Fitness and flexibility are keys to improving game |

Fitness and flexibility are keys to improving game

Keith McCarroll, P.T.
Vail CO, Colorado

Most golfers will do almost anything to improve their game. They hire professional instructors, spend hours on the range and buy the latest high tech gadgets.

But most neglect their physical fitness. Golfers need to be fit for two basic reasons: to play well and prevent injury. Some golfers work on a general conditioning program, but fail to target golf specific movements.

Like everthing else in life, to play good golf you must be flexible. Many people do a general stretching program working the hamstrings, quadriceps, calf muscles, lower back and shoulders ” great for general fitness, but not for the golf swing.

To swing consistently and with the least stress on the body, you need to turn properly. That requires good rotation in the hips and thoracic or mid-back portion of the spine. The pectoral or chest muscles are also frequently tight, which pulls people into poor posture and limits rotation. When you turn badly, you compensate to get the club into proper position, which takes power, accuracy, and consistency from your game. Poor hip and thoracic rotation also increases low back pain and could end your days as a golfer.

Proper stretching and exercise can improve flexibility in all of these problem areas.

With stretching, you need to remember a few things to stay safe. The best time to stretch is when the body is warm. Do your stretching after a warm-up such as walking, cycling, or running. The best way to improve flexibility is with slow, sustained stretches of moderate intensity. No pain should be felt with stretches and they should be held for at least 30 seconds. Never bounce at the end of a stretch. This can cause tearing. If you have had specific physical problems with a body region, you should consult a medical professional to determine if your stretching program is safe for you.

This story was submitted by BY KEITH MCCARROLL, P.T.



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