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The perfect golf stretching routine

Six exercises that will prepare your body for the course

October 10, 2023
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Tom Hemmings is a fitnes instructor with the Sea Island (Ga.) Golf Performance Center. His line of work involves working with junior golfers on strength and development exercises, amateur golfers wanting to improve functionality and performance, as well as PGA Tour golfers who require periodized programs to match the demand of the tournaments they participate in. Hemmings currently works with Harris English, Hudson Swafford, Michael Thompson, Sepp Straka and Jonathan Byrd.

Effective warm-up routines are rare for most golfers. Instead, most arrive at the golf course, pound a few dozen balls on the range and roll up to the first tee—which is a recipe for injury and a decrease in performance on both golf and overall movement patterns within your body.

To help prevent injury and maximize your performance, these six exercises detailed below can be performed in a simple manner using nothing but your club. The drills are quick, effective, can be performed at the house before leaving for the course, on the range itself, or even while you are waiting to tee off.

The hip hinge is an essential movement for the hips in everyday life as well as the golf swing. This flexion and extension drill will mobilize the larger muscles involved in the movement pattern, utilizing the hips and not your upper body.

1. Hip Hinge

Perform 1 set of 10 repetitions.

Tempo: Slow

2. Hip Opener

In a kneeling position, with hands on the floor, maintaining a straight spine, rock the hips back and forth toward the heel. There will be a “stretch” felt on the inner thigh of the leg that is straight, aiding the hip motion.

Perform 1 set of 10 repetitions.

Tempo: Slow

3. Thoracic rotation

While in a split stance, one foot in front of the other, the rib cage or thoracic region will be the area of the spine where the movement will occur. The arms will be straight, eyeline facing forward, then rotate the upper body over the leg that is in front of you. This is a fantastic drill for separating the upper and lower body, allowing the body to move more freely within the golf swing.

Perform 1 set of 10 repetitions.

Tempo: Slow

4. Pelvic Tilt

Standing in proper setup posture, the idea of this drill is to keep the lower and upper body stable, while performing a pelvic tilt. This is a quite an awkward motion as it involves the pelvis tilting back and forth (this is known as an anterior and posterior pelvic tilt). The goal of the exercise is to arch and flatten the lower back.

Perform 1 set of 10 repetitions.

Tempo: Slow

5. Ankle mobility, half kneeling

This ankle-mobility exercise optimizes the motion of dorsiflexion in the ankle. This can be done in the kneeling position, by placing pressure in the heel of the front foot, while rocking back and forth, driving the knee over the toes. It is important to keep the knee and hip in alignment with the toes.

Perform 1 set of 10 repetitions each side.

Tempo: Slow

6. Side step to rotation

This integrated exercise is a great way to conclude the routine as it brings everything together. This drill combines the lower and upper body with a lateral step, followed by a thoracic rotation. The lateral step accompanied with the turn challenges hip internal rotation, allowing the body to perform a rotational movement, running parallel with the golf swing.

Perform 1 set of 8 repetitions each side

Tempo: Medium