I am often asked by golfers, “What should I do to warm-up before a round?”
The warm-up should have one focus point – to raise your core temperature. By raising your body’s temperature you will warm up the muscles and make them more pliable.
This warm-up consists of first warming up your body to be able to handle the stresses the golf swing places upon it. Second, we focus on programming the brain on the golf swing itself and bringing together the swing as a whole.
TIP: Get a feel for the putting green BEFORE warming up for full golf shots. My warm-up begins at the putting green and ends on the driving range. After all, aren’t we going to hit a driver as our first shot of the round?
Before I give you a specific warm-up routine for your round, lets cover what dynamic warm-up is NOT:
Dynamic warm-up is NOT static stretching. Pre-round, we never do static stretching as boat loads of scientific research (I wish I had a picture of a boat load of scientific research – it would be pretty funny) has proven that it elongates your muscles thus reducing muscle tension. This reduction in tension created by static stretching will REDUCE distance and open you up for INJURY.
The golf swing is a dynamic movement that requires a lot of tension and power. For this reason alone, static stretching is completely ruled out for our warm-up. Time to forget your old school stretching methods from the 1980’s. 🙂
Now that we know what NOT to do when warming up let’s discuss what we need to do to get properly warmed up for golf.
How you go about this depends on your body and all the wear and tear it has been through. As you age, you get more aches and pains and some areas may need a bit more warm up than others.
How to Raise Body Temperature (5-minutes)
Perform each of the following exercises for the time listed. You should be breaking a light sweat when completed. I’ve read other experts say that you shouldn’t break a sweat during your warm-up.
The golf swing is a powerful movement where an average golfer uses over 90% of his strength during one shot! How can you expect to be properly prepared for such an athletic event if you DON’T break a sweat?
To get prepared, you need to break a light sweat. So let’s get sweating with this 5-minute dynamic warm up… our goal is to activate the muscles we will be using during a round of golf.
A) Knee Pull – 20 secs per side
B) Bodyweight Squats – 20 secs
C) Lying Side to Side Rotation x 6 x side (keep knees slightly bent)
D) One Legged Glute Bridge x 6 / side
F) Forward Instep x 6 / side
G) Stick Ups x 6 / side
- Stand with your back against a wall. Your feet should be 6 inches away from the wall and your butt, upper back, and head should all be in contact with the wall at all times in the exercise.
- Stick your hands up overhead. Try to keep your shoulders, elbows, and wrists in contact with the wall at all times.
- Slide your arms down the wall and tuck your elbows into your sides. This should bring your shoulder blades down and together. You should feel a strong contraction in the muscles between your shoulder blades as well as the shoulder muscles.
- Again, try to keep everything in contact with the wall.
H) Arm Circles x 6 reps / side
Rotate your arms forward 6 reps, then backwards 6 reps.
I) Spiderman Hover x 6 reps / side
Just kidding.. this one is actually pretty hard to do! Be careful if you try it.
This warm-up should have you ready to go as it works all of the major body parts used in the golf swing. We want to maintain some tension in our muscles, but make them pliable. This has been accomplished by raising the body temperature.
Now that we are warmed-up, let’s warm-up that golf swing.
How to Warm-up the Mind for Lower Scores
Once you have completed the above circuit, it’s time to bust out your golf clubs.
We all see the guys who do the static stretches then yank out the driver. All I can tell you here is they are losing driving distance as soon as they knocked out that first static stretch. Not to mention, they are pulling out the hardest club in the bag to hit (minus that putter we all love).
It’s never a good idea to start with the big dog out of the gate. Warming up your mind for golf is just as important as the body.
Starting out with a wedge or 7-iron also boosts confidence as these are easier to hit. In addition, to confidence, you are gaining more feel for the scoring shots around the greens.
Confidence is often overlooked in golf, and we are building it in right here in our 15-minute dynamic warm-up.
How to Warm-up the Golf Swing (10-minutes)
Start with your wedge or 7-iron hitting half shots. I’d like you to hit half shots as long as you would like, however, to keep your warm-up at fifteen minutes try to complete half shots in 3-4 minutes.
Hitting half shots allows you to warm-up your nervous system to the chain of movements required in the golf swing. Start out nice and easy here and you are laying a solid foundation for your upcoming round.
Once you feel like you have a good rhythm should you move on. Don’t rush through this, as it will affect your scoring later on.
You will then work up to three-quarter shots for another three minutes. Again, if you have time, take longer and get a feel for the distance you are hitting your shots. This is important information you can use when in scoring situations around the green.
Finally, move on to full shots using the 7-iron or wedge. Progress by hitting a 5-iron, 3-iron, and finally your driver.
Time to play golf.
Now head to the main tee box and crush it!
Christian Henning, NASM-CPT
AKA Dr. Distance
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