Just because you have trained your body to swing the club better both on the course and in the gym, doesn’t mean you can show up 5 minutes before your tee time and have a master performance. No one can – including the pros. Best case scenario, you’ll start to loosen up on the front nine and find your swing at the turn (with a few sacrificial strokes). Worst case scenario, you’ll tweak your back sticking your tee in the ground.
Most pros show up to the course hours before their tee time. If you can arrive at the course 30 to 45 minutes before you’re supposed to play, you will have plenty of time to prep both physically and mentally before you even hit that first drive. Heading to the first tee with a primed body and the right mindset will put you at an immediate advantage over your competition.
The goal of your warm-up should be to prepare you both mentally and physically for your golf round. It is designed to prepare you for upcoming competition and can improve performance while reducing the risk of injury.
Positive effects on performance include:
- Faster muscle contraction and relaxation
- Improvements in the rate of force development and reaction time
- Improvements in muscle strength and power
- Improved oxygen delivery
- Increased blood flow to active muscles
- An increased psychological preparedness for performance
The warm-up should be structured in a way that addresses the specific physiological, biochemical, and psychological requirements of the sport. A pre-round warm-up is designed to mobilize your body, activate your central nervous system, and engage the muscles required for swinging the club properly.
One structure that has been adopted by many coaches and athletes because it addresses all of the key aspects of an effective warm-up is the Raise, Activate, Mobilize, and Potentiate (RAMP) protocol. This builds on both a general and specific structure of warm-up through three key phases.
- The first phase of RAMP involves activities that RAISE the level of physical parameters – heart rate, blood flow, body temperature – that you would see in a general warm-up, but also raise the skill level of the athlete. Unlike traditional general warm-up activities (such as general aerobic exercises), these exercises attempt to stimulate the movement patterns or skill patterns of the golf swing. Not only is the key movement and skill targeted, but also the psychological preparation of the golfer. Each exercise is to be done for 30 seconds each with minimal (0-15 seconds) recovery in between.
- March in Place – Knees Up and Out
- Ankle Jumps
- Rapid Fire Hops
- The second phase, ACTIVATING and MOBILIZING, would be comparable to the stretching part if a warm-up. The focus on mobility includes a combination of motor control, stability, and flexibility required to move through the range of motion in your golf swing.
- Leg Swings: Do 10 reps with your right leg and then 10 reps with your left leg.
- Deadlift: Do 5 reps above the knee, 5 reps below the knee, 5 reps mid-shin, and then 5 reps to the ankles.
- Three Step Overhead Squat: Do 5 quarter squats club neck height, 5 squats to parallel club forehead height, and then 5 full deep squats club overhead.
- Reverse Lunge with Rotation: Do 10 reps, alternating between stepping back with the right leg and stepping back with the left leg.
- Club Assisted Thoracic Opener: Do 10 reps with your right arm and then 10 reps with your left arm.
- Club Assisted Single-Leg Rotation: Do 10 reps rotating your upper body to the right and then 10 reps rotating your upper body to the left.
- The third phase, POTENTIATION, focuses on the intensity of your golf swing. This phase introduces sports-specific movements that progress in intensity until the athlete is performing at the intensity required for the competition. Each exercise is to be done max effort for 6 seconds with sufficient recovery (30-60 seconds) in between exercises. Exercises done in a golf stance need to be done with a heavy focus on maintaining a strong back while engaging your core throughout the exercise.
- Speed Moguls
- Torso Rotations
- Golf Club Rotations
Find a grassy area with plenty of space to move and get ready to be amazed by how golf-ready your body will feel after doing this pre-round warm-up!