You Can’t Just Stretch Away Back Pain
There is a pervasive view among golfers that if we were to ”just stretch more”, all of our problems, from a pain (and driving distance) perspective, would be solved.
Sadly, in the 6+ centuries that golf has existed, and the many more centuries (likely) that stretching has existed, it has thus far failed as a strategy. And I will give you the hyper simplified version as to why:
Muscles don’t respond to stretching like we want to think they do, or at least not always.
What we think they’ll do is get stretched, fall in love with the new length, and then stay there forever, thereby removing any “tightness” in the entire body. But that isn’t how it works.
Muscles exist at the length where they feel safe, and they don’t want to venture too far beyond that “safe zone” (much like my 3-yr-old and his food choices). If the hamstrings are tight, it’s because they think there is a risk of injury if they get any longer. Therefore if you stretch those elevator-cable-tight hamstrings, they will almost always revert back to that length they were beforehand.
Unless. Unless, you were to show them that they are actually safe at this new length. And this is done with strength training.
If you were to stretch the hamstrings, and then force them to work with some weight, or take on some stress in that new lengthened position, then they would see that they are not in harm’s way and they actually are safe at this new length. They will be more inclined to stay at this new length. Which makes everybody much-more happy.
So the next time you think about sitting down to stretch, go ahead and do so, but ADD some light strength work shortly after.
For all the “give me a practical example“ type folks out there— the next time you sit down to stretch out your glutes, do so. Then do about 10 glute bridges or hip thrusts shortly thereafter. If you stretch your pecs, do a push-up iso hold at the bottom of the rep for 10-15 seconds.
Try this and see if it frees you up a little bit more than just stretching.