Warm ups for golf | Elastic Golf

A good warm up should always finish with some patterning drills

Warm ups for golf | Elastic Golf

The performance of a good warm up is crucial to any sports or fitness training program. The importance of a structured warm up routine should not be underestimated, when it comes to preventing sports injury.

Many golfers do not allow time pre round to perform a sufficient warm up. Make sure you include time before rushing to the first tee to get your body moving and geared to play.

A proper warm up before a round has a number of very important key components, working together to prepare the individual for sports performance and minimise the likelihood of sports injury from physical activity.

Elastic golf recommends an active warm up is more beneficial over a more passive intervention, as you have neuromuscular control of the exercises with muscle activity. This is especially important in a sport like golf before each round, where feel and control are essential as your swing requires fine controlled movement.

However, it must also be remembered that individuals have different body types and every warm up should be unique to that player. Some players will like feeling more mobile, whereas a hyper mobile player may need more muscle activation to improve the efficiency of their golf swing.

The effects of a pre round warm up

It is important to get your muscles and joints through a full range of movement before a round of golf. At the same time, activating your nervous system with golf specific movement patterns helping to improve the efficiency of your movement. The most effective way for you to warm up is with active movement to prepare your body physically and mentally for sports performance.

Research studies have found driving distance, accuracy and smash factor improved after an active dynamic warm up and functional resistance exercises.

Further studies have found the likelihood of injuries also reduces following an active warm up.

A good warm up should always finish with some patterning drills to overcome any swing faults or tendencies. The more patterning you perform to train the nervous system to better pathways of movement in the swing, will only help reinforcement of those patterns.

It is very difficult to retrain unwanted movement when hitting the golf ball only. Performing drills with bands and against resistance can often help better movement patterns become more subconscious and natural.

This type of patterning requires greater activation of motor units and stimulus of your nervous system. Over time this patterning will become less conscious and a learned movement becomes stored in the premotor cortex of the brain.

The benefits of movements stored in this part of the brain, they are not affected by external stimulus or conscious thought, allowing you to move in a free flowing manner and without any conscious thought going into your golf swing.

Changes in your body after a good warm up

1. Increased core body temperature and blood flow to your muscles. Slightly elevating your heart and breathing rates.

It is important to get your body temperature up and even break into a light sweat whilst you are warming up. Think of it like warming your car up, the engine needs to be warmed to avoid damage and to achieve better performance. Your engine is your body, so look after it with a good warm up.

2. Increased flexibility and extensibility of your muscles and myofascial system. Your joints will have a better range of motion and movement quality.

When you are golf warm this will increase the amount of synovial fluid in the joint, helping the joint move faster and smoother. This can also help quiet down some muscular imbalances and unwanted movements, that you can encounter during exercise and performance.

In relation to golf faults, loosening up your hamstrings and lower legs can stop early extension. Warming up your shoulder turn allows better trunk movement and less likelihood of your arms becoming disconnected in your swing.

3. Turning on your nervous system to fire efficiently

Your body is constantly exchanging electrical signals with your brain, to let you move, breathe, think, and live. There are some automatic functions that our bodies will do without us actively telling it to like breathing, but then for things like movement, we want to prime and engage our nervous system to be extremely responsive to produce the most efficient movement possible.

As part of your pre round preparation, Elastic Golf has designed exercises that break down the movement patterns of an efficient swing. If these exercises are performed well and with good control, then the carry over to a move controlled and efficient swing is more likely to occur.

It is important to get golf warm through active movement and Elastic Golf has designed exercises using just your golf club, so there is no reason not to warm up.

4. Laying down the required movement patterns

Repetition is key to learning movement patterns. The more consistently you engrain the correct movement patterns, the more likely you will translate them into better posture and movement in your swing. You know how they say practice makes perfect and that what you repeatedly do becomes a habit.

Take learning to play the piano, which involves highly skilled hand movements, over time those movements become learnt through repetition.

As Gary Player used to say “the harder I practise the luckier I got”, this is not a coincidence.

Should you perform static golf stretches prior to playing golf?

Static stretching is great for increasing the range of motion and decreasing muscular tension. However, static stretching has been shown to not be beneficial prior to exercise. In fact, static stretching is more likely to have no effect or even hinder performance versus helping it.

Especially strong static stretching as this may potentially break cross bridges in your muscles reducing their ability to produce power and speed. Instead, Elastic Golf recommends you perform static stretching following exercise to regain movement and muscle length. Post playing golf is the time to get the foam roller out and passively stretch to aid recovery.

In Summary

To be golf warm involves using a very active process. Remember studies have found driving distance, accuracy and smash factor improved after an active dynamic warm up and functional resistance exercises.

Post play is the time to foam roll and static stretch to regain muscle length and tension. Golf stretches can help you recover and prepare for the next day to play golf. Taking this approach will get the best out of your golf game and reduce the likelihood of injuries.

  • A systematic review of golf warm-ups: Behaviours, injury, and performance A Ehlert, PB Wilson - The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, Dec 2019
  • Effects of different warm-up programs on golf performance in elite male golfers NR Tilley, A Macfarlane - International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 2012 Aug