The importance of range of movement and flexibility at specific joints and soft tissues in order to perform the golf swing appropriately has been well researched. Studies suggest while flexibility of musculoskeletal structures in certain parts of the body is important for the golf swing, the immediate effects of passive stretching has been linked with an immediate reduction in specific sports performance. Studies that have shown that there is an immediate reduction in isometric strength immediately after passive stretching. The reasons for this decrease in performance includes: a less compliant muscle tendon unit (MTU), decreased neuromuscular reflex sensitivity, and neural inhibition attributable to the passive stretching (Tiley 2012). The amount of elastic energy that can be stored in the MTU is a function of the unit’s stiffness. This stiffness and subsequent increase in elastic energy and force output can be increased through strengthening and activation of the muscle tendon unit (Tiley 2012).
A warm-up can have many different effects on the body in order to prepare it for activity, ranging from raising the heart rate and increasing blood flow to tissues and motor unit recruitment. There are many different strategies and techniques that can be used during a warm-up, and those chosen may vary depending on the demands of the sport for which an athlete is preparing. It is important that every part of a golfers short and long-term preparation (including their warm-up pre), allows them to perform to the highest levels of performance at all times.
Active Dynamic warm up program:
1. Theraband (red) with rotational trunk movement in standing 2 × 10
2. Theraband (red) with standing lunge and rotational trunk movement 2 x 10
3. Theraband (red) with wood chop from right and left trunk rotation 2 × 10
4. Three full-swing shots with sand wedge
5. Three full-swing shots with 8-iron
6. Three full-swing shots with 4-iron
7. Three full-swing shots with fairway metal wood
8. Three full-swing shots with driver
The golf swing is a closed kinetic chain activity occurring mainly in the transverse plane making it a unique skill and sport. A round of golf can take in excess of 4 hours and involve long periods of inactivity followed by short periods of high intensity, explosive effort requiring a combination of power, flexibility, strength and skill. There are many other factors relating to performance in elite golf other than performing a maximal golf drive, such as the total score per round, putts per round, and external factors including the weather and equipment. This can make it difficult to evaluate the effect of one intervention on overall golf performance.
The warm-up strategies utilized immediately before golf are important and do have an effect on the immediate performance of a maximal golf drive. Performing a combined active dynamic warm up with theraband can lead to a significant increase in immediate performance during the golf drive relating to maximal driving distance, smash factor, and consistent ball strike in golfers as compared to performing an AD warm-up by itself. COR works on individualizing warm-up and resistance training routines for golfers and other athletes. Most of the time, athletes require more power, strength and injury prevention training for long-term sporting success.
Tilley NR, Macfarlane A. Effects of different warm-up programs on golf performance in elite male golfers. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2012 Aug;7(4):388-95.
Written by Chris Barber, CPT