Performing the optimal and stress-free golf swing requires specific levels of posture, balance, flexibility, strength, and power. Unfortunately as we age, there are natural decreasing levels in each of these physical elements within our body, all of which are counterproductive to the execution of the golf swing.
One very important step the senior golfer can take to counteract the aging process and improve their physical performance factors for golf involves the implementation of golf-specific conditioning exercises. Over time, the consistent and progressive utilization of these golf-specific exercises will improve a senior player's posture, balance, flexibility levels, muscular strength capacities, and power outputs relative to the golf swing, allowing them the opportunity to execute a more efficient and stress-free golf swing.
The first step to "turning back the clock" of the aging process is through effective flexibility training. This goal can be achieved through the utilization of golf-specific flexibility exercises to develop the ranges of motion required to execute the golf swing. One such exercise I utilize with the senior golfer for this purpose is called the 'Side Rotation Stretch'. The 'Side Rotation Stretch' is a great exercise to develop the rotary flexibility required of the upper body to perform a full shoulder turn in the back swing
Lie on your side with both hips and knees bent to the 90°/90° position, a pillow/rolled towel between your knees, and a pillow supporting your head and neck.
Place both hands together in front of your chest (Picture A).
Inhale, then slowly exhale as you rotate your upper torso back and reach one arm behind you as far as possible.
As you rotate, be sure to maintain a stable pelvis, hips and leg position, until you feel a comfortable stretch in your chest, shoulder, spine and/or hip regions (Picture B).
Hold this gentle stretch position for one full swing visualization OR until you feel a complete melting/ softening of the initial stretch.
As the stretch feeling gradually releases you may be able to rotate your upper torso back farther into a new stretch position.
You may also perform this same stretch by placing one hand behind your neck and then rotate back.
Submitted by: Dr. Paul Callaway,
Golf-Specific Training/Fitness Specialist
Contact Paul: Pcallaway@Cantigny.org, or call 630.260.8199