Golf Stretches to Improve Your Swing and Reduce Back Pain

If you're a golfer, you know the toll those swings can take on your back.  Stiff, achy muscles are no joke when you're trying to crush it on the course. But here's the good news: a few simple stretches can make all the difference.

I want to share with you 10 essential back stretches that have been game-changers for countless other golfers. These moves target the key areas that tend to get tight and sore, so you can swing with more power and less pain. Ready to level up your golf game? Let's get stretching!

Golf Stretches to Improve Your Swing and Reduce Back Pain

Playing golf is a great way to enjoy low-impact exercise. It's a competitive, social sport that involves frequent walking around a course. But the repetitive motion of swinging your club can cause pain and injury. This commonly affects the arms and back, but it can involve any part of the body because golf swings are full-body movements. The golf swing is a very complex, dynamic set of movements that engages many different muscle groups and joints in the body from head to toe. To move through the required range of motions, those muscles, joints, and tendons must be in good shape. If they aren't, it will show in your swing.

Common Areas of Tightness for Golfers

Typically, that reveals itself in a loss of flexibility and mobility. Muscles become tight, they shorten in length, and they gradually weaken. Simply stated, golfers who have strong, flexible, and functional muscles are much better equipped to effectively perform the strenuous motion of the golf swing than golfers with weak, tight muscles.

Benefits of Stretching for Your Golf Game

I hope you will enjoy and explore these 9 essential stretches for golfers. These stretches can help:

  • relieve golf-related pain
  • reduce your risk for injury
  • improve your overall performance

It's recommended that you do these stretches before and after every round of golf. For optimal results, you should also do a set on your days off.

Essential Golf Stretches: Core, Hip and Back Stretches 

A strong core helps you to transfer power as you transition from the backswing to the downswing, and then through impact. It also helps to stabilize your body and keep your lower back healthy by reducing pressure on the lower spine and pelvis during the swing.

Side-lying stretch

Lie on your side and stretch over a Backbridge so that the highest point of the Backbridge is at your rib cage. With your bottom hand, grab the wrist of your tope hand and extend your arms overhead along the ground. As you progress, add more levels of the Backbridge to increase the stretch and loosen up your side muscles (latissimus dorsi). Switch sides and repeat. The Latissimus Dorsi is the strongest and largest muscle in your back, covering a major part of the middle and lower back area. The Lats range of motion is crucial for a proper golf swing. If limited, the club will be out of position at the top of the backswing, resulting in compensations throughout the rest of the swing. It is also one of the key muscles providing power to the swing. 

Thoracic Spine Mobilization and Extension 

The thoracic spine is the middle and upper portion of your back. It's responsible for rotation during the golf swing. It can limit your ability to make a full turn if it's tight or restricted. This puts extra stress on your lower back and hips. To improve mobility in this area, try this stretch: Lie on your back with a Backbridge under your spine. If you don't have a Backbridge, a foam roller or rolled-up towel will help place it vertically along your spine. Extend your arms straight over your head in front of you, keeping your knees together bent or flat. Hold this position for 2 minutes.

Quadriceps Stretch

For a better golf swing, stretch your quadriceps. These muscles help move your knees, which helps rotate your body. You'll need a bench or chair to do this stretch. Start with your back facing the bench, with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips or clasp your hands in front of your chest. Bend your right knee. Rest the top of your right foot on the bench. Engage your right glute. Your hamstring muscles are in the back of your thighs. They allow knee rotation and thigh extension, letting you turn during a golf swing. To loosen them up, do this stretch. You'll need a golf club and a step. Sit back onto your right ankle and straighten your left leg. Bend forward, maintaining a straight back until you feel a slight pull in your hamstrings. Hold for 30 seconds.

Seated Hip Stretch

If you have tight hips, squatting during a golf swing may be difficult. It also limits how well you can rotate your body. To open your hips, try this move: Sit up straight on a bench, a chair, or the floor. Put your left ankle on top of your right thigh. Plant your right foot on the ground. Move your torso forward, bending at your waist. Continue until you feel the stretch in your left hip. Hold for 30 seconds.

