In my last blog post, I talked about the importance of a tee box warm-up and its relation to injury prevention.
While injury prevention should be enough to encourage you to warm up before your round, a proper warm-up can also enhance your performance on the course (1).
Research shows that warming up properly will increase club head speed. Increased club head speed leads to improved distance, consistency, and accuracy on the course — which will relate to decreases in your scores!
ANATOMY OF THE GOLF SWING
If you read my previous blog post, you’ll remember that I focused on the importance of the hips in relation to the golf swing — by preventing overcompensation of the low back.
This doesn’t change when looking at our performance, as the hips are still the most important component of our swing.
The golf swing is all about the rotation of the hips from backswing to downswing and follow-through. The hips also happen to be home to the most powerful muscles in our body. That said, if our hips aren’t flexible enough, they can also be the biggest detractor from our golf swing.
Underutilization of the hips during the swing will leave us with shots off-target in both distance and accuracy.
ALL ABOUT THE HIPS
Over time, humans have become increasingly sedentary. Instead of walking everywhere we go, we now drive. Instead of manual labor, we now sit at a computer.
This seated posture puts our hips in a closed position and decreases the length of the muscles in the front of the hip.
Unfortunately, for many of the sports that we play, including golf, the front of the hips need to be flexible and ready to go!
Warming up can temporarily reverse the effects of our sitting posture. Properly warming up the hips will improve our scores by promoting proper contact, distance, and accuracy(2).
HOW HIP FLEXIBILITY IMPROVES SWING
It’s shown that each of our hips has 90 degrees of rotation available, while each segment of our low back only offers five degrees of motion (totaling 25-30 degrees together).
Increasing the flexibility of one specific muscle in the hips, the iliopsoas, will allow for an increase in hip rotation.
The iliopsoas muscle is one of the longest muscles in our body and connects our low back to our legs. If this muscle is not flexible, our hips are not allowed to rotate.
Therefore, increasing flexibility is a must for a simple tee box warm-up.
HOW A TEE BOX WARM-UP IMPROVES PERFORMANCE
You may often hear that power in our golf swing comes from our legs. But when looking at people swinging the club on the driving range or course, it’s easy to see that most of us aren’t using our legs to drive our swing(3).
Many of us are rotating from our low back, which will not only lead to injury but also an inability to put the ball where we want it(3).
If we aren’t preparing the hip muscles for the golf swing, our low back will compensate and we will see decreases in club head speed, accuracy, and distance(2).
Implementing a tee box warm-up that increases activation in the proper muscles of our hips will allow us to generate more power.
(1) Fradkin AJ, Sherman CA, Finch CF Improving golf performance with a warm up conditioning programme British Journal of Sports Medicine 2004;38:762-765
(2) Gergley, J. C. (2009). Acute effects of passive static stretching during warm-up on driver clubhead speed, distance, accuracy, and consistent ball contact in young male competitive golfers. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 23(3), 863-867.
(3) Sherman, C. A., & Finch, C. F. (2000). Preventing injuries to competitive and recreational adult golfers: what is the evidence?. Journal of science and medicine in sport, 3(1), 65-78.
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