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If you’re a serious about your game, then golf fitness should be high on your priority list. It’s just not enough to work on your game – everybody is doing that – but you must work on your conditioning as well…
…if you want to be at the top of the leader board.
If you’re going to dominate the field, then golf fitness must become as important to your game as time spent on the driving range or putting green.
A small investment in time will pay off huge down the road.
With increased golf fitness, you can expect greater distance on your shots, improved consistency (as a result of being more stable with your platform), more stamina (play the 18th just like you played the 1st), and a reduction in injury (nagging back pain).
Golf is a game that combines aerobic activity (walking) with anaerobic bursts of rotational power (swinging the club). Golf fitness should seek to address each of these components.
Strength and flexibility are your most important considerations. Golf is a game of rotational forces. The body derives power from the torque generated by the legs, hips, oblique, abdominal and back muscles. So, your golf fitness strategy should include gaining strength and flexibility in your core muscle group.
Generally, men have more than adequate strength for golf. However they often lack the flexibility required to swing the club properly in order to generate rotational power. Women are often just the opposite. Both can easily improve their weakness with golf fitness.
Are you ready for a few golf fitness ideas?
“Let’s start with the grip…” If you’ve ever had a golf lesson or two, I bet you’ve heard that one before! But, seriously, the grip is so important! A good strong grip is vital. But, few golfers do anything to improve grip strength.
Here are two great ways you can easily improve your grip:
1. Go to any sporting goods store. Find one of those spring-loaded hand squeezers. It fits in the palm of your hand, and you squeeze it with your thumb and fingers. I’m sure just about everyone has seen them before. Here’s the deal…they really work! And the point is this: Your golf fitness routine should produce results!
2. Find any weighted object (about five pounds) you can tie to the end of a piece of rope. Tie the other end to a stick about 10 inches in length. The rope should be long enough so the weighted end sits on the ground when the stick end is held about chest high and extended away from your body.
Now, begin rolling the stick in your hands. As you role the rope onto the stick, the weight will begin to come off the ground. You’ll be working your hands, forearms, and shoulders. All are important for your game, and an important part of golf fitness.
Core Muscle Training
The core muscles of your body generate the power in your swing. Basically, these include the hip, abs, obliques and lower back muscles. Do everything you can to keep them strong and flexible. As we get older, there is a tendency for these muscles to get tighter, and if you’re a golfer, that’s going to eventually lead to injury. Nobody wants that!
Here are some golf fitness ideas that are easy to implement and simple to do:
1. Lay on your back with your legs together and feet flat on the floor. Draw your feet towards your bottom so you have about a 45 degree angle with the floor. Now, keeping your shoulders on the floor, slowly rotate both legs together sideways towards the floor. You’ll feel the stretch in your lower back, abs, and oblique muscles(love handles) . Use one of your hands to gently pull your legs towards the floor.
Unless you’re already pretty flexible, you may not be able to reach the floor without lifting up a bit with your shoulders. In time, your flexibility will improve. Take your time with this, and work to improve a little at a time. It will come.
This stretch will pay off big with your swing. Most all of these muscles are activated by the golf swing.
2. You should give serious thought to buying a medicine ball. The balls out there today are nothing like the one you had back in high school gym class. They come in a variety of colors, weights, and textures.
Don’t underestimate what a medicine ball can do for your golf fitness. With a simple routine, you’ll improve your strength and flexibility significantly.
There are a number of medicine ball routines specifically designed to strengthen the core muscles used for golf. They’re an excellent tool for golf fitness.
3. You also want to get your hands on a stability ball. You may have seen them in your local health club. Basically, they look like a giant sized beach ball. With a stability ball, you can do any number of exercises designed to build strength and flexibility in your core muscles. Plus, they’re fun to work with!
Here’s a great resource for you that provides very specific training plans for golf fitness (or any other sport you can think of). They have numerous medicine ball and stability ball routines.
You need to have strong legs.
This doesn’t mean you have to be able to squat 500 pounds or pick up the back end of a car. But, your legs provide the platform for your golf swing. And, they carry you around the course! Some golfers lose it on the back nine because they get tired, and it affects their swing. Here are some simple (but effective) exercises for golf fitness.
I believe you can get a good leg workout just by using body weight exercises. Give these a try:
1. Body weight squats: Lean back against a wall with your feet about shoulder-width apart and 2-3 feet or so away from the wall. Now, keeping your back against the wall, slowly lower your body by sliding down the wall. Lower yourself until your legs (thighs) are parallel to the floor. Imagine that you’re sitting in a chair.
Your knees should not bend out beyond your toes. If they do, move your feet out a little farther from the wall, and you’ll be okay.
