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Sport Specific Exercises to Improve Your Golf Game
Shoulder Press, Photo by V.Croome
Golf season is in full swing and I am often asked how people can improve their game and prevent injuries. Here are a few ideas to help you balance your body and drive that ball further.
While many people argue that you get good cardio while playing golf, the amount of starting and stopping during most games allows for your heart rate to rest too much between walks to get full cardiovascular benefits. Most serious golfers include at least two bouts of twenty minutes of high intensity cardio sessions (jogging, biking, etc.) on top of golfing. Make sure you don’t go too hard during cardio - you should always be able to talk while exercising.
2. Strength training
Hips are a major part of the game and it’s important to make sure that the one-sided swing of a golfer does not cause them to be stronger on one side. Lunges twisting left to right when you are at the bottom of the lunge are a great way to strengthen and stretch your hips. Hamstring curls using a ball help get the back of your legs and hips working together to help prevent knee problems.
Upper body exercises should include the reverse fly, pec fly, shoulder press and lat pull-down, which combined will help strengthen your shoulders in all directions so they have the strength and flexibility to improve your swing. Start with three sets of 10-15 (once you can do 15, increase your weight) for all of your strength exercises.
When working your core for golf, you want to focus on your oblique abdominals which help your upper body twist. A great oblique exercise is to stand in your golf stance with a cable or tube at one side. Grab the cable or tube and slowly twist your shoulders while pulling the cable/tube to the opposite side, keeping core musculature tight and posture in perfect form. OF COURSE you want to do both sides and there is much research supporting working your non-dominant side to help your dominant muscles get stronger. Three sets of 10-15, slowly for this exercise.
4. Injury prevention
Make sure you are listening to your body if you are experiencing nagging injuries such as foot or shoulder discomfort. A pre-game range of motion routine (arm circles, body twists and alternate toe-touches) is one of the best ways of preventing injury before a big shot. Perform stretching exercises on completion of your work out or game. If you have any injuries, ice them when you are done for 10 to 15 minutes.
On season, two workouts a week should be enough to achieve your goals. Combining all the above exercises (including your 20 minute cardio) should take about an hour. Please remember that you should not exercise through sharp or shooting pain. If you need help, see a fitness professional to assist you in setting up a program to fit your specific needs or injury rehabilitation.