Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Improve Your Golf Game with Two Basic Stretches

This is an easy to follow piece originally written for West Point Grey Academy's newsletter.

While my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs have been playing golf for a few weeks already, it is likely that your golf season is just about to begin. Here are two basic stretches that will help improve your golf swing: The Rib Pull, and the Hip Flexor Stretch with Core Engagement
In any sport, but especially a rotary sport like golf, the ability to disassociate the hips and the shoulders is paramount. The rib pull is one of the most basic stretches that any athlete should be able to master.

1) Lay on your side, with your top leg flexed at the hip and at the knee. Rest your knee on top of a foam roller or device of similar height. Make sure your knee is above the level of your waist, and that the down leg remains straight.
2) Place the arm that is down straight out in front of you. Place your free hand on your rib cage.
3) Take a deep breath in. Slowly breath out and begin to move your free shoulder towards the ground. When you have fully exhaled, breath in again and repeat three more times. After three breaths, move your body back to the starting position and repeat.
4) The goal is to get your shoulder flat to the ground. Make sure your knee does not leave the foam roller, hold it down as pictured if necessary. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions before and after training.

A golfer requires powerful hips in order to have the most effective swing possible. The most important muscles of the hips are the glutes. In order to maximize the power the glutes are capable of generating, an athlete must lengthen their hip flexors and have mobility in the anterior portion of their hips. The hip flexor stretch with core engagement MUST be integrated into all athletes pre-training routines.

1) Get yourself into a proper half-kneeling position, with 90° angles at each leg. You may need to tuck your butt under on the side of the back leg. Keep your chest proud and your shoulders back.
2) Drive a dowel or other device of similar height hard into the ground so that your torso tenses.
3) Squeeze the glute of the back leg, and push your hips forward 1-2 inches, pausing for two seconds, and then moving back to the starting position. Make sure your hips stay directly underneath your shoulders for the duration of the entire movement (think of translating your hip forward)
4) You should feel this in your hip flexor. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions before and after training, or between sets of weights.

Contact for progressions to these stretches, along with strength and power development exercises to optimize your swing.
Sean is in the weight room on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 3:30-5pm for movement screens and to discuss how to get you started training properly.
You are also invited to join the “WPGA Performance” Facebook page for tips and discussion related to training and athletics.


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