Is Stretching an Important Part of Being a Golfer?
Over 25 million people in the US have made golf their sport of choice, and this activity owes its popularity to the endless benefits players experience. The rules are simple to learn, the equipment is easy to acquire, and you can become skilled at any age. Golf is also helpful for people trying to build strong professional relationships, as you can pitch a business idea while enjoying the sun and showing off your swing.
Despite being a stress-release mechanism for youngsters and adults, golfing isn’t as easy on your body as it appears. If you decide to take on this fun but strenuous sport, you should incorporate healthy habits to care for your bodily tissue and improve your skills. Learn about the muscles you use every time you visit the course and how effective practitioner assisted stretching can be for your golf game.
Muscles You Use While Golfing
Your trapezius is a triangular muscle that starts below your neck, extends to your shoulders, and reaches the middle section of your back. Since your trapezius is responsible for rotating your head and straightening your posture, it’s one of the most active upper body parts while you golf.
Like your trapezius, your pectoralis major is located in the superior part of your body. However, it lies at the front below your breast tissue and extends to your armpits and lower chest section. The pectoralis major is connected to your arms, so it helps them extend and flex when you swing. This muscle is also very active once your golf club impacts the ball, providing acceleration and force to your swing. Finally, your pectorals assist your breathing by elevating your thorax, increasing blood flow and concentration as you hit your golf ball.
Your external obliques are part of your abdominal muscles, and you can find them on both sides of your lower torso, over your hips. You can twist your upper body thanks to obliques, and each of them contracts when you move your torso to the opposite side. Your external obliques are especially useful during your backswing, as they rotate your body before you hit the ball and keep your spine stable while you play.
Your erector spinae is one of the largest superficial muscles in your back, covering and protecting your vertebral column. At first glance, these muscle group s might not look remotely related to perfecting your golf game, but in reality, it helps you bend your torso laterally during your right-handed backswing. As a result, your golf ball goes farther, and your posture remains straight.
Internal and external rotators are two muscle groups in your hip joints. As their name implies, these muscles are in charge of the lateral rotation of your upper and lower body, a really helpful move for your downswing. Rotators also stabilize your torso during and after your golf hit, which allows for better precision and an effortless, powerful swing.
Your gluteal muscles are one of the strongest muscles of the human body. They’re located in your buttocks and stretch through your hipbone and thighbone. Your glutes keep your pelvis stable and straight before and during your swing. Gluteal muscles also help with upper body rotation when you play, assisting you every time you hit the ball.
Both glutes and other muscle groups mentioned are as vital for golfing as your sportswear and clubs. Hence, working out, warming up before a game, and getting practitioner assisted stretching afterward will strengthen your bodily tissue, make you less prone to troublesome injuries, and turn you into a better golfer altogether.
What’s the Difference Between a Warm-up and Stretching?
Many people use the terms warm-up and stretching interchangeably, but they don’t realize that the two serve very different purposes. Even though both activities move your muscles and joints and decrease your chances of injuries, a warm-up prepares your body for a workout session or a golf game. Hinted by its name, warm-ups gently move your muscles to raise their temperature. Thanks to this technique, you will transition from being still to moving intensely without sprains, strains, cramping, or discomfort.
On the other hand, stretching exercises aim to make you more flexible and increase your range of motion. You may stretch as part of your pre-workout routine, but experts advise you to do it once you’re done exercising. By stretching, you teach muscles to elongate, an ability that comes in handy when rotating and maintaining a good posture each time you play golf. Practitioner assisted stretching is even more effective, as a professional designs a routine that fits your personal golfing needs and stretches specific muscles for you. After a few sessions, your body is all set to swing harder and more accurately than ever, and your muscle groups are less likely to get injured.
What Can Stretching Do for Your Golf Game
When you are consistent with attending practitioner assisted stretching sessions, all your swing muscles are better prepared to take on the holes in the course. For instance, your obliques, glutes, and hip rotators will have an extended range of motion, improving your backswing and downswing and letting you strike the ball with more force than other players. By working out and stretching your erector spinae, you’ll have a straighter posture and remain stable throughout your game.
Stretching is one of the secrets behind becoming a skillful golfer, but this activity can also help you stay away from issues that can hinder your golfing abilities. For example, even people who don’t play this sport can suffer from golfer’s elbow, a condition that arises when you overwork the tendons in your inner elbow and forearm.
If you play golf repeatedly and stress this tissue out, your overall performance will worsen over time. However, not only can stretching relieve discomfort, but it also gets your muscles ready to withstand long golf matches and prevent further injuries to your muscles and tendons.
