Golf Fitness Plan

By Amy Neighbors
A golf-specific fitness plan can increase the distance of all your clubs.
A golf-specific fitness plan can increase the distance of all your clubs.

To be competitive, a golfer needs to think like a world-class athlete. For many years, this has been overlooked by professional golfers and their instructors. It has been assumed at times that golf weaknesses were from breaks in form and incorrect technique, not physical limitations. Today’s top athletes and trainers know without a strong body and mind, technique will only get you so far. Without the proper fitness level, you cannot push the body through 18 holes of golf with consistent and perfect form.

Parts of a Plan

According to the Junior Nationals Golf Club, a successful golf fitness program should incorporate movements that mimic the same positions used during the golf swing. These positions are unique to golf posture and utilize several key golf muscles. The web site Goalfanzine.com says that golf fitness programs need to be well-rounded and include the following components: flexibility training, golf-specific strength training, core strength for a powerful swing and balanced hip rotation; and aerobic conditioning to improve cardiovascular endurance.

Flexibility

Sports Fitness Advisor says that flexibility training can help to prevent chronic, overuse injury from the backswing. Golfers should use dynamic, static-active and static-passive stretching in their flexibility training. Dynamic stretching is the ability to make a dynamic movement through its full range of motion. Examples are twisting from side to side, swinging the arms in a golf swing or doing jumping jacks. Static-active flexibility is the ability to stretch one muscle using the resistance of another. An example is the biceps as the agonist during a hammer curl while the triceps muscle relaxes. Static-passive stretching stretches the muscles through agonistic and antagonistic balance, but an external force is added. For example, a client would use a chair, wall or other piece of equipment to hold the weight of the body.

Strength Training

As athletes strength train, they increase muscle size, strength and endurance. Having increased body strength, not bulk, enhances your golf game by improving the force of your swing. The web site Golfersmd.com focuses on the importance of functional training. Start with the largest muscle groups and finish with the smallest. Begin by performing squats and lunges, with or without added weight. After legs, move to working the chest and back. Push-ups and balance rows are great strength moves for the golfer's chest and back because they require use of the whole body. Finish the strength part of the workout with the muscles of the arms; biceps, triceps, and shoulders. Perform bicep curls while standing on one leg, tricep dips and medicine ball throws.

Core Training

Training the power house, or core of the body will increase the power placed on the golf ball during the drive. A strong core allows the golfer to rotate fully on the backswing, creating more torque. Exercises that work the core for balance, coordination and stability should be included in any fitness plan. The plank, the medicine ball half-golf swing and the Russian twist on a stability ball work all areas of the core. The plank is done by balancing the body on the hands and toes in a push-up position. The medicine ball half-golf swing is performed by standing with feet hip-width apart and holding a medicine ball in the hands in the golf address position. The ball is brought to the right and left side halfway up in a swing motion, then brought back down to address. For a Russian twist, lie on a stability ball balancing on the head, neck, and shoulders with feet flat on the floor. Arms should be extended to ceiling. Slowly twist to each side while keeping balance on the ball.

Cardiovascular Training

Cardiovascular fitness is a special form of muscular endurance. It is the efficiency of the heart, lungs and vascular system in delivering oxygen to the working muscle tissues. Golfers perform several movements that require cardiovascular endurance. They perform swing motions repetitively and walk the course for several hours while carrying or pulling bags. According to Precision Nutrition, the swing motion requires endurance because golfers need to maintain their form for several hours. Walking a course while carrying a bag of clubs is not easy; the heart and breathing rates increase, especially on rugged or hilly courses. Without proper cardiovascular endurance, golfers can get worn out and be unable to walk the course.

About the Author

Amy Neighbors is president and master trainer of Swing Athletics Golf Performance Fitness. She is an AFAA-certified group fitness instructor, SCW and NHE personal trainer, and ARC CPR. Neighbors holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Illinois. She began writing for online publications while working on her master's degree in 2006.

Photo Credits

  • Victor Decolongon/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
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