Stretching for Golf?
This may be the best golf tip you here all year. Stretching your muscles BEFORE you play golf or hit balls is WRONG. DON’T DO IT!
Research done over the past 10 years has indicated that static stretching done before activity (holding a stretch for longer than 7 seconds) will INCREASE YOUR SUSCEPTIBILITY TO INJURY and will DECREASE YOUR ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE AND POWER.
This research contradicts everything that we have been told for the past 50 years about stretching before activity. How can such an error take place? Because stretching BEFORE an activity has never been aggressively researched. We know that stretching AFTER an activity and throughout the day is very beneficial and necessary for golf performance. These facts are not being challenged. What is being challenged, is how stretching before athletic activity changes the physiology of the body.
Stretching before golf increases your risk of injury.
Remember back in the 70’s how everybody would “bounce” when reaching for their toes to stretch? This practice was proven ineffective and even dangerous because you need to hold a stretch for at least 7 seconds for your muscle to relax and actually be stretched.
But, oddly enough, current research has shown that after stretching, the system of sensation and feedback in your muscles(quick stretch receptors) is disrupted and the chance of injury is much higher when you play golf.
Simply put, quick stretch receptors sense when your are moving in a way that may cause injury and automatically work to protect you.
So if you stretch before you play golf, you are turning off your quick stretch receptors…your protection system.
Here is an example: if you are facing a golf shot over a lot of water you might instinctively swing a little harder than normal. And if you were stretching before this event your quick stretch receptors will not work correctly and you have a higher risk of a major joint or muscle injury….BOOM! Your done playing golf for the year.
An objection that I commonly here at this point is “Won’t you increase your risk of injury if you don’t stretch and play with stiff muscles?” The answer is “yes!” You will injure yourself if you play with stiff muscles. But here is the confusion: the purpose of a static stretch is to increase the length of the muscle but DOES NOT decrease the stiffness of a muscle.
You want to improve the pliability of the muscle and to do that you need to warm up through a full range of motion. For example, think of a rubber band as your muscle. If the rubber band is cold it will break if you stretch it too fast and it doesn’t matter how long it is….if your muscles are “cold” they will tear if you swing a golf club too fast no matter how stretched they are.
Another way of looking at this is that prior to exercise we don’t need your muscles to be longer (static stretching) we want them to be more pliable like a rubber band is when it is warm as opposed to being cold.
PS. Just to be clear! Stretching is vitally important to golf and you need to stretch. However, stretching within 30 minutes of hitting balls or playing golf will increase your risk of injury and decrease your performance.
At Age Defying Golf we teach a Dynamic Warm Up proved to decrease your risk of injury and insure that you enjoy golf in your retirement years.
Did this article surprise you? Please leave a comment regarding your opinion on this matter or any questions you may have?