While most of you are starting to tune your skis and put your clubs away for the winter, you should be tuning your body for next year’s golf season. That’s right, the winter is a great time to prepare yourself for the upcoming year . . . to get into golf shape. Most recognize the value of pre-ski and snowboarding conditioning, but few acknowledge that the game of golf needs proper physical conditioning and preparation, at least at the amateur level. I dare you to ask the top 10 PGA/LPGA money winners if golf-specific fitness and conditioning are a part of their off-season regimens. What do you think? Are you a believer? Maybe you workout but do you workout with golf in mind? Are you stretching the important muscles to stretch? Are you strengthening the important muscles to strengthen in ways they should be strengthened? Maybe, maybe not.
Traditionally, lifting weights and stretching are done in a singular plane while sitting or laying down, ie moving in one direction. However, the golf swing is performed in multiple planes standing up. Picture yourself sitting at a weight machine pushing or pulling a stack of weight. Does that look like golf? We should probably train our muscles in ways that mimic the movements and positions of golf. There are occasions when attempting to build a base of strength that one would use traditional single plane lifts but we move in 3 planes, in 3 dimensions- forward/backward, side to side and in rotation. All 3 of these planes are moved through while swinging a golf club whether you realize or not. How well do you move through those 3 planes and different combinations of those planes? Don’t you think you should know if you TRULY want to get better at the game you spend a fair amount of time and money pursuing?
The dominant plane the golf swing occurs is what is termed the transverse plane, through rotation. Very few “traditional” weight room exercises are done in rotation. The two main body areas that need to have mobility to rotate are your hips and your mid-back. The lower back is actually staying relatively stationary and stable but is often the culprit of injury thanks to limited hip and mid-back flexibility. Have you had your hip and mid-back mobility screened and shown how to maximize safe motion here? If you have ever had lower back pain during or after playing golf, don’t you think you should? The two main power generators to create rotational force and power are your glute muscles and your oblique abdominals. Straight plane sit ups or crunches on the floor do little to help your golf game. Once you have good mobility in rotation in your hip joints and your mid-back and you have combined that with strength in your glutes and abs you still need to coordinate an upper to lower body separation. This needs to occur both in creating coil or turn into the backswing and in transition into your downswing to maximize your swing efficiency. The more efficient your swing the less power leaks and the further you can hit it- most every golfer’s goal.
It makes sense to enhance your golfing longevity by being assessed in order to figure out what YOU need to do for your body in order to maximize YOUR golfing performance. Combining improvement in physicality with proper swing instruction from your PGA Professional swing coach, as well as being fitted for proper equipment is the best way to fully and comprehensively improve. Consider coming in this off-season for a full body, 2 and/or 3 dimensional swing assessment and be given a fitness program that is specific for your limitations.