Here in Wisconsin, the snow is melting and it’s finally starting to warm up. And, while those of us in the cold-weather states know that there’s always a chance Old Man Winter could try to play through this spring, at least now there’s hope on the horizon that we’ll be out on the actual courses playing golf very soon.
Last month, I examined all of the ways to practice over the winter. And this month, I want to look at another thing we can do while we’re waiting for the ground to thaw: Develop a physical fitness program to help improve our game.
Even if you’re #blessed to live in a sunny locale where you can play golf 365 days out of the year, this is something you should consider.
Because, regardless of whether you’ve already abandoned a New Year’s Resolution to “get in shape,” or you’re a workout fiend, there’s no time like the present to re-examine your goals and create a routine, or make some tweaks to your existing one, which will pay dividends on the course.
Along with my passion for golf, I have always been passionate about health and fitness–so much so that in addition to my communications and marketing business, I am also a registered yoga teacher and recently became a certified personal trainer (NASM-CPT) with a golf fitness specialization.
I currently teach classes at Toned Body Fitness, a personal training gym here in Wisconsin, and this winter, studio owner Tony Becker and I teamed up with Todd Gamroth, my instructor at GOLFTEC, to offer free virtual seminars on various topics related to improving flexibility and strength for golf.
As we know, golf is a game that requires high levels of skill, hand-eye coordination, flexibility, mobility, power, timing, strength, and endurance. It’s also a sport where many sustain injuries due to existing muscle imbalances, repetitive movements, and/or poor swing mechanics.
The proper integrated conditioning program that includes a mix of flexibility, core, balance, resistance and cardiorespiratory training will not only help you prevent injuries, but it can also help improve your endurance, range of motion, power, muscular force and club-head speed, eventually adding more control and distance to your game.
If you’re at a loss of where to start, I would suggest focusing first on increasing flexibility and joint range of motion–this is something that almost every golfer can improve upon and it’s easy to do at home. You can find some basic stretching exercises online and aim to do them daily. And, if you haven’t practiced yoga before, I encourage you to try out a class, either virtually, or in person at your local studio; it will also help with balance.
As far as strength exercises, you don’t have to pump iron to reap results. Simple body weight exercises that focus on strengthening the lower body, hips, core, back and shoulders as well as work to increase that “x-factor,” or the rotation of the shoulders in relation to the hips throughout the swing, will go a long way–and eventually, so will your drives. To develop a full plan, I would encourage you to set up a meeting with a personal trainer. If that’s not available to you, you can explore other options, such as online programs and apps, like Trainfuly, a comprehensive golf fitness program. Trainfuly also offers a perk for Stick & Hack members as part of our Member Perks Program! If you’re a member (by now, you should be…) Visit Trainfuly to redeem 10% off all golf fitness programs.
Finally, incorporating cardio into your routine for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity each week (e.g. brisk walking) will improve your aerobic conditioning as well as muscular endurance, meaning that you’ll find it easier to walk during a round and even carry your clubs. If you choose to ride in a cart, getting your steps in ahead of time will still help you keep your energy levels up through the last putt on 18.
Start incorporating these elements into a routine now and by the time you tee it up for your first round of the season, or simply your regular Sunday foursome next weekend, you’ll likely already be experiencing some positive results.
Caitlin Moyer has been hacking and hoping since she was 10. Over the course of her career in the sports industry, she's had the chance to play the game with LPGA, MLB and NBA players, as well as NASCAR drivers and celebrities, but her favorite playing partner is her dad (even though he is a stick). Inventor and sole practitioner of the one-flap™ golf swing (patent pending).
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