I frequently hear from many golfers this time of year asking where do they start when preparing for the golf season. Hopefully they are not just starting to prepare. The best time to start preparing is a couple of months ago. With that in mind, it is never too late.
For many in the country the winter presents a whole different activity profile. Short days inhibit outdoor activities. Snow has to be moved so shoveling can becomes one’s main exercise demand. Most golfers I see who have compromised their physical conditioning throughout winter present with a common pattern: tightness and inflexibility in the shoulders and hips.
Prolonged sitting and walking on icy sidewalks will do that to the body. If you do not address these changes you will likely have a host of aberrant swing changes to deal with as you start golf. To minimize these changes or avoid them completely you must start with shoulder and hip mobility.
Specifically the anterior or front part of the shoulder has to be addressed. Shoveling snow, working a a desk all day and bad posture all fosters tightness in the front part of the shoulder. Anterior shoulder tightness not only limits the width of your swing, but promotes shoulder injury once you begin to golf.
The front or anterior aspect of the hips must also be addressed. Prolonged sitting, flexing the hips with snow shoveling or walking in snow all tighten the front of the hips. Tight hips will inhibit the turning of the hips that the golf swing demands. Lower back pain can be the result and altered muscle activation patterns will arise.
I would advise you perform stretches for these areas twice per day, preferably morning and evening. Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds for one repetition only.
1. Stand with your arm straight out and hand on a wall at shoulder height. Turn your body away to stretch the front of your shoulder.
2. Stand in a doorway with your elbows and hands on each door casing. Lean into doorway until you feel a stretch in the front of your shoulders.
3. Lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat. Let your knees fall to the right, hold 30-60 seconds, then let them fall to the left for 30-60 seconds.
4. Lying on your back, pull one knee to your opposite shoulder, hold 30-60 seconds. Then do the other leg.
For further exercises go to www.tomlafountain.com and look for exercise protocol.