Did you know that by just warming up you can improve your performance? But not just any warm up...
We all know the demands that golf expects of the body, the appropriate levels of range of motion and flexibility of the joints and soft tissue are to be expected however it is emerging in research that the immediate effects of passive stretching can be detrimental to sports performance, including golf.
Golf is an explosive sport which like sprinting relies on power output. Research has shown that static stretching or 'holding stretches' are detrimental to performance in golf as opposed to dynamic or 'moving stretches'.
Static stretch has been used for decades as an essential component of a warm up, it is described as holding a maximal stretch for a period of time leading to both a relaxation and concurrent elongation of the stretched muscle.
In a study by Haded et al. in 2014 they found that explosive power can be impaired for up to 24 hours post static stretching. Not only is power affected but it has also been found to decrease strength and decrease sensitivity in terms of reflexes.
On the other hand Dynamic stretching was found to have a 1.6% increase in power output even up to 24 hours later.
A study compared 3 different warm ups and their effect on golf performance. They compared an active dynamic warm up which was just practice golf swings with an active dynamic warm up including resistance training with a barbell and finally an active dynamic warm up with a functional resistance training programme using a theraband.
Of significance was that the warm up with the theraband improved 3 factors of performance namely:
Consistent Ball Strike
Maximal Driving Distance
Smash Factor (energy transferred from club head to golf ball)
A possible reason for this may be that functional resistance training aims to enhance the coordination between the muscles and the nervous system leading to a more coordinated movement.
An example of a warm up exercise using functional resistance is a lunge and rotation using theraband.