warmed up!
“There is a BIG difference between “warming up” and improving one’s flexibility. Warming up means heating the rubber band. Improving one’s flexibility means increasing the range of motion that the rubber band can go through. Improving one’s flexibility is NOT appropriate before a round of golf. It should be done after the round or as part of your exercise program.” Dee Tidwell and Tyler Ferrell of Golf Drive Secrets.
OK. To break it down:
Stretching is very good for your golf game but you should not stretch prior to golfing. Stretching througout the day and after a round of golf is beneficial.
To decrease your risk of injury and increase your golf performance, you need to warm up. There are many methods used to warm up but the basic principals are these.
- 1. Start slowly and gradually increase the speed of movement in your warmup.
2. Move joints and muscles through their full range of motion. This means that regardless of the warm up you choose, it should involve rotating, bending, extending your muscles and joints to the limits of their range.
3. It is OK to stretch in any position as long as you do not hold it more than a few seconds. Stretches held longer than 7 seconds are potentially harmful if done prior to activity.
If you are still not convinced, you can link to an article that I wrote previously. This article dives into the physiology a little deeper but is an easy ready. Click Here: New research contradicts our knowledge of stretching before golfing!
Thanks to Dee Tidwell and Tyler Ferrell from GolfDriveSecrets.com for their contribution. I highly recommend them.
QUESTION: HAVE YOU HEARD SIMILAR REPORTS ABOUT STRETCHING VERSUS WARMING UP? WAS IT DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO ACCEPT? HOW DID YOU DO IT?
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Ryan York, DPT CGS
Doctor of PHysical Therapy
Certified Golf Performance Specialist