Four Exercise Tips to Shape Up Your Golf Game
Jun 27, 2013
The fairways are groomed, the putting greens are smooth and the tee boxes are set. Your favorite golf course is ready for another great golf season; but is your golf game up to par?
Shape up for this year’s golf season with the following exercise tips to increase your fitness level as you shoot for a season full of birdies and eagles.
Tip One: Train Like An Athlete
The primary goal of training for athletes is to prevent injury, followed by improving performance. If you're injured you can’t practice, you can’t play and you can’t make your game better. That’s why Bruce Kelly, owner of the Fitness Together studio in Media, Penn., believes that the first step of an athlete’s training program should be a personalized fitness assessment that tests range of motion, strength and flexibility. If you don’t have an established baseline to work from, then you won’t have a clear direction toward accomplishing your golf fitness goals this summer.
“Golfers are athletes, so they should train like athletes,” says Kelly. “You have to get fit to play, not play to get fit.”
Tip Two: Turn Up Cardio Conditioning
If you want to talk like the pros, then you have to walk like the pros. Since the PGA requires golfers to walk all 18 holes of the golf course during its tournaments, fit players need to focus on increasing cardiovascular fitness levels in the offseason with exercises that are performed while standing up.
“Golf is an expanding, explosive sport. So you need to train as functionally and effectively as possible,” Kelly says. “This means that as much of your training exercises need to be done on your feet as possible and the training movements need to be as explosive as possible.”
Increasing your cardio and metabolic conditioning, though, doesn’t mean that you have to log double digits of running or walking miles each week. Instead, Kelly suggests adding exercises into your fitness routine that mimic the explosive and repetitive nature of golf. Adding a circuit of sled pushing and pulling, battling ropes and medicine ball slams into your workout will not only help increase your overall fitness level, but prepare your body for a summer of powerful tee drives and strong golf swings.
Tip Three: Build Total Body Strength, Power and Stability
The golfer’s swing is one of the most critiqued movements of the game. If you only focus on strengthening the upper body portion of your swing, though, you miss out on a critical part of your golf game.
“The swing is such an explosive total body movement,” Kelly says. “You have to be able to control the forces of the swing or you’ll end up spending most of your time looking for your ball in the trees or, ultimately, injuring yourself.”
The power of your golf swing comes from total body strength that starts with strong, explosive and flexible legs followed by strong back, shoulder and neck muscles and ending with powerful biceps, triceps and forearms to finish the swing. You can hit all of the key muscle groups in your body by adding total body strength and power training moves into your workout. Some total body movements for golfers include kettlebell swings, shoulder press squats, medicine ball throws and medicine ball lunges with a twist.
Holding regular plank, side plank and Superman positions for one minute in duration for three or four repetitions at a time also are excellent exercises for building strong core and back muscles to stabilize your body, which can help you crush the ball off the tee and drive it down the fairway.
Tip Four: Stretch It Out
A limber, flexible body is an integral part to every golfer’s game. It’s important to stretch after hitting the greens to recover your muscles and prepare them for the next round. It's also a good idea to stretch prior to teeing off to loosen tight muscles and prepare them for the torque and repetitive motion of a golf swing.
Before you head out to the greens, warm up your lower and upper body muscles with dynamic stretches such as walking lunges, moving toe touches and foam rolling. After your golf game, static stretches at the course followed by foam rolling and even regular massage will help relax your tired muscles and prepare your mind and body for the next golf outing on your summer roster.
As you prepare for a summer of walking down sun-drenched fairways, it’s important to focus on your body’s fitness level for the physical wear and tear of the golf season. By incorporating these four tips into your workout routine, you'll be on your way to getting the most out of every day on the links.