Enhanced Posture and Balance
Experienced golfers know that being a master of the sport is more than having a good swing, as balance is just as important for accurate golf hits. When your muscles are strong enough to maintain a proper balance and posture, you can angle and bend your body more precisely, resulting in fewer missed hits and more powerful strikes.
Stretching to enhance your posture and balance and perfect your golfing skills will ultimately favor other parts of your body, like your spine, as you’ll start to sit down and stand up straight every day.
Due to the hustle and bustle of everyday activities, around 77% of Americans have had physical health issues because of stress. This common condition is our body’s reaction to physical or emotional tension, be it playing golf for too many hours, working overtime, or experiencing a traumatic event. Stress usually manifests as headaches, tiredness, or mood swings. Yet, it can also cause muscle tension in your arms, back, shoulders, and spine that practitioner assisted stretching can handle and alleviate. When you stretch with a professional, your muscles stop contracting, making you feel less stiff while playing and refining your golf game.
Aside from all the advantages practitioner assisted stretching has on your physical health, this technique is a confidence booster for any golfer. If you play sports, stretch, and follow a healthy diet, your muscles will be stronger while looking toned and big. When your back has the necessary strength to keep your spine straight, your posture improves, and you have higher self-esteem while swinging your golf clubs.
Other Useful Tips for Golfers
Any demanding sport requires a complete warm-up to get the body ready. All your muscles stretch to a certain point when they’re cold, but their range of motion increases after you warm them up. If you play golf, you’ll want your muscles as flexible and stretchy as they can get because they make you a more efficient player.
By warming up, you also avoid serious injuries that could stop you from playing golf in the future. By doing a 10-to-15-minute warm-up before your first hole, you’ll notice how your performance improves, and your muscles feel less discomfort after you finish playing.
Once you’ve warmed up, make sure to keep a bottle of water close by during the game. Golf is an outdoor sport, so players lose bodily fluids because they’re exposed to hot temperatures and intense sunlight. This water deficit, known as dehydration, is a common aftereffect of playing sports, and severe cases can lead to nausea, headaches, fainting, and diarrhea. Take one or more cold water bottles with you to stop dangerous and scary conditions from interfering with your golf game.
Sports drinks are another effective alternative, as they contain minerals and electrolytes that revitalize and rehydrate you. However, these beverages also a lot of sugar and glucose, so try to control your intake. Drinking beer also sounds like fun if you play golf with your boss or close friends, but alcoholic drinks dehydrate you even further and can turn a fun day on the court into an embarrassing anecdote.
Sunlight might be the primary cause of dehydration, but it’s also responsible for first-degree burns most golfers suffer. By now, many studies have shown how detrimental UV light is to our skin, causing cancer and premature aging.
Every outdoor sports player is also familiar with the troublesome and uncomfortable sunburns and how sometimes they force you to stay home instead of enjoying a day outside. Always apply high-SPF sunscreen before your game starts, and reapply as often as necessary. If possible, use light-colored clothes and a hat to add extra layers of protection to your ensemble.
Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
As a final piece of advice, try to pay close attention to other players and sections of the course. Golf balls appear small and harmless, but they’re among the most dangerous sports gear. Rarely do players see this tiny menace approaching, which often causes concussions and bruising. If you hear someone yelling “fore,” cover your head. Likewise, if you see your ball taking a dangerous course and about to hit other players, shout this word to prevent injuries.
How Many Sessions of Practitioner Assisted Stretching a Week Should I Take?
Stretching at home is a way of actively moving your muscles and tendons to make them more flexible. However, when you do this activity yourself, you might not push your muscles as far as they can out of fear of hurting the tissue or inability to push your body. Aside from not taking full advantage of stretching sometimes, you might also be doing so in a way that damages or puts other body parts in danger. Therefore, professionals recommend scheduling practitioner assisted stretching sessions at least once or twice a week if you play sports to get the best results.
Unlike the traditional version, practitioner assisted stretching lets someone else asses the extension and flexibility of your muscles and stretch them accordingly. You might not see a difference in the short term, but after a few sessions, you’ll notice positive changes in your posture, strength, and range of motion and, in turn, strike your golf balls better than ever.
Even if two times a week is a rule of thumb for practitioner assisted stretching sessions, you might have to adjust this number depending on several factors, such as:
- Preexisting conditions, such as arthritis or chronic fatigue
- Amount of exercise
Do You Need Practitioner Assisted Stretching for an Improved Golf Game?
When you constantly use the muscles in your back, arms, torso, and hips for playing golf, you put them through a lot of stress and pressure. If you want to up your game by becoming stronger, more flexible, and less prone to injuries, Stretch Zone can help. We provide regular practitioner assisted stretching sessions to fit your personal needs. If you’d like to give our services a try, find the closest location and book a free first session with one of our studios.