Off Season Stretching

Last week, the hubs and I were on the golf course in sunglasses and short sleeved shirts.  Then it rained for a bajillion days straight.  No, really.  Yesterday, Oxford saw its first snow flurries of the season and today it’s sunny again, although still relatively chilly.  But you know what they say about weather in the South.  If you don’t like the weather, just wait ten minutes.  Amirite?

I’ve been investigating things to do to improve my game during the winter months, and I think I’ve found a few things to focus on.   Since I just started playing golf last year, I’ve not had to deal with this issue before.  Before now, I just assumed that golfers just stopped when it got cold and then picked right back up again when it warmed up.  Now that I’m actually a golfer  hacker, I can see why this was one of the dumber of my many assumptions about the sport.  So here’s what I’m planning to do in the winter months in the hopes that maybe when the weather warms up (which could be ten minutes or ten weeks from now in the Crooked Letter) my game won’t be as bad as it was when last season ended.  I’ll be working on off season stretching, strength training, and swing training.  Here are the stretches that the interwebs tell me are most important.  I’ll be doing these daily.

Off Season Stretching

I learned the hard way in 2011 that real exercise calls for good stretching.  All the Gatorate Prime and Recover in the world won’t help you feel better than roadkill unless you stretch.

Try these stretches to keep you limber through the cold minutes months:

Side Stretch: With your feet and shoulders squared, bend to the side  and reach over your head with your hand.  Keep the other hand on you hip. Remain straight and don’t bend down.  Hold for five  seconds, then do the other side.

Triceps Stretch: Clasping your hands in front of you with your , pull your arms straight up over your head.  Gently push your hands down behind your head.  Hold for five  seconds.

Shoulder Stretch: While standing straight up, move your left arm across your chest.  Place it in the crook of your right arm while bent at a 90 degree angle so the left arm is pinned to your chest. Hold for 5 seconds.  Then stretch the right arm.

Neck Stretch:   Looking straight ahead with your feet planted shoulder width apart,  slowly roll your neck to the left and hold for five seconds. Then roll to the right for five seconds.  Last, look down  holding the stretch for about  five seconds, then to the right for five seconds and finally roll down to the center, pointing your chin at your chest. This stretch is meant to be done slowly and fluidly.  If you do it right, it’ll feel amazing.  If you overexert, you’ll end up with Batman Neck.*

Rotating lunges: Grab a golf club at each end and put it behind your head and on top of your shoulders.  Take a long step  forward and lunge.  While in your lunge, turn your upper body towards the bent knee.  Hold for 5 seconds, then do the other leg.

Hip Rotations: Bend over slightly at the hips so your spine is in a neutral position.  Put your club behind your back in the crook of  your arms.  Rotate your shoulders left for a few seconds, then right for a few seconds.  Repeat twice.

Rotator Cuff Stretch: Hold the center of the club straight in front of you.  Rotate the club to the left, then the right.  Repeat with the other arm.  Repeat twice.

*Batman Neck is the professional term I use to describe how one feels when they’ve pulled a muscle in their neck, shoulder, or upper back and it hurts to move their neck freely.  This causes the injured person to have move the entire upper body to see things in their periphory, much like the way Batman’s suit causes him to move.

If you have any other great ideas for stretching, I’d love to hear them.  Next week, I’ll go into detail about swing strength and training exercises.

Y’all have a great weekend!

P.S.  Shout out to James “Bubba” Gross over at Aramark, who reads our blog regularly!  Thanks, buddy!

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