When we develop golfer workouts and golf strength training here at The Golf Performance Center, we design holistic training that strengthens and conditions the parts of the body that are used most in golf.
One of these key areas are the hamstrings. The importance of hamstring flexibility in the golf swing should not be discounted, and we have developed some of the best golf workouts that specifically target the hamstrings.
When we consider muscle lengthening and strengthening, the hamstrings pose an interesting opportunity. Hamstrings don’t always need to be stretched, but rather, strengthened to help them function properly. So when exactly should you be stretching versus strengthening certain muscles throughout your body? Just because “you’re tight” doesn’t mean stretching is the answer.
Here are a few things to consider about your hamstrings in golf fitness, how to prevent tight hamstrings and hip flexor muscles and whether you should stretch or strengthen first.
Why Are Hamstrings Important in Golf Fitness?
Like every part of the body that’s activated at some point during golf, you want to make sure your hamstrings are in tip top shape through golf workouts and strength training, plus the right muscle lengthening exercises.
Hamstrings play a vital role in the golf swing. If you have overactive muscles, tight hamstrings and hip flexor muscles or simply don’t have the strength in your hamstrings, then your golf swing will suffer and it will be difficult to reach your full potential.
What Do Tight Muscles Look Like?
You likely won’t see a difference between tight hamstrings and those that have been properly lengthened, but you’ll definitely feel a difference. With tight hamstring and hip flexor muscles, you will feel a limited range of motion and lesser flexibility.
Especially if you sit in a chair all day, your muscles will tighten due to the limited opportunity for movement, especially if you don’t get enough daily physical activity. If you suddenly force your muscles to move after they’ve tightened in a comfortable sitting position, you risk serious injury because your muscles haven’t been properly warmed up. This is why you need to take the time to stretch and warm up these muscles, so they’re capable of handling athletic movement and preventing injury.
Is a Tight Muscle a Weak Muscle?
Tight muscles aren’t always weak muscles, but in some cases they can be. This is why in the golfer workouts we use at The Golf Performance Center, we focus on both stretching and strengthening to ensure that your body has the strength it needs to perform at its best and the muscles are flexible and stretched enough to prevent soreness and injury.
So, Should You Stretch or Strengthen First?
When our instructors are assessing someone’s posture during golf strength training, we look for imbalances and asymmetries in their standing posture as well as how they move dynamically. This leads us to determining whether a muscle group is overactive and tight or underactive and weak.
Overactive muscles become so because they are relied upon more than they should be. Underactive muscles are supposed to be helping support the movements that the dominant overactive muscle is performing. However, over time when they aren’t called upon, they become “turned off,” or inhibited and weak.
When a muscle is overactive and tight, it is beneficial to stretch and allow that group of muscles to relax while at the same time working to activate and strengthen the underactive muscle group that is inhibited and weak which will help you find the balance we refer to in your posture.
There are certainly instances where an underactive muscle will be in a chronically lengthened state and as a result appear “tight.” As a result of the pelvis becoming anteriorly tilted due to the tightness of the hip flexor group, the hamstrings get pulled taut. This is a prime example where strengthening the hamstrings while lengthening the hip flexors would allow the pelvis to find a more neutral position. The best golf strength exercises seek to strike this balance.
This concept is one that in theory seems basic, but in practicality can be pretty complex and requires a professional set of eyes. Solving this puzzle is the name of the game, and we are here to help do just that. If you have not had your physical evaluation completed in the past six months, now is the time. Reach out to our expert team today to incorporate the best golf strength exercises for your hamstring into your golf fitness routine today.