There’s a new member of the country club showing up every time we get to the pro shop. That gray metal cage, also known as the TRUE Stretching Cage, is becoming a staple in pro shops and golf clubhouses everywhere. I can’t say that I have seen anyone use it my 16 years as a golfer, but their presence sends a powerful message to golfers. “Use me and improve your golf game” the stretching cage silently screams to all players rushing by to make their tee time. I can’t deny that stretching, although painful sometimes, makes us all feel better and more limber. It’s also true that we should all be stretching the areas of our bodies that are overactive and causing imbalances in our bodies. However, is stretching right before your tee time a good idea? Research in different sports has shown us that stretching a muscle can actually decrease the amount of strength and explosiveness that the muscle can generate when done before having to perform. So what’s the deal? Should we use the damn cage or not? Thankfully for us, science has spoken again!
A group of researchers from the Institute for Clinical Exercise & Health Science at The University of the West of Scotland, set out to find out the effects that stretching has on golf driving performance. The scientists divided a group of twelve competitive golfers into two groups. One group was selected to do a static stretching routine while the other group did a dynamic stretching routine. What is the difference between static and dynamic stretching? Static stretching requires you to hold a maximum stretch for a determined period of time, while dynamic stretching requires you to perform active movements that stretch the muscles but don't hold them in the end position. After their respective stretching routines, the golfers were tested on carry distance, accuracy, and ball contact. The results were very interesting. The group that performed the dynamic stretches was significantly better in terms of driving distance and accuracy versus the group that performed the static stretches! Why? Very simple. Dynamic stretches not only stretch the muscle fibers, they also warmup and prepare the muscles for movement. This makes DS the most effective way to stretch before your round.
Next time you show up at the course, feel free to ignore the stretching cage. Let’s learn some dynamic stretches you can do instead. For more stretches and the best way to warmup before a round, don't forget to check out the Warmup Madness post . Happy stretching!
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Special thanks to Swagg Lifestyle Brand for my lovely outfit. Check them out at http://swagg.co.za/
Before you go ditching static stretching forever, remember that it can help increase range of motion in tight and overactive muscles when used together with methods such as foam rolling and muscle activation drills like the ones shown in this post. I foam roll and stretch the muscles that I am trying to inhibit before a workout to allow opposing muscles to work better. One example of this is stretching the hip flexor muscles before a leg/glute workout (see post here -links to post).
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