You booked your round with just enough time to commute to the course and grab a cart before hitting the first tee. The first few holes feel rusty and you are a bit stiff overall.
Hitting the range wasn’t an option, and you didn’t want to stretch and make your playing partners wait on you.
Sound like you?
In reality, the majority of golfers don’t warm up. If they do warm up, swinging right before teeing off is the most common activity.
Meaning that you spend less than a couple minutes warming up for your round. This is less than ideal for performance, and it may lead to you feeling more stiffness and aches throughout the round.
One barrier most golfers have for a warmup is not knowing exactly what to do. They also don’t want to look foolish in front of their buddies.
This post will give you clarity on one type of warm up exercise that you should avoid adding to your pregame routine: static stretching.
What is static stretching?
Static stretching is what comes to mind when you think of a “stretch” – pulling yourself into a position and holding it for a set period of time. Usually people will stretch like this for 3 sets of 30-60s.
Even though this is super common among golfers, it may actually decrease performance.
Static stretching has been studied in other sports beyond just golf, and it has become well known that static stretching during warmups does not help with performance. Many of the team sport coaches that once did this have now moved into incorporating dynamic movements instead.
One of the best things you can do for a warm up in general is make it look similar to the sport or activity that you are participating in. Warm ups can start by being less specific, then move into being more sport/activity specific.
For example, jogging or running for a warm up prior to a round may get your blood flowing, get your muscles warmed up, and get you prepared for the 4-5 miles of walking you might be doing, but it doesn’t relate much to actually swinging the club.
Most golfers do some sort of swinging prior to teeing off. This is a good thing as it is specific to the activity that is about to take place.
This is still likely less than optimal for a warm up if you ‘re looking to perform your best. A more structured warm up would likely improve performance during your round.
However, your structured warm up still needs to have the proper exercises, or it will also lead to suboptimal performance. The only problem is, many golfers’ idea of a structured warm up is to stretch.
Why Should You Avoid Static Stretching?
The long hold, long duration stretching that many people do as a “warm up” to “prevent injury,” actually tends to reduce performance if performed before your round.
This reduction in performance can last anywhere from 30-60 minutes (easily your first 4-5 holes or more).
A study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reviewed the impacts of static stretching on a round of golf in terms of injury and performance.
Static stretching was found to reduce club head speed, shot distance, shot accuracy, and golfer perceived shot quality, which as stated above, lasted for 30-60 minutes after the warm up.
By no means does this support the idea of skipping a warm up altogether, but it should help guide what kinds of exercises you put in your warm up.
Overall, dynamic movements are far more favorable towards increasing a golfer’s performance, and can be done with bodyweight, resistance bands, with weights, etc.
So in general, we should be warming up for golf. Curious about the excuses we as golfers have for skipping a warm up?
Check out this video!
If you are curious about how we at Peak Pursuit serve golfers, click here to read more!
Peak Pursuit Team