While golf is known for being a low-impact and gentle sport played by all ages, anyone who has just started golf ,or has been playing for a while, will attest to how playing golf works muscles that you likely never used before. Common injuries in golf are often due to overworking certain muscles, particularly around the ribs and lower back, which can lead to more time off the course and even serious injuries. Flexibility is also a vital component of golf; the more fluid and relaxed your swing, the better you will be at striking the ball. This is why stretching before play as part of your warmup and working on your overall mobility will improve your overall game. These are 5 of the best stretches for golfers.

1. Standing Back Extension

This simple exercise can be done anywhere and is an effective way to prevent tightness in the lower back, especially if you are playing 18 holes. All you have to do is stand shoulder width apart, put your hands on your lower back, arch your back, and hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat 5 times. This will loosen up your lower back muscles and help prevent any fatigue or strain while on the course.

2. Seated Hip Stretch

Good hip mobility can have a massive impact on your game and is often overlooked by many amateur golfers. Poor hip mobility will often lead to decreased drive and power in your swing, as well as putting more stress on your lower back. An effective stretch is the seated hip stretch. Sit up straight on a chair or bench, or even on the floor, and bring one foot up so your ankle rests on the opposite knee. Both knees should be at 90 degrees. Slowly lean forward and bring the heel of your foot on the floor up until you feel a slight stretch in your hip flexor. Hold for 20-30 seconds.

3. Hamstring Stretch

Tight hamstrings can affect your golf as they create the strong foundation that keeps you balanced. Players with tight hamstrings will affect your hip hinge, which in turn will reduce your ability to deliver power. In order to keep your hamstrings flexible, you can do a simple hamstring stretch. Put your right heel on a chair or step and keep your leg straight. Lean forward and then rotate your body to the right and hold for 20-30 seconds. You can use a golf club behind the shoulders for better stabilization.

4. Elbow Stretch

Your elbow is a part of your body that you likely don’t consider needs stretching, yet golfer’s elbow is a very common injury for those who play often. Golfer’s elbow is a pain in the tendons of your forearm muscles. The stretch is very simple: you extend your hand in front of you, palm facing down, and use your other hand to pull your fingers down towards your body. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 5 times on each side. You can also try with your palm facing up.

5. Shoulder Flossing

This stretch will loosen the shoulders and help with the swing movement. Simply grab your golf club, or a stick or gym band, and hold it in front of your body. Keeping your arms straight, bring the club as far back as possible over your head. Like the standing back extension, this is a good stretch to do as a quick warm-up before you play.

Mobility is an important part of golf that is often overlooked. The above stretches will help prevent injury and loosen up the body to help make your swing more fluid and powerful. Physical fitness is also an important part of golf and will improve all aspects of your game. For more information on the importance of fitness in golf and why you should pay more attention, do read our post here.