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Top 5 Dynamic Warmup Exercises to Improve Your Golf Game

We get asked all the time what are great golf warmup exercises, and, while there isn’t a set-in-stone method, there are some tried-and-true principles that will help you feel your best and prevent injury.


At its most basic, we want the warmup to accomplish two things: 1) increase your core temperature, to help you be more mobile, and, 2) we want to use the muscles in less intense state than the golf swing, increasing in resistance or intensity so that when you make more full swings, the muscles have been used and are ready for the increased action.


Being warmer, looser and starting the day with some dynamic movements will help improve your round and ultimately your golf game, long term and short term.


I don’t usually have my players do too long of warmups, I think just a few minutes is enough to accomplish what we need, and then following up with the hitting of balls (starting with shorter shots and working towards longer) “bringing us home” so-to-speak.


The golf swing uses just about every muscle in the body, from the toes to the neck, so our warmup will reflect that. Dynamic moves that work legs and torso together, shoulders and hips and even a little bit of neck will be the required prescription.


Let’s dive into some of the moves that I think are a perfect start to your golf outing.


Purpose: to create upper body rotation over stable hips.


How to perform:

Standing tall, with a golf club held by long arms out in front of the torso, take a step back, dropping the knee right below the trail hip. We also want the lead knee right over the ankle, creating two 90* angles at the knees effectively. Then take both long arms are rotate the club/torso towards the “up” knee, turning that direction. Return to neutral and step back up.


I generally say do 5 reps on one side, then 5 reps on the other.


Variations:

Feel free to let the knee rest on the ground, or, for a more challenging version, keep the trail knee floating. It will be more of a split squat.


I like the eyes to rotate with the torso, but some folks like to keep the eyes more forward. That is alright as well.


If knee flexion is uncomfortable for you and bending the knee is too painful, you can find an alternative here.



Purpose: to warm up the side bend motion of the spine and muscles like the QL, lats, and upper glute meds/mins.


How to perform:

After finishing the last rep of the lunge with rotations, you can then stay on the ground in that 90/90 position. Take the golf club from in front of the chest to overhead (the narrower your hands are the harder this will be). Once the club is overhead, keep the hips still and quiet as you laterally bend away from the down knee side.


I generally like 5-8 reps on each side.


Variations:

If knee flexion is uncomfortable for you, then a standing side bend is totally fine. You can find that exercise here.



Purpose: to load the hips in the hinge pattern, then force large upper body rotation over the top, creating internal and external stretches on the hips.


How to perform:

From standing tall, drop one foot back in a long leg RDL, letting the chest tilt forward as the leg swings back. Extend the arms out long, like an airplane’s wings. From there, keep the weight pressure in the legs the same as you rotate the arms and shoulders side to side. Alternate sides and with this exercise, oppositely to the lunge one, I like keeping the eyes forward.


I generally like 5 total reps, turning each way, then switch sides.


Variations: If balance is the hard part of this exercise, which it can be, simply drop the back foot to the ground, and keep it there during the exercise, it will make it significantly easier.



Purpose: to flex the glute, then shift our weight laterally to the side, absorbing the movement, and then pushing back in the opposite direction, creating and reversing lateral forces.


How to perform:

Standing tall, grab one knee and pull to the chest, then as the knee releases, step out to the side, flexing the same side knee, while straightening the trail side leg. Push off the extended foot to come back to a neutral stance, where we started.


I generally like 4 reps per side, all performed on one side then the other.


Variations:

If balance is an issue, and it may be, just focus on the knee hug, placing your back to a wall or golf cart. This will make it easier to grab and pull the knee, without having to worry about the balance.



Purpose: to stretch the backside and hamstrings, helping us stay in our posture during the swing, and keeping us from becoming too dominant with the hip flexors.


How to perform:

From standing tall with both feet together, kick one foot forwards (toe up, heel down). I like the heel to be just in front of the toes of the other foot, so not a real big step forward. Push the hips back and reach the hands down towards the feet, you will feel a nice stretch in the backside and hamstrings.


I generally like 12 total reps, alternating side to side.


Variations:

Balance can be the same issue here as with the knee hug, and you can easily use a wall or cart to stabilize here also.



Get after it, and play well!


-Michael

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