Why Miguel Angel Jimenez Stretches Before Every Round (And Why You Should Too)
By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
Fitness in the game of golf has become as mainstream as warming up on the range and maintaining proper equipment. In fact, golf publications have not only included an array of golf fitness tips in their publications, but have dedicated entire publications to the topic.
What Gary Player started, and Tiger magnified, has become a considerable aspect of player development programs in the professional game, as well as golf facilities and golf learning centers across the country. Proper fitness will improve your game, and stretching is a vital pre-round step to not only lower your scores, but to prevent injury.
Miguel Angel Jimenez has won on several international golf tours and represented Europe in Ryder Cup competition. Today he is entertaining golf fans on the PGA Tour Champions, and he’s still winning. He prepares his body for a round of golf with an extensive stretching regimen that readies every muscle for maximum exertion and power through the golf swing, as well as for the walk throughout the round.
In this photo, you can see Jimenez and his trainer working vehemently on the coil of the body, where his torso and pelvis move independent of each other, known as dissociation. This action is one that many golfers are physically unable to perform, affecting power and distance in one’s performance. Most weekend warriors cannot rotate their shoulders without moving their hips, sometimes referred to as the X-factor. This concept affects the path of the swing and angle of approach, which directly ties into direction, trajectory, and distance.
Even more importantly, however, is that Jimenez understands the limitations of his body and as he ages, he is more diligent than ever about ensuring his muscles are properly stretched to accommodate the rigors of the full golf swing 40 times per round.
Can you recall the days when we’d go to the range to “warm up” before a round? Today, it’s important to stretch as the initial step to a true warmup. In the video, Jimenez, who will turn 59 years old in January, is seen stretching before hitting balls on the range. He addresses his back and shoulder muscles with a dynamic rotational exercise that loosens them for action.
Jimenez also stretches his quadriceps and knee muscles with a vigorous rotational exercise that he performs in both directions to account for the fact that his lower body will need strength and stability during the backswing and the forward swing through impact and follow through.
Once he steps up to actually hit golf balls and commence his practice session, Jimenez will start at half speed and work his way up to full speed golf swings. Runners, baseball pitchers and tennis players all have similar methods of building up the body for the impact of performance and exercise. Stretch - start at a reduced speed - increase exertion level to maximum velocity over an extended period of time. This is why it is highly recommended that golfers avoid the park and play protocol that has them putting their golf shoes on in the parking lot, and teeing off 10 minutes later.
Follow the lead of the worldwide golf champion, Miguel Angel Jimenez. Arrive early to stretch your various muscles, addressing them in exercises that mimic the movements of the golf swing. Start swinging with easy swing motions and build up to full speed understanding that your body requires this regimen to prevent injury and maximize performance, allowing you to play the game well into your years.