golf warm up exercises
Golf warm up exercises
Golfers need to be educated about the benefits of warm-ups, particularly for injury prevention, according to a group of Australian researchers. A survey of more than a thousand randomly-selected amateur golfers from three different golfing venues in Melbourne in June 1999 confirmed the widely-held suspicion that most golfers don’t bother warming up.
More than 70% of the sample stated that they never or seldom warmed up, while a mere 3.8% reported warming up on every occasion they played.
Golfers claiming to warm up stated that they generally performed stretches (89.6%), ball hits (27.1%) or air swings (23%), with only 0.2% performing aerobic exercise.
The most common reasons given for warming up included:
- To play better (74.5%)
- To prevent injury (27%)
- Because everyone else does (13.2%)
Common reasons for not warming up were:
- Don’t need to (38.7%)
- Don’t have enough time (36.4%)
- Can’t be bothered (33.7%)
Does it matter, you may ask? Well, yes, it does from the point of view of injury prevention, since golf is a popular sport with no age limits, and the tendency for the players to be older – and often not in good physical condition – contributes to injury risk. Ironically – but perhaps predictably – it was the older golfers in this study who were least likely to warm up.
The researchers point out that, according to emergency departments and sports medicine clinics, golfers commonly suffer sprains and other overuse injuries as well as traumatic acute injuries, falls and impacts with golf balls. Pro-golfers have a higher rate of injury (lifetime injury risk of 89% compared with 57-62% for amateurs), but amateurs tend to have less well-conditioned bodies and therefore place greater stress on their musculo-skeletal systems during the golf swing.
An appropriate warm-up for golfers would include aerobic exercise to raise body temperature, followed by stretching the ‘golf muscles and joints’ (hands, wrists, forearms shoulders, lower back, chest, trunk, hamstrings and groin) and, finally, by a series of golf swings with progressive increases in the range of movement and vigour.
In this study, golfers who claimed to know what sort of warm-up reduced injury risk were more likely to warm up than those who didn’t. And the researchers conclude: ‘Knowledge of the injury prevention benefits of warming up appears to be a significant motivator of positive attitudes and behaviours. Different educational strategies are likely to be needed to combat the range of negative behaviours and attitudes.’
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 6 (2):210-215
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