I recently came across a post on LinkedIn from a fitness trainer that referenced an interesting study. He concluded that strength training is more effective than stretching for improving flexibility. Well, it turns out that’s not entirely true, but what I learned is very interesting.
Ultimately, after doing my own research, I landed on a systematic review titled, “Strength Training versus Stretching for Improving Range of Motion.” The review included 11 studies all on the topic of strength training vs. stretching as it relates to range of motion.
The paper concluded that both Strength Training and Stretching were equally effective in improving range of motion.
One key thing to point out is that in the studies, strength training was performed with full range of motion. With this in mind, using free-weights (dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, etc.) will be more effective than using machines. I’ve touched on this subject before (Exercise Tweaks for Golfers).
So, what does this mean for you?
Based on my experience, stretching alone doesn’t create a flexible golfer. It certainly helps, but when I assess golfers that only stretch, they usually don’t have the mobility required for a really effective swing.
If you’re someone who stretches a lot, but doesn’t strength train, I suggest you rework your efforts. Since evidence suggests that strength training could be just as effective as stretching for increasing range of motion, consider adding strength training to your routine.
I wouldn’t recommend completely eliminating stretching, but if you’re pressed for time, simply decrease the amount of time you’re stretching, and at the very least, add a small dose of full range of motion strength training
Here are two examples of full range of motion strength exercises that are great for almost all golfers:
If you try these exercises and you find them to be too challenging or uncomfortable, do not continue, until you have consulted with your physician. All exercises for golf should be customized to your needs after a proper evaluation.
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