Roll up to the course just before your tee time. Hit some golf balls. Play 18 holes. Perplexed by why you feel tight during and after your round.
Does this routine sound familiar?
If you’re like most golfers, you probably know how important flexibility is to the swing — Tour players from the Gumby-like Adam Scott to Tiger Woods have pre-round stretching routines to get their bodies ready to play.
If you weren’t blessed with freakish flexibility or happen to be a weekend warrior who sits from 9-5 every day, you probably could use a stretching routine to help you improve your flexibility both before a round, and on a regular basis. Enter StretchIt, an app designed to help you improve your flexibility, which in turn will help your golf swing.
To set you on the right path, we asked the folks at StretchIt to customize a routine specifically for golfers. Here are 5 foolproof moves that’ll get you loose and limber — and keep your game tight.
1. Twisting Stretch
Start with your legs wider than your hips. Rest your right hand on your lower back palm facing away from you. Inhale. With an exhale, bend the right knee and reach your left hand outside your right foot. With an exhale, lift your torso up and switch your hands, placing your left hand on your lower back. Twist toward the left reaching your right hand around the corner. Follow your hand with your gaze to exaggerate the twist. Repeat six times and switch sides.
2. Hip Press
Tight hamstrings tend to put a lot of pressure on your lower back. This stretch will loosen up the hips and hamstrings — releasing this pressure, alleviating back pain and increasing the range of motion in your legs.
Step your right foot forward in a short lunge position with both heels on the ground. Place your hands on your hips or hold onto your golf club with one hand to help with balance. Tuck your pelvis in. Engage your left glute and feel the stretch in your left hip flexor and quad. Inhale. With an exhale, bend your back leg and extend your front leg into a hamstring stretch. Lower your torso while keeping the back straight. Think of arching your lower back to intensify the stretch. With an inhale return to your lunge and repeat. Continue this action six times, breathing through it.
3. Scarecrow Twists
Start with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. Place your golf club behind your neck and onto your shoulders with both arms over the golf club in a scarecrow position. Bend your knees slightly and inhale. With an exhale, twist to the right, pivoting in the left foot. Look around the corner to intensify the stretch. With an inhale, return to center. Repeat on the other side. Continue this twisting action six times on each side, breathing through it.
4. Standing Side Stretch
Standing up straight, plant your golf club into the ground with your right hand. Cross your left leg over the right and reach your left arm up and over toward the club. Then, open your chest and look at the sky. Allow your hips to go slightly to the left and feel the stretch in the left side of your body. Use your club as a balance point. Hold here for 3-5 breaths and switch sides.
5. Shoulder Flossing
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and grab your golf club with each hand. Lift the golf club over your head. With an inhale, begin to floss it behind you until it becomes parallel to the ground. With an exhale, return to your original position. If you want to intensify the stretch, inch your hands closed together; to simplify the stretch, move the hands wider apart. Repeat 6 to 8 times, breathing through it.
Give this routine a try before your next round. You’ll definitely feel the difference in your golf swing, and loosening up properly might even help you hit it longer too.