We’ve all heard that a proper warm up is important before exercise, and that skipping it can lead to injury. As physical therapists, one of the more common places we see people skipping warm ups or doing them improperly is at the golf course. For many golfers, the warm up is carrying the golf bag from the trunk of the car to the cart. For others hitting a bucket of balls at the driving range or taking some practice swings is a warm up.
The golf swing is a complex, full body motion that puts a lot of force through the bones, muscles, and ligaments. Jumping straight into swinging a club without properly preparing those bones, muscles and ligaments puts golfers at risk for injury. A good rule of thumb to help you remember what a proper golf warm up looks like is that you can’t swing to warm up, you have to warm up to swing.
A proper warm up happens right before you start golfing, so that means you’ll be doing it at the course. If swinging a club isn’t a good warm up, what does one look like? It’s a series of dynamic activities that raises your heart rate to 60% of your maximum. The easy way to figure this number out is to subtract your age from 220 to get your maximum, then multiply that by 60% to get your target heart rate for your warm up. So for a 55 year old, the maximum heart rate would be 165 (220-55) and 60% of that is 99 (165 x 0.6).
Each exercise below should be done for about 1 minute on both sides of your body to keep symmetry and be done a pace to get your heart rate up to the target you calculated.
Drop your chin down to your collar bone, then rotate your head in a circle, bringing your ear to your right shoulder, up to the sky, to your left shoulder, then down at the floor. Repeat for 30 seconds and then switch directions.
Turn your head to the left and hold for 2 seconds, then to the right and hold for 2 seconds. Continue for 60 seconds.
Torso Rotation with Club
Stand in a 5-iron posture with your feet shoulder-width apart, and a slight bend in your knees and waist. Hold the club in front of your shoulders with crossed arms, and keeping your hips steady, rotate your shoulders from side to side. The end of the club should point forward at the biggest point of the stretch
Side Bends with Club
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the club on your shoulders behind your neck. Keeping your back straight, bend to your left and hold for two seconds, then to the right and hold for two seconds. Make sure you’re not bending forward or backward as you bend from side to side.
Do small shoulder circles for 30 seconds, first clockwise and then counter clockwise.
Walk forward, kicking one leg and then the other out in front of you while keeping your back and knees straight. As you kick, reach your arm on the same side, aiming to touch your toes to your fingers. Keep your toes flexed toward your body as you kick.
High Knees Walk
Walk around where you are, and with each step, grab your leg just below the knee with both hands and pull it as close to your chest as possible, feeling a stretch in the glute. Hold the stretch for a second and then release and take the next step.
Reverse Lunge Calf Stretch
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and step back with one leg. Keep your back knee straight with your heel on the ground as you bend your front knee and drop into a slight lunge. Hold for a moment and then switch legs, alternating legs for 60 seconds. Hold onto a wall or chair if you need to.
You might wonder where the static stretching is in this warm up. Research has shown that static stretching (holding a stretch for a long period of time) done before activity can actually hurt your performance. Static stretching is important as part of the cool down after activity, however. So before you head to the 19th hole, stretch and re-hydrate with some water.
New Jersey locations:
Bloomfield NJ Physical Therapy 44 Park Street Bloomfield , NJ 07003 Phone: 9736852335 Email us
Clifton NJ Physical Therapy - 1070 Clifton Ave 1070 Clifton Ave #1A Clifton , NJ 07013 Phone: 973-246-6565 Email us
Clifton NJ Physical Therapy - 1700 Rte 3 West 1700 Rte 3 West #Grnd Clifton , NJ 07013 Phone: 862-591-1000 Email us
Fair Lawn NJ Physical Therapy - Holsman Physical and Occupational Therapy 15-01 Broadway Ste 12 Fair Lawn , NJ 07410 Phone: 201-355-5199 Email us
Kearny NJ Physical Therapy 711 Kearny Ave Kearny , NJ 07032 Phone: 201-535-8555 Email us
Rahway NJ Physical Therapy 1600 Saint Georges Ave #107 Rahway , NJ 07065 Phone: 732-428-5566 Email us
Cedar Grove NJ Physical Therapy 408 Pompton Ave Cedar Grove , NJ 07009 Phone: 973-433-0732 Email us
Caldwell NJ Physical Therapy 378 Bloomfield Ave Caldwell , NJ 07006 Phone: 973-968-6002 Email us
Fair Lawn NJ Physical Therapy - Holsman Children's Therapy Center 15-01 Broadway Ste 14C Fair Lawn , NJ 07410 Phone: 201-351-1682 Email us
Newark NJ Physical Therapy 1060 Broad St #Bsmt Newark , NJ 07102 Phone: 973-457-4232 Email us
Jersey City NJ Physical Therapy 361 Montgomery St Jersey City , NJ 07302 Phone: 201-932-2656 Email us
Paterson NJ Physical Therapy 764 Main St. Suite 401 Paterson, NJ 07503 Phone: 973-705-7255 Email us
New York Locations:
Bronx NY Physical Therapy - 817 E 180th St 817 E 180th St Bronx , NY 10460 Phone: 718-355-9652 Email us
Bronx NY Morris Park Physical Therapy - 799 Morris Park Ave 799 Morris Park Ave Bronx , NY 10462 Phone: 718-684-6300 Email us
Brooklyn NY Physical Therapy 423 Lincoln Pl Brooklyn , NY 11238-5499 Phone: 347-708-9701 Email us
Brooklyn NY Liberty Ave 1084 Liberty Ave Brooklyn, NY 11208 Phone: 347-586-0625 Email us