Golf-Specific Warm Ups

Static Stretching Before You Play Could Make You Worse

Many people mistakenly think static stretching is a warm-up.  Fitness experts now agree that static stretching before exercise or sport is not just counter-productive, but potentially harmful. Traditional stretches, like when people bend over to touch their toes or stretch their legs on a fence, often cause the muscles to tighten rather than relax — exactly the opposite of what is needed for physical activity. I cringe when I see golfers put a club behind their shoulders blades and start twisting back and forth. You may feel like you are doing something to stretch your body, but it has no real benefit. Fitness experts say it is like extending a rubber band to its limit. When people stretch to the maximum, they are more likely to pull a muscle.

You should warm up muscles and joints before you stretch. You actually need to warm up before you warm up.  All this week I will be presenting ways to Actively Warm Up before you play and practice.

To increase your blood flow, which brings needed oxygen to muscles and joints, you can jog in place, do jumping jacks or take a brisk walk. I like to swing one or two clubs gently back and forth, gradually increasing the pace. For younger players, the ideal is to break a sweat; for older golfers, it’s to become slightly winded.

Gently swing a club or two back and forth to warm up muscles before your stretch
Gently swing a club or two back and forth to warm up muscles before your stretch

How Pilates Can Help Your Golf Game

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KPJ Golf Tips

How Pilates can Benefit Your Golf Game

CONCENTRATION

Pilates teaches you where to place your focus for success.

CENTERING

Pilates will help you develop core strength, so you can learn to swing from a strong center.

CONTROL

Pilates helps make your golf swing effortless.

Off-Course Exercise-

The center of your body, including your abdominals, obliques, hips and muscles in your back is called the Powerhouse in Pilate terms. For many Pilate experts, the Powerhouse area of the body is also thought to be the energetic center of the body. Work on you Powerhouse and you become strong and centered.

The Powerhouse Exercise

Step 1: Lying on your back.

Step 2: Lift your arms and legs at a 45 degree angle.

Step 3: Slowly exhale and inhale and hold position for 10 counts. Repeat 2 to 3 times.

My dog Buffett coaches me as I do the Powerhouse exercise
My dog Buffett coaches me as I do the Powerhouse exercise

Pilates for Golf

Pilates for Golf

All this week I will present golf-specific Pilates exercises.

Pilates has a very specific focus on strengthen the abdomen or core, which is exceptionally beneficial to anyone looking to improve their golf swing. Pilates works from the idea that once you strengthen your core, everything else follows.

When you practice Pilates concentrate on your breath.  If you hold your breath, your muscles tighten which cause tension. Inhaling and exhaling completely as you practice your Pilates exercise will help loosen and elongate your muscles. Learning to breath deeply will also help you relax and think more clearly during your round of golf. The more deeply you breath the more oxygen gets pumped into your bloodstream to help energize you.

Here is a simple Pilates exercise that will help you breath deeply.

The hundred is a classic Pilates mat exercise. You will be asked to perform it during the beginning of almost any Pilates class you take.

The hundred is often used as a warm-up for the abdominals and lungs. It requires that you coordinate your breath and the movement at the same time.

Step 1: Lie on your back on the floor with your legs and arms fully extended. Inhale.

Step 2: Bring your head up and drop your arms by your side. Keep the shoulders engaged in the back. At the same time, deepen the pull of the abs and lift your legs off the floor.

Step 3: Hold this position. Take five short breaths in and five short breaths out (like sniffing in and puffing out). While doing so, move your arms in a controlled up and down manner – a small pumping of the arms.

Step 4: Do a cycle of 10 full breaths as your arms pump up and down a few inches while you breath.

Step 5: To finish: bring your knees in toward your chest.

The hundred
The hundred

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Grip Strength Helps You Take a Divot with Your Irons

karenpicKPJ Golf Tips and Advice

Your hands are your only connection to the golf club.  Your grip directly determines the shape, the height and length of your shot, so it had better be correct before you hit your shot or your ball may end up in the wrong place.

It is important to have grip strength in order to maintain the angle of your arms and clubs or create lag on the downswing that allows you to strike down and take a divot.  If you tend to top or hit thin shots, you may not be holding the “angle”.  Getting stronger in your hands and wrists will help you create lag and clubhead speed and hit solid shots.

Your hands are your only connection to the club
Your hands are your only connection to the club

All this week I will be giving you simple yet effective exercises that will help you get a grip on a better game.

To create more power and control your shots, try this grip strengthening exercise:

Grip Exercise #2-Ball Squeeze

  1. Using a rubber ball (or a tennis ball), simply squeeze the ball as hard as you can and hold for 30-seconds.
  2. Relax your hand and repeat again for 30-seconds.
  3. Repeat this exercise as many times as you can with both hands.
Squeeze a tennis ball for more hand and wrist strength
Squeeze a tennis ball for more hand and wrist strength

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Get a Good Grip

KPJ Golf Tips and Advice

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Your hands are your only connection to the golf club.  Your grip directly determines the shape, the height and length of your shot, so it had better be correct before you hit your shot or your ball may end up in the wrong place.

Your hands are your only connection to the club
Your hands are your only connection to the club

One of the most common golf injuries among professional and amateur golfers is to the lead hand and wrist.  The repetitive motions of golf, and the high speed of the typical golf swing can place the hands, fingers and wrists at high risk for injury. Repetitive blunt trauma or single severe trauma to the fingers and hands can lead to numerous conditions such as tendonitis, broken or deformed bones.

If a player lacks strength in their hands, wrists and forearms, they are more likely to sustain an injury through traumatic force resulting from a poorly executed golf swing, hitting a root, rock or taking a deep divot, and from overuse.  The most common injuries are tendonitis and bursitis. Both can occur in your hands, wrists and elbows. The best way to prevent these injuries and improve your swing is to strengthen your hands and wrists. All this week I will be giving you simple yet effective exercises that will help you get a grip on a better game.

To create more power and control your shots, try this grip strengthening exercises.

Off-Course Training-

Grip Exercise #1-Let Your Fingers Do the Walking

  1. Hold a club out in front of you with your hand in the base of your fingers so that the club hangs down vertically in front of you. (Photo 1)
  2. Stabilizing your arm, walk your fingers down the grip, working the club upwards using only your fingers. (Photo 2)
  3. Once you have reached the end of the grip walk your fingers back up the grip, moving the club back down again. (Photo 3)
  4. Repeat this process with your other hand. Repeat this exercise 2 to 3 times.

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Send me your questions and comments to KPJ@swingbladegolf.com

I teach Golf and Pilates. I am a LPGA Master Professional and Certified Personal and Pilates Trainer