Flexibility can boost your longevity and distance but increasing it is sometimes easier said than done.
Not all golfers can contort themselves into stretches due to stiff joints, so I want to look in a little more detail about how to deal with one of the most common physical restrictions affecting golfers.
Stiffness in the joints can kill your desire to get out on the range or the course. Stiff joints inhibit both shoulder and hip rotation, causing golfers to change their swings to accommodate pain points. The kinds of swing shapes that emerge from these compensations aren’t usually going to blast the ball 250+ yards every time.
In fact, when you add extra hip rotation to compensate for poor shoulder turn or swing harder with the arms to make up for poor wrist hinge, you are more likely to lose consistency and distance.
Still, for many golfers, simply getting the ball in play is a victory, given the amount of stiffness they feel on a day to day basis.
Here are some things that all golfers need to do to keep their joints in good condition.
Eat Well and Eat Wisely
The first thing that I’d recommend is switching to a Primal diet.
One of the amazing things about the Primal diet is that is seems to fit in almost perfectly with recommendations from Arthritis experts. For example, the Arthritis Foundation recommends radically cutting back your sugar consumption, avoiding pizza and cheese – even bread.
Instead, they suggest eating foods that limit inflammation like fresh fruits, fish, olive oil, nuts and green vegetables.
Stay Active But Don’t Overdo It
Golfers with joint problems also need to work out regularly to prevent the pain getting worse, but long, arduous gym sessions should be avoided. Short bursts of activity spread across the week are more effective than long runs or half an hour on an exercise bike.
Work Your Shoulders to Maintain Good Rotation
Specific stretches also have big impacts on how loose you feel. For instance, working your shoulders every day will have huge benefits for your distance. A few cross arm rotations every morning could be enough.
Hold both arms out in front of you. Now move your left arm so that it is pointing 90 degrees to the right and drags your left shoulder a little with it. Place your right arm on your left shoulder and look 90 degrees to your left. Hold for a few seconds, then reverse the move.
Knot golf stretches are another good exercise. This time, lie face down. Move your left arm across your body so that it point to the right and your right arm so that it points left. Stretch in this position for 20-30 seconds, then switch over your arms.
Keep Your Hips Nice and Loose
A few simple exercises can also allow your hips to move smoothly throughout the swing.
Sometimes, these exercises are incredibly simple. For example, front back leg swings are exactly what the name suggests. Stand next to a firm surface like a table. Place your hand on the table and swing your leg forwards, then back like a pendulum, feeling a stretch every time.
Then, turn round and try some side to side leg swings. Always keep your spine as straight as possible and try to move from the hips, without engaging your torso.
Fire hydrants are also a good idea. Take a position on your hands and knees like a sprinter’s squat (with your knees on the ground). Now, raise one knee and move it in a circular motion, making the circle as broad as you can.
Put Diet, Exercise and Moderation Together to Solve Your Stiffness
There’s more to say about combating stiffness, but that’s the basics. A combination of adopting a Primal diet and strategically working out to keep your joints in good working order can head-off stiffness before it becomes chronic.
By making simple lifestyle changes, you will feel your rotation returning and generate more power as you wind up your backswing.