Try to hold this position for 60 seconds, and then come up. If you haven’t done this before, you might not be able to hold it for that long. That’s not a problem. Just start off with 30 or 45 seconds. Adjust accordingly for your fitness level.
Perform three sets of these every other day or so. In no time, you’ll see and feel improvements in your legs, hips, buttocks, and lower back.
2. Step-Ups: Find a platform that sits 15-18 inches off the ground. Make sure it’s something that can hold your weight, and is wide enough to accommodate both your feet. You want it to be stable because you’re going to step up and down on it. You don’t want it to slide on the floor.
Stand in front of the platform. Step onto the platform with either your left or right foot. Then, step up with the other foot (you’re now standing completely on the platform). Next, step down with the foot you first stepped up with. Then step down with the other foot.
Do 15-20 of these to start (up and down counts as one). You’ll find these really work your lower body, and also get you breathing pretty good. So, take it easy to start.
Start with a couple of sets and adjust based on your fitness level. Alternate the foot you first step up with in order to work both legs equally.
If you’re already in good shape, you can increase the difficulty of this by holding a pair of dumbbells while you step up and down. You can also make it harder by increasing the tempo and/or the repetitions.
Athletes are always looking for a good return on their training investment. You’ll get a good return with both of those leg exercises. Your goal is golf fitness, so you don’t need to train like an NFL linebacker.
There are two wonderful body weight exercises you can do that will stun you with their results. You’ve all heard of them before! (But not many people do them…) Your golf fitness program would not be complete without them!
You need to have strength and flexibility in your upper torso. Your arms, shoulders, chest, and back are all essential to your swing.
1. Push-Ups: This is one versatile exercise. Variety is king with the push-up. Perform a wide variety to keep this a fresh exercise (doing the same routine all the time can get boring). Do them with your hands wide apart, or close together. Or, try doing them from an incline (with your feet up on a chair).
If you can’t do a regular push-up, you can start by keeping your knees on the ground. You’ll still get a good training affect.
Now, here’s how to make them work for you: Work against the clock. Set a watch or timer for six minutes. Your goal is to perform 50 push-ups in six minutes. You can do them in any manner of combinations (say, do ten and then catch your breath. Then do five and catch your breath…etc). But, try to get 50 perfect-form push-ups in six minutes.
When this gets easy (and it will), bump up the number…or reduce the amount of time you give yourself to do them.
2. Chin-Ups: Okay, these are tough for just about everybody. But they work. Many people have a hard time doing one. If that’s you, don’t worry about it. You’ll get there. There’s a way to start out that will make it easy for you build up (discussed below).
For regular chin-ups, start with a palms forward grip about shoulder width apart. Pull yourself up slowly and evenly to the bar with your chin. Don’t swing or “jerk” to make this easier! That’s cheating!
If you can’t do a regular chin-up, try doing it in reverse. Stand on a chair that’s high enough to get you to the top position on the bar (chin on the bar with palms forward, shoulder width apart).
Now, bend your knees, and slowly lower yourself back down to a starting position. These are called “negatives,” and they work very well with chin-ups. Some people believe you getter a better workout from the negatives.
Here’s how to make it work for you: You have five minutes to perform 10 chin-ups. You can use any combination of repetitions you’d like (as an example: do 2-3, then rest, then do another 2, then rest…get it?). Just get 10 done in five minutes.
Adjust accordingly to suit your fitness level. As you improve, either add repetitions or shorten the time (or both!).
Great! You’ve just completed a terrific upper body workout in less than 15 minutes! Your tee shots just got 20 yards longer! That’s what golf fitness is all about!
So, do you want to work on both your upper and lower body on the same day? Or, do you want to split it up? Hey, it’s your golf fitness program! There’s no right or wrong answer. Do what feels right for you. The important thing is for you to do them.
If time is a problem, split them up. Take 15 minutes on Monday for your upper body, and 15 minutes on Thursday for your lower body.
So…for two days you’re working on your golf fitness…and, the other days you’re playing golf!
One final and important thought on your golf fitness, and that’s the mental aspect of the game. I don’t need to tell you how mental the game of golf really is. It just might be more mental than physical…at least a good argument could be made for that!
One bad shot ruins the entire round…or, you’re in the zone and everything sails right down the fairway…it’s so easy and effortless. But, how to stay in the zone all the time? How not to let a couple of bad shots destroy your concentration for the next 11 holes?
So, for you serious players, you’ll likely want to check out what Michael Anthony has to say about the mental game. There are a lot of great players out there who credit him with shaving several strokes off of their scores.