About 12 months ago, I strolled out on the disc golf course ready to practice and improve my game. I didn’t know very much and I never took advice. I didn’t learn any techniques and I never stretched before I played.
That was all a mistake.
I was out on a hole at my local course in High Point, NC, and I did it all wrong: I tried to throw the disc so hard that I tore my rotator cuff. Boom! In one motion I was out of commission for four months. To this day it still hurts me.
Now I blame most of that on bad form and my lack of understanding of the game. But my injury was also due to poor stretching and warming up before my round.
Stretching before your round is insanely important.
So how do you stretch and warm up properly? And what are the best disc golf stretches for disc golf?
You can prepare yourself for your round by making sure you warm up the appropriate muscles including the shoulders, core, and legs. The best disc golf stretches are as follows:
• Shoulder circles (forward and backwards)
• Stir the pot (forwards and backwards)
• Arm across the body
• Arm behind head
• Shake it out
• Cobra Ab stretch
• Oblique stretch
• Quad stretch
• Hamstring stretch
• Calf raises
• Calf stretch/Achilles tendon stretch
• Walking high knees
• Hip flexor stretch
• Hip flexor circle stretch
• Foot circles
• Sideways laterals with feet
• Neck stretches
We will go over in full detail about each individual stretch and how to complete it below. Also included are videos and pictures showing more about how to do each stretch in full detail.
So what is stretching?
Wikipedia has stretching as, “a form of physical exercise in which a specific muscle or tendon (or muscle group) is deliberately flexed or stretched in order to improve the muscle’s felt elasticity and achieve comfortable muscle tone.” Another definition on Google dictionary states, “(of something soft or elastic) be made or be capable of being made longer or wider without tearing or breaking.” I like both of those in that when you stretch, you seek to flex or stretch your muscles in order to make them more elastic so they don’t tear while you play disc golf. Stretching is simply helping your muscles become more elastic for physical activity.
Learn more than just the stretches. Learn how to play the right way. The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide.
Why do we need to stretch before disc golf?
Stretching is extremely important before you play so here are five good reasons why you should always stretch before you go out and play.
1. It helps you avoid injury: by stretching out your muscles and tendons, they become more elastic and less likely to tear. Stretching helps you avoid the tears, pulls, and other aches brought on by improper warmup.
2. It helps you become more flexible: as the muscles and tendons become more elastic, they stretch out allowing you to become more flexible. This flexibility can help you perform your throws efficiently and stretch out to avoid obstacles.
3. It helps you improve your blood flow and circulation: by stretching the muscles and tendons, you allow more blood to flow through your body. Better circulation means overall better health.
4. It helps improve wear and tear on joints: sometimes a lack of stretching can cause the muscles to stay really tight, putting pressure on joints. Over time this pressure can cause unnecessary wear and tear that could otherwise be prevented with stretching.
5. It can help you enhance performance: improved flexibility, improved circulation, and improved joint health can help you become the best version of yourself as an athlete. If every part if your body is well-taken care of, you’ll feel great and you’ll be able to perform at a superior level. This enhanced performance can help you crush it on the disc good course.
For a really awesome article that explains all of the great benefits of stretching, check out acefitness.com’s article, “10 Reasons Why You Should Be Stretching.”
When is the best time to stretch?
Morning time: the morning time is a fantastic way to start your day. Your body is naturally tight from a night of rest and recovery, so you’ll inevitably stretch anyways. Why not just spring for a quick round of stretching (and maybe some disc golf, too!)?
Before your disc golf round: I’ve been saying this for like three paragraphs now. You have to stretch before your disc golf round. It’s one of the most important parts of preparing for your round. Attempting to play your round with “cold,” or unstretched muscles, is a surefire way to injure yourself. Use the stretches that I’ve written about below to help prepare your body.
After your disc golf round: you don’t have to stretch after you play, but it is a good idea to do so. You’ve just physically exhausted your muscles in a very similar way to exercising in the gym and you need postrecovery stretching. This stretching is meant to be light with little resistance. This can be quick and beneficial for you.
Before bed: stretching before you go to sleep can help you become the best athlete possible. When you sleep, you recover. So why not take some time before this and stretch your body out. You will help yourself before bed and while you sleep.
You’ll be doing two kinds of stretches in your warmup: static stretching and dynamic stretching
Static stretching (standing still): static stretching is the most basic form of stretching. Everyone knows of this type of stretching, as you probably did this stretching when you were young in gym class. It’s very simple and easy to do. You can see the most basic example of this in the picture below of me stretching my arm across my chest.
Dynamic stretching (similar to working out but just warming up the muscles for your round): dynamic stretching consists of actually doing somewhat of stretch workout with very minimal effort and resistance just to warm up the body by moving. The most basic example that I can give is this. Say you wake up for work. You do fairly active tasks throughout the day, so you get up and go out for a brisk 5 minute walk. By doing this, you’re dynamically stretching your leg muscles and tendons to start warming up for the tasks ahead. You can see another example of this kind of stretch warmup in the video below.
