The Best Golf Workout
When people think of physically demanding sports, generally, they think of football, rugby, and athletics – all of which are indeed physically demanding. One of the least considered sports, however, is golf. There is a general misconception associated with golf, in that people think it is not a physically demanding sport because the sport itself comes across as so leisurely. Rather than having to sprint from hole to hole, the golfers instead take a leisurely stroll, or even hop in a buggy and drive! It is rare that a golfer will ever break a sweat, so why on earth would they need to be in shape? The reason is that golf requires different types of fitness because it is a different sport.
The Importance Of Training
Golfers not only need to be fit in a cardiovascular sense, they also need to be strong, and fairly well muscled if truth be told. Rory McIlroy for example, who is considered one of the greatest golfers in the world, often incorporates a lot of gym work and strength building exercises into his routine, and it’s certainly not done him any harm.
In actual fact, McIlroy claims that it is one of the keys to his success. Strength training not only improves golf posture, ability, and technique, it can also help prevent injury. Rotator cuff injuries are very common among golfers, which is why having a decent amount of muscle on the upper body, is generally considered beneficial. To help ensure you’re in golfing shape as the weather begins to improve, here’s a look at how to stay in golfing shape, and improve overall strength levels in the process.
Work On Your Core
Your core is where the majority of your power is generated from, which is why it’s so important to have a strong one. It’s no good blasting your deltoids and biceps in the gym each week, if your core is weak and is being neglected, you simply will not be able to generate enough functional strength and power to really nail those all important drives. To improve core strength, make sure you include plenty of abdominal work in your training routines, and don’t forget your obliques. A few exercises you should consider implementing on a regular basis are things like: sit-ups, stomach crunches, mountain climbers, hanging leg raises, kettlebell swings, and planks.
Work On Your Flexibility
If you aren’t flexible, you aren’t going to be the best golfer you can be, and that is a fact. When you’re teeing off, you want to be able to smoothly rotate your hip slightly, whilst bringing your arms backwards and your shoulders up behind your neck as you take your swing. Flexibility helps keep you stable, plus it works in unison with your core, so you will be able to generate maximum levels of torque when you whip the club behind your head before making contact with the ball. For right handers, your left shoulder and right hip should work in synergy with one another to generate the most driving power from your clubs, and vice versa for those of you who are left handed. For flexibility, you simply cannot go wrong with stretches, though you may wish to invest in a foam roller to really take your stretching to a whole other level.
Work Those Shoulders
As mentioned, rotator cuff injuries are very common amongst golfers, and if you’ve ever experienced one, you’ll know how painful it can be. To ensure you protect your shoulders and keep them in full working order, make sure you include plenty of deltoid training each week. Lateral raises, military presses, seated dumbbell presses, and front raises all work very well as they help build muscle, and strengthen existing muscle fibres in the process. Before training shoulders, you should perform some basic rotator cuff warm up exercises using the lightest dumbbells in the gym. The stronger your delts, the more power you will be able to add to your swing, and the easier you will find it to stay injury-free whilst out on the course.
Incorporate Unilateral Exercises
We all have body parts that are stronger than one another, just as we all have one side that is stronger than the other. To get the most out of your golf however, as mentioned previously, balance is key. Unilateral exercises and movements however, should be a regular occurrence in your training regimes as they help bring up weak body parts, and promote balance. Single arm rows, single arm dumbbell bench presses, and single arm dumbbell shoulder presses all work well for the upper body, as they promote improved ranges of motion, and deeper stretches. For the lower body, walking lunges, alternate leg presses, and single legged hamstring curls and quad extensions are all great for increasing lower body strength.
Don’t Forget Your Cardio
As mentioned, although you are not racing from hole to hole as quickly as you can, golf courses, especially 18 hole courses, can cover several miles and this can take its toll on you if you are not cardiovascularly conditioned. If you’re tired, you will struggle to breathe, you will struggle to focus, and you will struggle to generate power, which means that your long and short game will suffer. Put simply, the fitter you are, the better a golfer you will become. Therefore, make sure you get plenty of cardio each week, ideally in the form of a combination of HIIT and steady state cardio to help mix things up and improve endurance and explosive speed.