We have just spent the past months stuffing our faces with holiday foods with our friends and relatives. We then made a resolution to get in better shape to play good golf. In order to accomplish your golf goals you need to know how to work on your golf fitness.
Golf requires some of the most unnatural complex movements in sports. Your upper and lower body are not doing the same thing, so doing exercises to get more flexibility and strength to different body parts is essential to improve your golf game.
Just think about it: How many sports do you play where you don’t face the target? To make it more difficult, your non-dominant side faces the target so you have to use muscles you don’t use in other sports and daily activities.
Most fitness centers have activity cards for you to keep track of your repetitions and weights. It is important to write down what you are doing so you can increase repetitions or weights as you get stronger and more flexible. If you are older than 65 years old, there is a program called Silver Sneakers, which is a free program at most fitness centers.
I met with Andy Alkire, certified personal fitness trainer. Every two years he gets re-certified. He also has a certification in golf fitness. He gave me a variety of exercises that will help with strength and flexibility.
Alkire suggests doing cardiovascular activities every other day. A brisk 30-minute walk in your neighborhood will suffice. If you enjoy indoor activities, using a treadmill or elliptical would be great. To stay motivated, keep track of your steps if you have a fitness watch.
On opposite days, do 30 minutes of weight training at least twice a week. It is also important to stretch at the end of every workout. Remember, whatever you decide, you need to write down what you are doing so you can see what progress you are making.
Fitness recommendations for strength, flexibility and balance:
• Golfers should use free weights. Use less weight and do more reps. to help with flexibility. Increase weight when the exercise feels too easy. This also builds up your strength.
• Exercise bands are great to improve your flexibility. They also help strengthen your forearms. Stretches should incorporate stretches for your lower back, shoulders and hips.
• TRX bands are a good way to do squats, push-ups and chest presses.
• Balance exercises are important for golfers. There are balance boards available at most fitness centers. However, you can work on balance at home, staying close to a kitchen or bathroom counter in case you lose your balance. Practice balance on each foot.
• Use an exercise stability ball. It is a terrific way to work on core. You can do wall squats and sit-up exercises with the stability ball.
Finally, I recommend cutting down an old golf club to 27 inches and re-grip it. Practice your swing in slow motion in front of a mirror every day, working on positions and body rotation.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com