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Develop Your Golf Swing with Smart Stretching

Updated on October 6, 2012

10 Key Exercises for Shoulders, Lower Back and Core Strengthen Your Golf Swing and Prevent Golf Injuries

The sun is warm on your shoulders as you nudge the peak of your golf cap up to assess the move you need to get your new ball out of the sand trap. It's the third hole, and your score is high with early season messiness, so which is your best bunker shot to lift your clean white Titleist out of the sand and loft it far down the fairway toward the small flag? A nine- iron? A wedge? You choose the club, keep an open stance, square the club head, grip down an inch or two, play the ball forward and make a full swing… Suddenly on the twist of follow through you feel the lower back grab as you wince with pain.

The pain of injury is the golfer's rattlesnake hiding in the rough.

Golf Course in Grand Cayman - The Links at Safehaven

Recreatonal as well as competitive golfers need to stretch before taking to the links.  An injury can ruin your golf vacation in an exotice destination like the Cayman Islands.
Recreatonal as well as competitive golfers need to stretch before taking to the links. An injury can ruin your golf vacation in an exotice destination like the Cayman Islands. | Source

Five Common Golf Injuries

Which injury have you had from golfing?

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Five Most Common Golf Injuries

Which of the most common golf injuries will keep you from your best golf game this season? The five most common are lower back pain, inflammation and pain in the elbow, shoulder pain and rotator cuff injuries, wrist, thumb and hand pain, and knee pain. At worst, they can interfere with your regular activities, and certainly they will keep you off the golf course.

Experienced recreational golfers know the importance of warming up properly before each game, and tuning up with regular physical activity after a sedentary winter and before the start of the season. The pros do it. Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie do it. That's how they win. Do you?

Teeing Off

The twisting action required for driving the ball off the tee can trigger rotator cuff injuries at the shoulders, or lower back injuries.  The twists and stretches shown increase strength and flexibility to reduce injuries.
The twisting action required for driving the ball off the tee can trigger rotator cuff injuries at the shoulders, or lower back injuries. The twists and stretches shown increase strength and flexibility to reduce injuries. | Source

Golfers Stretch 3-4 Times a Week

Here are some stretches you can do at home several times a week, and more often during golf season, to prepare your body for your best game, every time. These stretches help golfers tap into their power to rotate shoulders and hips, increasing wind-up, strengthening drive and reducing injury. They will improve flexibility in all the joints, strengthen muscle tone, increase cardiovascular fitness for endurance on the course, and develop balance and mental focus. After all is said and done, what use is a fit powerful body if you can't hold the sharp mental focus and concentration to send the ball into the hole?

Hold each posture for three to ten full deep breaths, and exhale each time completely. Work to move a little deeper into the pose each time you exhale by releasing tension, holding and resistance in the body. At any time if you feel pain in any position, come out immediately. Don't push through pain. Practice the stretches by working with the breath and noticing how it softens the body.

Great Golf Warm Ups

Warm up first, before you tee off. Stretches increase circulation to the muscles you will be using, and prepare them for activity.

If you know Sun Salutations, do a few pairs to warm up first. This is a sequence of twelve moves co-ordinated with breath that warm up all the major muscle groups and open every joint. Then run through these stretches, holding each position for 30 seconds or five slow, deep breaths. Do each position on both sides, or do the whole sequence on one side then repeat it on the other side.

Invest in your body the way you invest in your clubs and in planning your golf vacation. Stretch often, then swing fully and score with 100 % enjoyment of every golf day in the season.

The Best Golf Warmup Includes Sun Salutations

Hold each position for 30 seconds or five full breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Seated Willow in Chair
Seated Willow in Chair
Revolving Triangle
Revolving Triangle
Warrior 2
Warrior 2
Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog
Extended Downward-Facing Dog
Extended Downward-Facing Dog
Seated Half Twist One Leg Straight
Seated Half Twist One Leg Straight
Reclining Two-Knees Twist
Reclining Two-Knees Twist

1. Seated or Standing Willow

Strengthens abdominals and stretches the spine, strengthening the lower back.

2. Tree

Develops mental focus, balance, and strength in the lower back and abdominals.

3. Revolving Triangle

Strengthens the back, abs, legs, and balance, and increases rotation.

4. Warrior 2

Strengthens quads, abdominals, shoulders, arms and mental focus.

5. Windmill

Stretches hamstrings and calves, strengthens back and abs, and increases rotation.

6. Downward Facing Dog/ Extended Downward Facing Dog

Stretches and strengthens shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, back, abs, hamstrings, calves, ankles and feet.

7. Plank

Strengthens shoulder, arms, wrists, abs and mental focus.

8. Seated Half Twist

Strengthens back, abs, arms and wrists and increases rotation.

9. Slide

Stretches and strengthens back, abs, glutes, shoulders, arms, wrists, and mental focus.

10. Reclining Twist

Increases rotation, attunes the mind to the breath and develops ability to relax after intense focus.


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    • Janis Goad profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Goad 

      6 years ago

      Exercise in water can be helpful after injury because you can work the muscles without stress on the joints. The buoyancy from the water supports the joints.

      I hope the aqua aerobics helps.

      thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Janis Goad profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Goad 

      6 years ago

      Yoga is good cross training for lots of sports because it stretches and strengthens all the major muscle groups. Depending what yoga practice you do, it can also incorporate cardio.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      It's a good looking Hub, easy to understand how important it is to keep our bodies in good shape, great photos of the positions (and a nice video too). Very inspiring, quite beautiful in fact. Thanks. I have a disability (a knee problem) which has put me out of whack for several years - but have just signed up to a health and fitness club and start my aqua aerobics this morning in fact! Timing reading.

      Voting up!

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 

      6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I would never have thought to put golf and these kind of stretches together. Sounds like a good idea though, and worthy of a try.

    • Janis Goad profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Goad 

      6 years ago

      Yoga, like golf, takes practice. No matter where you start from, you are going to get better. The benefits accumulate, even if you fall off the wagon from time to time. It's like riding a bicycle--once you learn the postures, they feel like coming home.

    • Jaspal profile image


      6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Great hub! Wish I could get into the postures you have pictured. I've just started Yoga a week ago, and have learnt that it is not easy to get even close to many of them! I guess it will take some time to acquire the required flexibility and balance that is essential for them.

      But my golf game has already started improving! And that is motivation enough to invest an hour three to four times a week on yoga. :)


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