FUNCTIONAL FLEXIBILITY FOR THE GOLF SWING
My flexibility program has been developed to enhance any professional, amateur or junior golfer's ROM (Range of Motion), over-all general mobility, to prevent injuries and to increase performance levels. Each specific flexibility exercise is based on the flexibility requirements specific to golf. When certain stretches are done in the same angles as the golf swing, the result obtained is much more substantial than other methods (which are not specific to the golf swing). Latest research has shown that an athlete who incorporates a training program based on sport-specificity will perform at a higher level.
TEN PRINCIPLES FOR A SUCCESSFUL FLEXIBILITY PROGRAM
NOTE: A common and distinct entity I employ in my training program is a flexibility warm-up/cool-down program, which is a structured set of exercises that are done immediately before and after the training program to improve performance and reduce the change of injury. You must warm up the engine before you red-line it; if you don't gradually warm up the body before starting your stretching routine, you decrease performance and increase risk of injury.
1. Correlate your breathing with each stretch.
2. Correlate your stretching to your activity.
3. Stretch your body in anatomical order.
4. Stretch with no pain and you will make gains.
5. Stretch the fascia (connective tissue) first, then the muscle.
6. Stretch each body part in multiple planes of movement.
7. Stretch the entire joint.
8. Stretch with a partner.
9. Stretching method to use: PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation). PNF is regarded as the most efficient stretching method and is composed of 3 phases:
During the first active stretching phase, the muscles to be stretched are actively stretched to the 70% limit of the movement range. This initial stretching movement should be performed slowly and continously. The stretch is held 15-20 seconds. During the second stage the athlete exerts a full 4-secon push against a partner's resistance. Note that no pain should occur. If there is pain, the athlete should try not to flex the muscle as hard. The third and final phase consists of the athlete trying to push the body part further into a stretched position and held for 4-6 seconds (each muscles should follow this routine for 1 to 3 sets).
10. Stretch to accomplish your specific goals.
The principles listed above form the center of my program. When these have been followed, embraced and practiced daily by my clients, their flexibility and golf performance has been increased significantly.
RELAXATION AND CONSISTENCY ARE KEYS TO SUCCESS
One of the most important benefits of my flexibility program is the potential promotion of relaxation. Physiologically, relaxation is the key to preventing muscular tension. High levels of muscular tension enhance several side effects, such as decreasing sensory awareness and raising blood pressure. It also wastes energy, since a contracting muscle requires more energy than a relaxed muscle. Furthermore, habitually tense muscles tend to cut off their own circulation. Reduced blood supply results in a lack of oxygen which decreases the over-all performance of the muscles throughout the body.
Consistency is synonymous with success. Your flexibility program should become part of your daily routine. Research has shown that an athlete must stretch twice a day to increase his or her over-all range of motion (ROM).
Recommendations for safely increasing and improving your joint flexibility:
Know your body's anatomy, its limitations, and any past injuries.
Learn the correct way to stretch through research or hiring a professional trainer.
Always warm up before attempting any stretching.
Once a muscle is warmed up, it will be easier for the muscle to be stretched. The majority of all stretching should be done after an activity is completed.
Always stretch one muscle group at a time.
When performing your flexibility program, never try to overstretch or force the muscle to stretch beyond its natural range of motion.
Stretching can be done anytime you feel the need to stretch.
This can take place before, during, and after your golf game.
A consistent stretching program will not only add distance to your golf game, it will also help in preventing injuries.