The secret to improving your golf performance is a lot easier than you think.
You don’t need to spend loads of time and money to make some serious gains in your game.
All you need is about 15 minutes.
A collection of golf research studies reveals that about 70% of non-pro golfers skip one of the best ways to boost their games – the warmup! According to these studies, warming up drastically improves your clubhead speed, ball speed, swing path, and centeredness of the strike.
If you’ve ever felt a little rusty during the first few shots, this article is for you. Our sports physical therapists have selected the best warmup exercises to get the ball rolling in the right direction from the get-go.
Squats to Front Raises
There’s no better way to get your heart pumping and your entire body warmed up for a good round of golf than squats to front raises.
Performing 30 seconds of squats to front raises will warm up the muscles from the thighs to your shoulders. Plus, it will help you prepare for a coordinated swing by working the stabilizing muscles in your legs and core.
Try them out:
Hold your golf club horizontally with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
Squat down by hinging at the hips and tightening your core. Do not allow your knees to go further than your toes.
Push back up while extending your golf club overhead (with arms straight up)
Repeat this exercise for 30 seconds
Trunk rotations are a favorite warmup exercise among golfers of all levels.
These warmup exercises are an excellent way to loosen the trunk and increase your coordination and strength.
Do you ever feel a little stiff on the upswing and follow through? Take a minute to perform these trunk rotations and feel an immediate difference:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold your club across the back of your shoulders.
Slowly rotate as far as you can to the left side, hold for five seconds and repeat five times.
Repeat for the right side.
Standing Hip Stretch
Stiff hips can ruin your golf performance. The key to a perfect swing is to swing from the hips. When the hips are tight, many golf players end up swinging from the arms instead, which produces a weaker swing.
This standing hip stretch will help expel lingering stiffness in the hips:
Hold onto your golf club for balance as you place your right ankle on your left knee.
Inhale and bend at the left knee until you appear to be sitting in a chair
Bring your chest towards your shin, rolling at the shoulder blades
Hold this posture for 3 full breaths
Repeat five times
Repeat this exercise for the other side
Wrist injuries, a weak backswing, a failed downswing…what do all of these have in common?
Poor wrist flexibility.
This wrist extension exercise will loosen up your wrists to allow for more control and range-of-motion.
Include this exercise into your warmup routine to stave off injury and have better control over your club (especially when playing from the rough):
Hold your right arm straight out with the palm facing downwards
Use your right hand to gently press the fingers on your left hand toward your body
Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and repeat three times
Repeat this for the left arm
Is your swing falling short? Arm circles will warm up your shoulder rotators and arms so that you can hit the ball further.
Here’s how to do them:
Slowly take your right arm straight out in front of you and then circle it backwards to make a full circle
Continue this motion, slowly speeding up until you have a steady rhythm
Repeat 10 times
Repeat this for the left arm
Then, circle both arms at the same time for 20 more reps
Upper Trapezius Stretch
It’s easy to forget how critical our neck and upper shoulder muscles are to a speedy and powerful golf swing.
If you feel that your upper shoulders and neck are a bit tight during the beginning of your game and worn out towards the end, it is probably because you are not stretching your upper trapezius muscle (located in the neck to upper shoulders) enough during your warmup.
Adding this upper trapezius stretch to your warmup can help you achieve strong, speedy swings:
Place your left arm behind your back so that the back of your left palm is resting on your mid back
Place the right hand on top of your head
While keeping the head straight forward, gently use the right hand to pull your head towards the right shoulder (so that the right ear is aligned above the right shoulder) until you feel a gentle stretch
Dr. James Porco is the Clinic Director at Back In Motion. He received his Bachelor’s in Exercise Science (2015) and Doctorate of Physical Therapy (2019) from Florida Gulf Coast University. While pursuing his doctorate, Dr. Porco used this time to specialize in other areas of interest by earning his Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Medical certification to gain knowledge of golf biomechanics to increase golf performance, reduce injury & aid in sport-specific rehab.