Golf: stretch before you swing

Many golfers say theirs don’t feel warmed up until the third or fourth hole–and short shots off the early tees are one result. To help improve golfers’ performance and reduce the risk of injury, the Centinela Biomechanics Lab in Inglewood, California, has come up with a six-minute flexibility routine, which is designed to be followed before the first tee.

Walk briskly for five minutes to warm up the muscles, then do each stretch twice. Finally, hold each position for a count of 10.

Shoulders and neck

These body parts usually feel the crunch of a big drive first. To limber up the neck, stand erect and then tuck your chin and draw it back. You should feel this at the base of the skull.

To simulate the neck movements of a golf swing, turn your head as far as possible to one side. (Keep your body facing forward and don’t turn your shoulders.) With the opposite hand, gently push your chin in the turned direction. Repeat to the other side.

To loosen your shoulders, reach one arm across your body at shoulder height. Use the other arm to pull the arm closer to your body; keep your torso still. Repeat to the other side. Next, grasp your hands behind your back and slowly raise your arms up and back. You should feel this in the front of your shoulders and in your chest.


Rotate your torso by standing with your back toward a tree or other stationary object. Turn your upper body and grab the object without moving your feet. Keep looking over your shoulder as you twist.

For lateral flexibility, put both arms over your head and lock your fingers with the palms down. Reaching as high as you can, bend slowly to one side and hold the stretch; then bend to the opposite side. Keep your arms as straight as possible and your upper arms close to your ears. Be sure you don’t bend forward or move your head out of alignment with your body.

For more information, refer to Women’s Exercise Guide to Better Golf and 30 Exercises for Better Golf, Champion Press, Centinela Hospital Medical Center, 555 E. Hardy St., Inglewood, CA 90301. $7.95 apiece, plus $2 for shipping.

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