[Written by Arnie Kander].
Before you get up on the tee box and swing away, Detroit Pistons strength and conditioning coach Arnie Kander suggests you take a few minutes to maximize your swing and warm up.
What I see, and I’ve golfed a lifetime, is there is always a rushing process when you get to the first hole. Sometimes it’s 30 seconds, a minute, do not rush the process. Take your time; go through all of the body parts that need to be warmed up. Golf is a sport that involves multiple joints that have to move together. If they move together, not only will you have more flexibility in your golf swing, but you’ll have a lot more productivity and you’ll feel a whole lot better about playing golf. So before you get to the first hole, there are a few simple movements. You’ll need about 10 minutes to warm up:
1. Ankle Flexibility: Golf is a game of lowering your center of gravity and is also a game of using your ankles to begin the initiation of power. The ankles create a pronation, supination component in golf that can only occur, that transference of power to the ankles, when the ankles have been warmed up. Use the club as a reference tool to keep your back square, unlock your ankles and do some ankle flexes. Do 10-15 repetitions.
2. Small Rotations: Get into a golf stance with the club in your hands horizontally, grabbing the top and bottom of the club. Feet are square, the club close to the body and begin to do very small rotations without turning your legs. You’re unlocking your ribs and loosening up your shoulder blades. Do as many as you need to until your back starts to feel warm.
3. Extended Rotations: Extend your arms out and continue to do rotations without turning your legs. You’re starting to warm up the back and shoulders. This will give you the maximum flexibility through your back.
4. Transfer of Weight Rotations: Extend the club and let yourself shift your weight as you come through. It’s still level to the chest, unlocking the back shoulder. You’re beginning to transfer the weight and you’re beginning to unlock the front hip.
5. Lower the club: Engage the back. Lower the club down, take the movement slow, do not take it to your end range. Slow, controlled and methodical.
6. Unlocking the hip: Put one foot behind, as if we’re stretching our calf out. If it’s the right leg, hold the club in front and push the club out across so the club is actually facing the left side of your body. What this is doing is connecting the shoulder to the chest to the hip to the calf. In a golf swing, that translates to the ability to come through a swing and unlock it. Then do the same on the other side. So now we’ve warmed up the ankles, we’ve warmed the hips up, we’ve worked on the rotations, and we’ve warmed the spine, what’s left? Get on that first tee, line it up, and take the club back slowly. You hit, you follow through and now you’ve got the maximum flexibility and the potential performance of a golfer.
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