Coaches often talk about how flexible leading Tour pros are, and they’re right to do so. If you can rotate your shoulders without needing to engage your lower body, you can coil up much more powerfully.
That’s something you can see with power-hitters like Jason Day and Rory McIlroy. While their shoulders turn well over 90 degrees, their legs remain incredibly quiet.
However, what’s the first rule of Golf Club? Well, if there was one, it would have to be “don’t try to swing like Rory McIlroy”. Ordinary golfers can’t match the athleticism of players like McIlroy and Day, and stretching too aggressively can lead to serious injuries.
This doesn’t mean that flexibility isn’t important. In fact, it’s crucial to extracting every inch of distance from your swing. To engage their power muscles and swing consistently, players in their 50s and 60s need to be as flexible as possible. Staying loose also helps to avoid muscle pulls and tears, enabling golfers to push their bodies harder.
Match Miguel’s Legendary Mobility
Let’s focus on one player in particular to see what kind of benefits flexibility brings.
Everyone knows Miguel Angel Jimenez. The popular Spanish golfer is 52 years old, but hits the ball 290+ yards, competes in majors and has a level of flexibility that puts younger players to shame.
Does he achieve this by working out religiously or running 100 kilometers per week? Absolutely not. Miguel is as famous for his laid-back lifestyle as his physical fitness.
So what’s his secret? If you watch Jimenez on the course, you’ll quickly understand. No players warm up with the intensity of Jimenez. He seems to take pleasure in contorting his body and loosening his muscles.
Before playing, Jimenez starts with knee exercises, then works on his lower back, groin and hamstrings, before he works his torso and arms. He doesn’t hold back either. Knowing his body’s limits, he stretches as far and as energetically he can. That way, he’s ready to wind up his swing.
Stretching Exercises That can Help all Golfers
If you’re reading a blog about how to improve your flexibility, you probably aren’t ready to copy Miguel’s workout routines. But there are exercises you can start straight away that will work towards that kind of fitness level.
The key thing to remember is to be disciplined and systematic about improving your flexibility. If you carry out these exercises on a regular basis, you will soon see major benefits for your golf game.
The Dynamic Twist
Twists are the kind of exercise professional sportsmen do all the time, but amateurs hardly ever bother with. To carry them out, lie on the floor and cross your right leg over your left, with your right knee in the air. Put your left hand on your right knee. Now, turn towards your left, feeling as if you are pushing your right knee towards the ground. Then repeat in the other direction.
Simple Back Stretches
Assume a kneeling position on the ground. Place your arms in front of you, with your palms on the floor. Now, move them forwards but at the same time shift your hips back towards your feet. Slide to the left and then the right to stretch both sides of your back.
The Swing Stretch
For this one, you need to stand up and hold a golf club between two hands. Take a longish step forward with your right leg and bend your body forwards while maintaining your back posture. Now, rotate the golf club to the right until you feel resistance. Hold that position for 30 seconds and repeat for the left side of your body.
These flexibility exercises should be carried out every day. You only need to set aside a few minutes to run through your positions, but the benefits can be massive.
Building my flexibility was a priority as I rebuilt my body, and it now provides me with a range of movement I could only have dreamed about before. Along with core strength it’s one of the keys to longer distance, so don’t neglect it.