This article will try to explain the importance of fitness training for Golfers, discuss the elements of a Golf specific training program and offer a few exercises that can make a difference in your game.
Golf is a sport that requires a great deal of athletic abilities such as strength and power, flexibility, coordination, balance and endurance. The golf game itself does not provide enough of a training stimulus to anyone of these areas to significantly improve those abilities. To minimize age related fitness losses, to maintain or improve physical fitness a golf player has to participate in a physical fitness program off the course!
Why does a golf player need strength, flexibility etc.? The golf swing is a very complex movement requiring the use of a great number of muscles that takes coordination from both sides of the body to ensure a smooth motion and to secure the body’s position throughout the whole swing. Only an optimal conditioned body allows the golfer to use those muscle groups involved to create a fluid, consistent and powerful swing. A well conditioned body will further more reduce the risk for musculoskeletal injuries. Strength and power combined with good flexibility and greater range of motion translates to greater club-head speed, greater distance and more accuracy. Endurance means less fatigue which helps the player to stay focused throughout his whole game and make difficult puts even on the back nine!
When designing a training plan for golfers I usually divide the process into three phases.
- Off-Season: General conditioning including resistance training, stretching and aerobic cardio-vascular training.
- Pre-Season: Sport specific training, transferring the generally improved physical condition to build golf specific fitness
- In-Season: Maintenance, working on different skills at lower intensity to preserve energy and keep fitness peak level.
Golf is a sport utilizing upper extremity, torso and lower extremity strength and flexibility and that should reflect in your choice of exercises. Whatever you do, do not simulate your golf swing while strength training. Using free weights while going through the swing motion will only ruining your mechanics!
Recommended Strength/Resistance Training:3 days per week 2 sets of 12-15 repetitions, moderate workloads
I suggest you start with multi joint exercises progressing to single joint exercises such as:
- Leg Extremity Exercises: Squat, Lunge, Leg Press, Leg Curl, Leg Extension, Heel Raises
- Upper Body Exercises: Chest Press, Push Up, Bent Over Row, Upright Row, Military Press, Lateral Deltoid Raises, External/Internal Shoulder Rotation
- Torso Strength Exercises: Abs Crunch, Oblique Crunch, Back Extension
Recommended Flexibility Training: 3 days per week
- Upper Extremities: Deltoid Stretch, Triceps Stretch, Rhomboids Stretch, Wrist Flexor/Wrist Extensor Stretches
- Lower Extremities: Hamstring Stretch, Quadriceps Stretch, Piriformis / Hip Oblique Stretch,
- Torso Stretches: Trunk Rotation Stretch, Quadratus Lumborum Stretch, Lateral Trunk Stretch
Recommended Aerobic Training: 3-4 days per week
- Intensity: 65-75% of Maximum Heart Rate
- Duration: 20-30 Minutes
- Treadmill walking/jogging, stationary cycling, stair climbing etc.
Please be advised to check with your physician before starting any exercise program. Use good common sense and caution while exercising. I hope this handful of exercises will help you to improve your game, reduce your risk for injury and ensure a lifetime of fun on the course!
Hartmut Broring – M.S. Exercise Therapy