What muscles do we need to stretch for disc golf?
Great job so far! By now, you’ve got a pretty firm understanding of why stretching is important in disc golf. In this paragraph, we’re going to be briefly going over what muscles of the body are the most important to stretch for your round (so you can move into the good stuff in the next section). Make sure to really take note of these muscles groups so you can start to make up your own stretches in the future!
Besides legs, shoulders are the most essential muscles in disc golf because every throw you make will involve them. Shoulders have three different parts to them – the front deltoid, the middle deltoid, and the rear deltoid.
• Front delt: the front delt is to the left and right of your pectoral muscles in your chest and is important to keep strong so that your shoulders stay balanced and healthy for your throws.
• Middle delt: on the left and right of your arm. This is the strongest part of your shoulder, allowing you maximum flexibility and a stable muscle for disc golf throws. It’s very important in disc golf, so warm this part of your shoulder up properly!
• Rear delt: the rear delt may be the most important part of your shoulder when it comes to disc golf. Whether forehand or backhand, the rear delts comes into play tremendously and can benefit from a really good stretch before you play.
Core (abs and obliques)
The muscles that make up the core are super important for helping you maintain good balance and make good throws on the disc golf course. Stretching these before your round is fine, but these muscles benefit from exercise on other days more than stretching before your round. These muscles will warm themselves up on the course, but a quick stretch beforehand can help you play your best on the course.
• abdominals (abs): we all know what abdominals, or abs, are. They’re the main part of your core and need to be strong for when you play.
• obliques (side abs): your obliques make up an important part of your core and are located on the sides of your body to the left and right of your abs. Train these and stretch these to help yourself have the strongest core possible for your rounds.
The legs may be the most important muscles to stretch for disc golf. If you can’t walk, you can’t play. The legs consist of the three muscles talked about below:
• hamstrings: the hamstrings are the muscles located on the back of your legs right under your butt. Strong hamstrings are part of balanced leg muscles that can help you do well in disc golf.
• quadriceps (quads): the quads are the front muscles located above the knee all the way up to the upper thigh. Just like with hamstrings, quads are part of a balance group of muscles in the leg.
• calves: calves are important in that you overuse them like crazy during each round. Make sure they are properly stretched.
The muscles that make up the joint of the hip. These muscles are super important to manage. You need your hips to maneuver the course fluidly. Strong, healthy hips can help you control your disc golf game like a champ.
Triceps aren’t as important, but still get used quite a bit in your game. They are the big muscles in the back or the arm. Use the overhead stretch to warm them up properly.
you rotate your neck many times while playing disc golf. Again, these muscles aren’t that important but can always benefit from a decent stretch warmup.
The 17 best disc golf stretches
Alright, so you made it to the good stuff! Congratulations on what you’ve learned so far and I hope the next 17 stretches can really improve your pre-round warmup. The goal is to get you loose so that you can dominate on the disc golf course. Ready? Here we go!
1. Shoulder circles (forward and backwards)
Start with one of the most basic dynamic stretches ever. Shoulders circles have been incorporated into fitness workouts for decades. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Stretch your arms out to your sides at about a 90° degree angle. Now rotate them in a clockwise or counterclockwise circle. Make your circles go forwards for a few seconds and then backwards. This stretch really hits all of the delt muscles so that your muscles will be nice and loose for the upcoming round. See the video below for more detail.
2. Stir the pot (forwards and backwards)
Another great way to loosen up your shoulders and arms quickly is by, ” stirring the pot.” Start by standing straight up with feet shoulder width apart. Bend over enough to let your arms dangle in front of you. Now with one arm, move it in a clockwise motion for a few seconds. Then move it counterclockwise for a few seconds to get it even more loose. Switch arms back and forth until you get decently loose. See the video below to understand this stretch in more detail.
3. Arm across the body
This stretch will help to loosen up the arms and the rear delt. Simply do what the title says and reach your arm across the body. Nothing crazy about this one, but you can check the picture below if you need to.
4. Arm behind head
This stretch will target the triceps and help you to get your arm just a little bit more prepared to play. Stand straight up with feet about shoulder width apart. Reach one arm straight up in him the air and turn it 180° degrees so your hand is facing behind you. Bend your arm and reach the hand toward your back (like you’re about to pat yourself on the back). Now grab your elbow with the opposite hand and pull. You should feel the back of your arm stretch. See the video below for more on how to complete this stretch.
5. Shake it out
Part dynamic stretch, part it just feels d*mn good to do this. Shaking it out is literally what it means. You’re just standing there after the first few stretches and swinging your arms back and forth, side to side, and in a shaking motion to continue getting loose for your round. See the video below if you need help.
