15 Minutes to Healthier Golf and Tennis

Carol Stratton, PT
Physical and Occupational Therapy
Cooper Bone and Joint Institute

golfstretch_200Proper warm-up exercises prepare the muscles, tendons and joints of your body to maximize performance and help prevent injuries. All exercises can be performed with a cane, piece of PVC pipe, golf club or tennis racquet.

These exercises should be done after a brief warm up. A warm up could consist of jogging/walking for at least five minutes; or hitting light tennis ground strokes or practicing golf swings for five minutes. Each stretch should be held for 15 to 30 seconds and repeated three to five times. Move in and out of each stretch slowly, and do not bounce while stretching.

You should not feel pain with any of these stretches. Performing this routine three to four times a week will help you increase your flexibility and your ability to play healthier and happier sports.

These stretches are general guidelines only. You may want to consult a physical therapist for a personalized golf performance enhancement program.

Posterior Shoulder Stretch

Pretend you have an itch between your shoulder blades. Hold your left arm across your body and grab the back of your left elbow with your right hand. Pull the left elbow in as far as you can so that your left fingertips can reach your upper back. Repeat for the right shoulder.

Anterior Shoulder and Chest Stretch

Hold a club with both hands behind your back, elbows extended. Now stick out your chest while you raise the club back away from your body and hold.

Forearm Stretches

Hold your left arm out in front of you with your elbow locked straight. Now take your right hand and bend (flex) your left wrist and hand as far down as they will go and hold (remember to keep your elbow straight). Now repeat the stretch but this time turn your left palm up and use your right hand to extend the left wrist and hand as far as they will go. Repeat for the right side.

Lateral Trunk Stretch

Hold a club/stick with both hands over your head. Bend as far as you can to the left and hold. Slowly return to the upright position and repeat to the right side.

Calf Stretch

Keep your left heel on the ground as you lean forward, flexing your right knee as you go. You will feel a stretch in your left calf muscles. Repeat for the right side. If necessary, you can hold on to the golf cart or a tree for balance as you lean forward.

Hamstring Stretch

Stand upright and place your left foot on the golf cart or bench. Now bend forward at the waist while keeping your back straight. Repeat for the right side.

Quad Stretch

Stand with your feet close together. Now grab your left ankle behind you and flex your knee as far as it will go and hold (your left heel should hit your buttocks). Repeat for the right side. If necessary, hold on to the golf cart or a tree for balance. To get the most out of this stretch, keep the trunk straight and avoid leaning forward.

Trunk Rotation Stretch

You could do this stretch standing or seated. You can use the golf cart seat or a bench. Keeping your hips facing forward, rotate your body all the way to the side. You can do this standing holding onto a club and rotating.

Backswing Stretch

Put both hands on club. Drop upper body down against club to feel a stretch in back of shoulder. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Stretch on both sides.

Lunge Stretch

While leaning on club, lunge down with your left leg positioned forward with the knee bent and foot flat on the ground while the right leg is positioned behind you. Make sure that your left knee is directly over your toes. Extend your arms to feel stretch in shoulder, trunk, and hip flexors. Repeat on opposite side/opposite leg.

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