Photo and video by Joachim Guay
By Matthew Brookes
We’re regularly reminded about the importance of a proper warm-up before putting our bodies through the rigours of a round of golf or range session. But what happens afterwards?
Cooling down is just as important. Done well, it ensures many long term benefits including improving mobility for future rounds, helping with recovery and post-round soreness as well as helping to embed any swing changes you might be working on.
All my clients receive a personal cool down routine to help them make the swing changes we are trying to achieve. Here I share five stretches which target the areas most common with physical limitation.
Hold each for 60 seconds and focus on a deep inhale through the nose and exhale through your mouth every time. Repeat each exercise on the other side where applicable. –with Kent Gray
1. Toe touch
Keeping your legs straight, slowly bend over from the hip and reach down as far as you can towards your toes. This is lengthening your hamstrings and will help with set-up posture.
2. Standing half lotus
Starting in a standing position, use your club as a balance support in your left hand. Cross your right leg over the knee of the left leg and then place your right hand on the right knee. Then push the right knee down and away from you while hinging slightly from the hip and keeping a strong straight back. Repeat on the other side. This assists with hip mobility, helping improve rotation and sequencing.
3. Behind back overhead extension
Place a club behind you with your right hand holding onto the grip. Now place your left hand behind you, holding onto the club. Fully extend your arm up and above your head allowing the lower hand to be pulled up. This will work on shoulder and back mobility as well as scapular stability – all vital for better rotation in the swing.
4. External shoulder rotation
Have your left arm at a right angle with the elbow pointing away from you. Place the club on the outside of your forearm and wrap your thumb around the shaft of the club. Now take a grip of the club beneath the elbow with your other hand and pull the club across your body as far as you can keeping your shoulders back and elbow up. This improves shoulder mobility which helps with club plane and release pattern through impact.
5. Standing quad stretch
This is an exercise I’m sure we have all completed sometime during our lives and although very basic, it can be very beneficial when done correctly. Standing on your left leg, bend your right leg from the knee behind you. Pull the foot as close to your bottom as possible until a stretch is felt across the front of the leg. A little tip to make sure you’re getting everything out of this is to feel that you tuck your pelvis so your belt line is flat and not falling forward. Another feeling is to squeeze your glutes. This exercise will help lengthen your quadriceps and hip flexors, vital for hip mobility throughout the swing.
Incorporate these stretches after every workout and you’ll be moving, feeling and playing better golf in no time.
Matthew Brookes is a PGA teaching professional and golf specific fitness trainer at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club’s Peter Cowen Academy Dubai.