6. Cobra ab stretch
Inspired by the Cobra pose in yoga, the cobra ab stretch helps to get all of your abs stretched out so you can be ready to rock on the disc golf course. Lay flat on the floor facing down. With both hands, push up as far as you can while leaving your feet on the floor. You will feel your core being stretched. For more detail, check out the picture below or check out doyouyoga.com’s article which features this stretch/yoga move as number nine on their list.
7. Oblique stretch
In order to stretch your obliques, stand with feet about shoulder width apart. Start leaning toward the left or right side and with the opposite hand, try to put it in the air and lean it in the same direction as you are leaning your body. You should feel a stretch on the side of your body. If you’re confused, check the video below on how to complete the stretch.
8. Quad stretch
Stretching your quads is another very easy stretch. Quad stretches will stretch the muscles in the front upper thigh portion of your leg. Stand straight with feet shoulder width apart. Bend one leg back behind you and grab it with the same hand. You will hold your leg around the top of the foot and pull it into you. Continue once you start to feel the muscles in the front of the leg stretching. See the video below for more detail on how to complete this stretch
9. Hamstring stretch
The hamstring stretch is very easy and involves you starting with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend at the waist, with back straight, and try to touch your toes. This will stretch the back of your leg to help you get prepared for your disc golf round. For more information, see the video below.
10. Calf raises
Just like if you were using your calf muscles to push off with the ball of your foot and jump, you simply press up to raise yourself up a few inches off the ground to warm up the calves. Some courses are really brutal on your legs, so make sure you prepare your calves for what’s to come. See the video below for more detail.
11. Calf stretch/Achilles tendon stretch
This stretch introduces the Achilles tendon into the equation. The achilles tendon is a long tendon that runs from the back of the heel into the upper back portion of the leg. This tendon needs to be stretched and warmed up properly because neglect and overuse can cause achilles tendonitis. That can keep you from playing for months. I had tendonitis in both achilles tendons and it was a miserable couple of months. You stretch your calf muscle by putting your foot up against something like a post, wall, or tree, at a 45° degree angle and pushing with the ball of your foot. This will stretch the back of your calf muscle and achilles tendon. See the video and picture below for reference.
12. Walking high knees
This one is really easy to do. Start walking and put your hands out in front of you with palms down. Bring your knee up to the hand right above it. Right knee gets raised to the right outstretched hand. Left knee up to left outstretched hand. Check out the video below for more detail.
13. Hip flexor stretch
The hip flexors are located deep within your leg at the top of the hips and help you to move your leg in all directions. Hip flexors are crucial to your performance on the course. Start by standing shoulder width apart. Now take a step across your body at a 45° degree angle then step with the other foot and bring your knee up across your body up as high as you can and into your body. Do this with the opposite leg as well bringing your other leg up to really get a good warmup for the hip flexors. The explanation for this can get a bit confusing, so check out the video below.
14. Hip flexor circle stretch
This warmup is a great way to properly stretch the hip flexors and help you to continue getting more flexible in your stretching. Start by standing shoulder width apart. Next, bring one leg up like a high knee and rotate it in a circle to the outside of your body until you foot comes back to the ground. Switch sides and do it again with the other knee. Repeat about 10 times for each side. See the video below for how to do this dynamic stretch.
The last 3 stretches aren’t really necessary but can just generally help you warm your whole body up for your round. You may not need to do these, as your body will naturally warm up during the round.
15. Foot circles
Foot circles are incredibly easy to do and are very beneficial for your feet. Simply stand with one foot off the ground in front of you. Now rotate your foot in a clockwise motion for a few seconds then a counterclockwise motion for a few seconds more. Switch and repeat with the other foot to make sure your feet are feeling loose for the next warmup stretch. If you have any trouble, see the video below for how to complete this easy warmup.
16. Sideways laterals with feet
This simple dynamic stretch is more of an exercise than a stretch. This is one of my favorites and I’m sure you’ve either seen or done this exercise. Start with you feet shoulder width apart and hands out in front of you. Now you will start moving to either your left or right. Start alternating one foot in front of the other as you move. If you move to the left, use your right foot to move in front of your left leg and behind it. If you move to the right, use your left leg to move in front and behind. See the video below for more detail.
17. Neck stretches and rotation
Start out with your hands on your hips and your feet about shoulder width apart. Now take your had and try to touch your ear to your left shoulder. Next, take your ear to your right shoulder. Repeat once before moving on. After that, rotate your head in a circle clockwise for a few seconds. Now switch and rotate in a counterclockwise motion. This should help you adequately stretch your neck muscles out for your round. See the picture and video below for more detail. This stretch is extremely simple but can be highly effective.
In all of that, what have we learned?
We’ve gotten through a lot of content today and I’m really proud of you! Fantastic job. I hope you’ve been able to digest all of this as there’s been quite a bit written that can really help you warm up for your disc golf round. We’ve learned about what stretching is, why it’s important, what muscles need to be stretched, and the 17 best disc golf stretches for you. If you use this information, I know that you will for sure start crushing it on the disc golf course. So get out there, get stretched, and go throw!