Kneeling Hip Stretch

If you can comfortably kneel on the ground, try this move. It's great for stretching your hips, butt, and thighs. Start on your knees, back straight. Plant your right foot on the ground, directly under your right knee—position both knees at 90 degrees. Lay your hands on top of your right thigh. Pull your shoulders away from your ears. Contract your core. Slowly move the right foot forward, keeping the ankle below the knee, and lean forward until you feel a stretch in the left hip flexor. Hold for 30 seconds.

Piriformis and Outer Hip Stretch

Place your buttocks on the highest point of the Backbridge and like back on the mat. With both knees bent, cross one leg over the other. Wrap your hands behind your uncrossed leg (or bottom knee) and gently pull towards you. Keep the foot of your crossed leg flexed to protect the knee. Switch legs and repeat. 

Hip Stretch

Straighten one leg over the Backbridge so the kneecap rests on the highest point and the top of your foot touches the mat. Position the other leg in front of the Backbridge, bending your knee at a 90-degree angle in the lunge position. Lift your torso up and raise your arm opposite your bent knee above your head. Arch back, looking towards the ceiling. Maintain the action of reaching your tailbone to the mat to avoid crunching in the lower back. Repeat both stretches on the opposite side. 

Upper Body Golf Stretches to Improve Flexibility

Golfer's Elbow Stretch

The repetitive motion of golfing can lead to golfer's elbow. In this condition, the muscles in your elbow and forearm become inflamed, causing pain and tenderness. The following exercise can provide relief. It stretches the muscles in your forearm, which reduces tension in the elbow and arm.

Wrist Stretches for Golfers

Your wrists are constantly under stress during a golf game. They're responsible for controlling the club and generating power in your swing. To keep them healthy and prevent injury, do these simple wrist stretches: Extend your arm in front of you, palm facing down. Use your other hand to pull your fingers and hand down towards the floor gently. Hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Next, extend your arm in front of you, palm facing up. Use your other hand to pull your fingers and hand down towards the floor gently. Hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

You can also use the Backbridge for this stretch as well. Make two fists and lay the backside of your hands flat on the Backbridge, fists touching or lie both wrists on the Backbrigde, palms up with your fingers facing towards you.

Bicep Stretch

Sit up straight a few inches in front of the long edge of the Backbridge. Reach back and place your hands on top of the Backbridge with your fingers pointing away from you. 

Incorporating Golf Stretches into Your Routine

Warmup Stretches Before Playing

It's important to warm up your muscles before playing golf. Cold, tight muscles are more prone to injury. A simple warmup routine could include:

  • 5-10 minutes of walking or light jogging to get your blood flowing
  • Dynamic stretches like arm circles, leg swings, and gentle twists
  • Practice swings with a club, gradually increasing your range of motion

Post-Round Stretching Routine

After your round, take a few minutes to stretch out your muscles while they're still warm. This will help prevent stiffness and soreness later on. Focus on the major muscle groups used during the golf swing:

  • Shoulders and upper back
  • Chest and arms
  • Core and lower back
  • Hips and glutes
  • Quads, hamstrings, and calves

Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times on each side.

Maintaining Consistency in Your Stretching Practice

The key to seeing results from your stretching routine is consistency. Try to stretch for at least 10-15 minutes every day, even on days when you're not playing golf. Over time, you'll notice improvements in your flexibility, mobility, and overall performance on the course. Your risk of injury will decrease and you'll be able to swing the club with more power and control. So make stretching a regular part of your golf fitness program. Your body (and your game) will thank you.

There you have it, folks - 9 essential back stretches for golf that can help you swing like a pro and feel great doing it. Remember, consistency is key. Make these stretches a regular part of your routine, and you'll be amazed at the difference they can make.

Not only will you likely see improvements in your golf game, but you'll also be taking proactive steps to protect your back health for the long haul. And that's a hole-in-one in my book. So go ahead, give these stretches a try, and get ready to tee off with a new spring in your step. Your back (and your scorecard) will thank you.