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Golf Improvement with Increased Fitness

Dec 7, 2007
With the warm months of summer approaching and the long evenings of day-light saving upon us many serious, social and casual golfers will be looking to get out onto the course to enjoy and develop their games.

An area of golfing performance which has taken great strides in the past decade has been physical fitness, and therefore its importance. The evolution- in part- has been brought upon via the emergence of Tiger Woods, who has developed highly effective athletic condition. We have also seen the emergence of fitness programs specific to golf from PGA Tour mobile fitness trailers through to fitness programs at golf schools throughout the world. Many professionals, top amateurs and keen general enthusiast now have personal trainers aiding their golf performance. Although Woods and his management have not divulged into the specifics of his fitness training regime, it is apparent that the world number one has followed solid training principles- which is no secret, as some will see Woods program. No matter your level of golf, you can apply the same principles that have seen the worlds top golfers get the most out of their games.

Strength and Conditioning
The nature of golf requires a ball to be struck distances up to 300 plus meters, in essence this is accomplished through club head speed. This club head speed is generated through a combination of technique and physical capability, and in turn enhanced via way of resistance training.

Your program should start by using a series of compound- multi joint-exercises such as: bench press, shoulder press, close grip pull down, one arm row, underhand pull-ups, push ups, leg press and lunges on top of isolation- single joint- exercises: bicep curls, body weight tricep dips, frontal raises and writs curls. Work in 5 to 6 week phases and change the repetition each phase from 12, 10, 8, 6 and 6. To keep the training progressive and specific to golf, drop the amount of weight and increase the lifting speed in the second phase completing 6 repetitions. Look to do 3 sets per exercise. This is a linear periodisation program which will increase strength and speed i.e. power.

Aerobic Fitness
On average, a golf course will measure around 6000 meters, however by the time you walk from green to tee and follow the route in which the accuracy of your shots determines you will up covering up to and over 10 kilometres per round. Aerobic fitness is important to a golfer so that you are still feeling good towards the end of the round, rather than out of breath, and therefore have the ability to make sensible decisions.

Two or three times per week complete a cardiovascular workout for the duration of 20 to 30 minutes. Look to maintain an intensity of 65 to 80% maximum heart rate (MHR) (220 minus age, e.g. 220 55 years old = 165 MHR), with a focus on quality breathing towards the end of your session- in the nose and out the mouth. Various equipment can be utilised such as bike, cross trainer, rowing machine or stepper, alternately you can achieve great results via jogging, swimming or power walking.

Core
The anatomical parameters for core stability vary, however its purpose is clear, and specific to the golf swing: The core minimises defunct energy between the ground and the desired performance conclusion, and reduces the incidence of lower back injury.

Core training should be completed twice a week, with a set range of 10 to 12. Repetition volume will depend on your level of fitness. It is important to remember that the back muscles are worked equally to the abdominal muscles. Exercises ideally suited to a golfer are: Swiss ball crunches, kneeling on Swiss ball (even to the stage of standing and swinging a golf club), medicine ball rotations, prone hold and back extensions.

Flexibility- Range of Movement
Flexibility is an important variable of fitness specific to golf, with the body requiring a range of movement that it is not usually accustomed to in everyday life.

Complete 20 minutes of static stretching (holding is position for 20 to 30 seconds) after each fitness session, golf practice session and round of golf. Tight hamstrings can cause an imbalance that strains your lower back, so try to stretch this area in every session. Other areas to focus on are the hips, lower and upper back, chest and shoulders.

Cross Training
Boxing provides golfers with a workout that has many benefits specific for their sport. Boxing requires the use of a fast hip movement, fast hands and development of co-ordination through neurally complex movements; all qualities of a good golf swing. The golf swing is an unnatural movement for the body, and the increased athletic benefits gained from boxing will enhance the ability to learn and process effective golf swing techniques.

Boxing is highly used as a cross training discipline by female world number one Annika Sorenstam.

Warm Up
This is an area of misconception for many golfers. Many see static stretching (which is ideally completed at the end of round or session to relax muscles and aid recovery) as the main form of golf warm up, whereas in fact dynamic stretching is what will get the body ready for activity. Dynamic stretching is a continuos range of movement at moderate to fast speeds, with your MHR rising up to 60-70%. Arm circles, shoulder rotations, calve raises and walking lunges are all forms of dynamic stretching. Jump rope is also an ideal form of warm up. Static stretches can be used to compliment a warm up, however not be done exclusively.

Use these basic principles to design your golf specific exercise program. To take your game a step further seek advice and guidance from a personal trainer who has a golf specific back ground.
About the Author
Gavin Stone is a leading Personal Trainer, fitness expert and publisher of iseekactive.com. His training methods and philosophies are unique and aimed at producing results for his clients. Gavin's articles cane be found at: iseekactive.com
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