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Will static stretches decrease your driving distance?

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It looks goofy, but Miguel Angel Jimenez’ dynamic pre-round warm up helps him hit longer drivers and avoid injuries. 

In golf, static stretches were once considered the best way to increase your range of motion. I don’t follow this belief, but I do understand how athletes have been made to believe that it’s beneficial. What I suggest is implementing a different pre-game warm up immediately.

Why? Static stretches alone can actually decrease the distance you hit the ball and increase your risk of injury, amongst other things.

Think about your body like a car. Would you start your car and immediately rev the engine to the redline? Hopefully, you said no.

Your body works in a similar way. Static stretching, as your primary warmup, pulls muscle fibers with a constant force for a period of time. This results in micro tears. Just like a rope under heavy tension, as you continue to hold a constant stretch the muscles begin to tear more and more. At a certain point, restricted muscles freeze their movement in an attempt to create time to repair themselves. However, the process will take longer, because adequate micronutrients have not been shuttled into the muscles to assist in warming, repair and increased range of motion.

That’s why golfers need to get the blood flowing first, or their muscles could become overstressed or inflamed, which not only increases the opportunity for strains or tears but restricts the range of motion that is crucial when completing a full, powerful golf swing.

So how can you address this issue?

A good dynamic warm up mimics the swing pattern, producing results that simple static stretches can not. It takes you through a full range of motion, a high level of neuromuscular recruitment through concentric and eccentric contractions that produce maximal muscle stiffness. You can slowly introduce swing weights; however, starting with your heaviest club is usually the best option.

You will notice over a short period of time that you are properly lubricating joints, actively warming tissue and may begin to perspire. Over time, you will notice that your flexibility off the course has increased. You’ll also notice that your muscles will adapt to this type of warm up, so varying intensity and sequence might help. That’s completely acceptable.

Below is one of the best video examples of a dynamic workout that I’ve seen. I recommend that you follow this video from start to finish. The purpose is to gradually build up the body’s level of preparedness for each match, which is why you should follow the sequence. As I mentioned earlier, however. it’s perfectly acceptable to change the sequence a bit if it seems to be getting boring.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efwevFGpOyk&feature=youtu.be

Next time, I will address why it is best to hold off on static stretches until after your match.

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The reality is that the best athletes in the world have three attributes that set them apart from the rest. Supercompensation to physical abilities, like strength, or biomechanical adaptations, think an abnormal swing pattern, are what define some top tier athletes. As a multi-sport athlete, Chris was inspired by the notion of improving performance. Therefore, he sought to achieve immersive education. Chris possesses a Master's of Science in Applied Exercise Science with a significant focus on Strength & Conditioning. He's owner of www.assistperformance.com, which focuses on bringing you more success on the course. Follow him on twitter @gotopchedda

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. juliette forsgren

    Jul 16, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    OMG! This video warmup is so wrong. I caution anyone over 20 years old to send this link to your chiropractor and get a second opinion. Right off the bat the in the video the golfer is rolling his head around his neck and back making a circle. This is a recipe for disaster. Please, I urge you all to get another opinion before you do ANY of these moves.

    • Chris Costa

      Jul 23, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      While I appreciate your comment, its a bit of an exaggeration. Can you tell me what else you believe to be wrong with the video?

  2. Mow

    Jul 16, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Warm up like a soccer player. That’s the best way. It’ll not only warm you up, but if you do this on a constant basis, it will keep you fit, rhythmic, limber and strong. There is nothing wrong with static stretches mixed in with it, as long as you are already at a fairly limber level to begin with. You can’t expect some 9-5 office worker who sits on his butt all day who only plays on the weekends with no practice to all of a sudden to be able to move around like a Tour athlete, you have to reach that athletic level first before you even start any kind of stretches anyway. No amount of dynamic warm up is going to help if you don’t already have mobility

  3. John

    Jul 15, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Chris –

    Excellent article and video regarding dynamic stretching/warm-up. Thanks for the info. Great stuff. Is there anything you’d recommend for stretching hands/wrists/fingers prior to playing golf? Thanks again.

    • Chris Costa

      Jul 15, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Thanks John! Are asking for a specific ailment? Stiffness? Tendonitis? Many of the movements (in the video) involve arm action, which prepares forearm muscles for a round. Since there are muscle insertions before and after the wrist, you could incorporate some extra flexion and extension movements of both, wrist and elbow joints, if you notice that’s a troubled area for you.

      My only concern is laxity or inflammation leading to potential tendonitis relating to overstimulating those muscles or overuse of weak, inhibited muscles. If you show signs of tendonitis, I would suggest getting checked out.

      Thanks for your comment!

  4. Adam

    Jul 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Those look great, however that is a ridiculous amount of moves and most of those people over the age of 28 can’t hope to do properly.

    • Chris Costa

      Jul 15, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Adam,

      That’s really not true. It may take more work to get there for the older golfer, but everyone needs to work towards their flexibility regardless of age. I’ve worked with teenagers with poor flexibility and a 71 year old golfer with 2 herniated discs that has great flexibility (that continues to increase) considering his health.

  5. Carlos Danger

    Jul 15, 2014 at 10:16 am

    with 2 kids under 3 at home, my warm up usually consists of my running from the locker room to the tee box and my stretching drill is me hitting my snap hook breakfast ball

  6. Pingback: Will static stretches decrease your driving distance? | Spacetimeandi.com

  7. Mark

    Jul 14, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    I think you’ve just answered why I spray the ball more and hit it shorter on days where I’ve had time to throughly stretch verses days when I’m rushed and only get in a quick hip and thigh stretch, some shoulder windmills, and a few warm up swings. Old dog learning a new trick….thanks.

  8. Paul

    Jul 14, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    isn’t miguel a 50 year old man who probably drives the ball further than my 30 year old body can?
    seems like he knows his stuff, how many european titles in your 40’s do you have?

    just teasing 😛

    • paul

      Jul 16, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      I know people who smoked and lived to 90+ years. Doesn’t mean it was good for em.

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