With the ongoing pandemic resulting in lockdowns, it’s been a while since most of us were on the golf course. For seniors who get the bulk of their exercise on the course, that’s a major problem. Going long periods without any form of exercise can cause the hamstrings to become taught, glutes to shut down and the hip flexor muscles to shorten.
As the golf courses begin to open, the last thing you want is to hit the course with very little preparation. Jumping back into the game without a little pre-season warmup can result in anything from sore muscles to actual injuries. So, how do you get back into the swing of things, so to speak? Here are golf stretching exercises for seniors and younger golfers alike that you can incorporate as you get ready for the golf season.
The sidestep looped band stretch
The sidestep looped band exercise is a routine that targets the hips as well the glutes; two muscles that are vital when you are swinging the club. Begin in a standing position and bend your knees slightly while keeping the feet together. In that position, place a lopped band around the ankles. Try and step out using the left leg making sure that the toes face forward when you are doing that. You should feel a stretch on the outer hip. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute depending on your fitness level before stepping back and doing the same with the right leg. Do as many side steps as you can holding for as long as you can.
The side steps
This is a great exercise for older golfers that targets the hips, glutes, and hamstrings all while engaging the core. Stand in front of a raised platform or stair steps with the feet slightly apart. Step up with the right leg and bring the left one up and then step down. The idea when you are stepping down is to step in reverse, whereby the left foot goes first followed by the right leg. Do 2 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions on each leg.
Lunges are great for strengthening your hips, core, and hamstrings. To do a lunge, begin with the right leg and assume a split posture ensuring that the left leg remains behind. Bend at the right knee at a 90-degree angle keeping your hips and chest open and the shoulders relaxed with your eyes facing forward. Place both hands on the waist and use them to drive the hips forward. You should feel a slight stretch on the left hip, groin, and thigh region. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute before repeating the same with the other leg.
If you’ve been sitting for far too long, your muscles are bound to tighten. Bridge exercises are meant to engage these muscles. To begin, lie on your back with the knees bent at a 90-degree angle and the feet planted firmly on the ground. Using your glute muscles, lift the hips towards the ceiling making sure that your shoulders and heels remain on the ground. Lower the hips and do 10 repetitions.
When you are playing golf, rotational mobility is vital, and seated rotations are meant to improve just that! Sit on a bench as if you are straddling it. You can also squeeze a rolled towel between the knees. Hold a golf club on your shoulders behind the back. In that position, rotate the torso to the right side ensuring that your hips don’t move and hold for as long as you can. Return to the original position and do the same with the left side. You can do 10 repetitions on each side.
Great shoulder motion is just as important as hip mobility when you are swinging a golf club and that’s what this exercise targets. Just like with the seated rotations, place the golf club across your shoulders. While in that position, make smooth and slow backswings concentrating on your shoulders such that they move down as well as across while they rotate.
The forehand spin drill
This exercise re-trains your wrists to get you ready for the golf season. Take a golf club or dumbbell and assume a golf posture. Make a short backswing, as well as a short follow moving back and forth making sure that the wrists remain slightly flexed or straight if you can. As you do the routine, make sure that you also turn the rest of the body.
As you prepare to go back to the golf course, it’s important that you get into a regular schedule incorporating simple exercises. These golf stretching routines will get your body ready to swing the golf club soon enough.