Sunday, March 6, 2011
Stretches: Enjoy A Pain-free Game!
We all grow by stretching and just like any other aspect of your life, a little stretching can literally grow your golf game to your next level of excellence. Unless you're a circus performer, or your name is Jimmy Olson, it's highly-unlikely that you enjoy "elastic-lad" flexibility in your body. And yet, flexibility is key to increasing your range of motion and your enjoyment of pain-free performance in your golf. Here are a few simple stretches that will bring a whole new fluidity to your game.
Stretch as You Go – With the repeated motions of our game you often don't notice those little tensions creep into our body until you are reaching for the aspirin. Stretching as you go from hole to hole is a great way to maintain a state of relaxation and fluidity in your strokes. Check-out these simple easy stretches and see those aches and pains just melt away!
Backswing Stretch - You can do the backswing stretch by standing in your golf posture with your arms hanging initially mid-front with your right-hand over your left (reverse if you are a leftie) so that the backs of your hands touch. Exert a slight pressure between the backs of your hands as you extend your arms through the upper range of your golf swing. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat.
Low Back Stretch - Spread your legs about twice shoulder-width apart. Keep both feet flat on the ground and bend your knees to lower your buttocks until your hamstrings are parallel to the ground. Keep your torso as close to the vertical as you can and your hands in prayer position at mid chest. Once your elbows are at knee height, simply press the elbows outwards against the inside of each corresponding knee, exerting pressure against the palms.
Hamstring Stretch - Start in a relaxed upright position with knees slightly bent. Inhale deeply. On your exhale, hinge forward from the waist while keeping your back straight. Let your head and arms hang loosely. Gradually roll over one vertebra at a time, like a rag doll. Enjoy that long deep exhale as go. If your back/hamstrings are tight, you can relieve any tension by simply bending your knees a little more. Hang in the bent-over position for as long as you like taking long deep breathes and enjoy the great stretch in your lower back and hamstrings. When you are ready, slowly come up, one vertebra at a time and return to an erect upright posture. Repeat 5 times or as necessary.
Neck Rolls – Here are four neck stretches that will give you all the fluidity you need to keep your eye on the ball with comfort and ease.
Ear to Ear – As you exhale, let your left ear fall gently towards your left shoulder from the neutral position. Feel the wonderful stretch on the opposite side of you neck. Hold for a second and inhale as you come up to neutral. Repeat on the right side. – Repeat 5 times on each side.
Up and Down – Starting with your head in the neutral position, allow your chin to fall downwards towards your chest as you exhale. You'll feel a nice stretch in the back of your neck. As you inhale, slowly reverse the motion bringing your head back through neutral and upwards towards the sky. You'll stretch the front of your neck. – Repeat 5 times.
Left to Right – Starting in neutral position, and keeping your chin parallel with the ground turn your head so that your chin moves towards your left shoulder. Hold for a second before coming back to neutral and repeating on the right side.
Circles - Well they are as the sound. Simply rotate your head downwards and to the left in a circular motion. At the extreme range, start to move your head upwards and eventually to the right when it feels natural. Your eyes will move in a circular motion. Follow the motion upwards and to the right to center so that your eyes now look directly to the heavens. To complete the circle, continue over to your right, downwards and around on the right hand side. At the extreme right, you gaze will start to move downwards and back to the left towards center. At center your gaze will be directly down towards the ground. Repeat 10 times. For counter clockwise, reverse direction and repeat 10 times. Notice the nice movement of this stretch as your head moves around the circle.
A final word - Remember to breathe. Breathe into any areas of tightness or pain and you can enjoy a much more relaxed and enjoyable pain-free game.