Published: Aug 29, 2006 05:08 PM
Modified: Jul 20, 2006 12:56 PM
Improve your golf game
Q: I was wondering if there is anything that I should be doing in my exercise routine to improve my golf game?A: This is a commonly asked question among the members at our gym. In fact, many clients list as one of their main goals to improve their golf game. What many people don't realize is that golf is a highly athletic event that requires intense muscle activity. At times, a golf swing can use up to 90 percent of maximum muscle contraction. Combined with several repetitions and balancing the body while in movement, can cause significant fatigue. To counter this, some golf athletes add cardiovascular exercise and a weight circuit of some sort to try and get improvements. While their ability to walk the course may improve, this usually does not result in better golf performance. While breaking down the swing and looking at your specific physiological biomechanics can take several hours and requires a personal visit, I can offer several conditioning suggestions that should make an immediate impact, regardless of your current level of play. This month I will address two of my favorite areas involved in the golf swing and will address the others in a future article. The two areas we'll talk about now are flexibility and dynamic stability.To golf at your best, you need to have exceptional ability to rotate every joint to its fullest functional limit. Of all the tests that I perform in the gym for golfing flexibility, either a single or a pair of shortened hip flexors is the most common fault across the board. Physiologically, this often results in weakened hamstrings and abdominal muscles and increases the frequency of low back pain. On the course, it may prevent you from making a full follow-through, with coinciding decreased accuracy and distance on the shot. One of the best exercises to stretch the hip flexor as well as some of the trunk rotators is a forward lunge position with a reach and side bend towards the lunging side. One of the keys of this stretch is to roll the pelvis backward, flattening the low back, before lunging forward.Dynamic stability is a fancy term that refers to the ability to maintain optimal joint alignment of the head, spine, legs and arms throughout the entire golf swing. When most people, including other trainers, try and find "golf specific" exercises, they will most likely stumble upon several ideas in this area. While there are numerous movements to try, just like any golf aid, some are better than others. One of my favorites is a simple swing drill using two air cushions and a medicine ball. First, try standing on the cushions with good address posture, hands out in front. Adding the medicine ball, do several repetitions of a balanced back swing, and then add the follow-through. The faster you go, the more balance and stabilization it requires to stay on the cushions. You can do the same drill with your club in hand instead of the ball.
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By Brian Diaz