Bob Forman is the Health and Fitness Director at The Peninsula Club in Cornelius, North Carolina and authors a golf fitness website at www.golffitcarolina.com.
The golf season is in full swing, and the one thing you don’t want to neglect is your golf fitness program. As a matter of fact, it’s very important that you continue with the exercises, as they will keep your body in balance throughout the playing season.
The golf swing, just like any other one-sided, repetitive activity, will eventually create imbalances in the body. These imbalances can cause misalignments in the musculoskeletal system, which often leads to acute and chronic pain and injury.
These anatomical deficiencies that are a result of the sport we love to play can also hinder our ability to play it well. There is a strong correlation between muscle deficiencies and swing inefficiencies that morph into poor swing mechanics, loss of distance and poor playing performance.
To avoid this, you need to stick with your customized exercise program or get started on one. The golf-specific stretching and strengthening, when properly designed for your specific needs, will keep the musculoskeletal system in balance no matter how many rounds you play each week. You might not have as much time as you do during the off-season, but you should understand the importance of keeping the fitness regimen in place year-round, even if you need to modify it a bit.
For example, if you feel the strength training component makes you sore or stiff for an upcoming round, go lighter with the workout or hold off on the weights entirely the day or two before you play. The same could apply for any cardiovascular component you may be doing. Stretching, on the other hand, should be maintained throughout.
Plan ahead. If you’re a weekend golfer, you may want to hit the higher intensity workout early in the week and taper off as the week goes on. Obviously, the goal is to feel fresh and ready to go when you tee it up. The last thing you want is to be dragging your butt around the golf course because you’ve been exercising too much and/or too hard.
Adding a round or two of golf each week to the current activity pattern may overtax the body. Keep an eye on signs and symptoms that you’re doing too much. Some of these include:
• fatigue/lack of energy
• the inability to sleep
• performance issues out on the golf course
• a lack of enthusiasm to play
• decreased appetite
• muscle/joint pain
The key is to listen to your body and gauge the frequency, duration and intensity accordingly. Consult with your certified golf fitness instructor as to the best plan for you.
If you’re not currently involved with a golf fitness program, there is no time like the present to get started on one. A lot of folks are reluctant to start an exercise program in the middle of the playing season for fear of messing up their swing. If done right, this shouldn’t be an issue.
A knowledgeable golf fitness instructor will be able to design and supervise you through a sensible exercise progression. Being that it is in-season, you’ll want to ease into the program and advance gradually to keep muscle soreness and stiffness to a minimum.
Remember that the corrective exercises should be implemented first before phasing in golf-specific strength, balance and power exercises. For many, that usually means flexibility and range of motion exercises to start, which shouldn’t hinder your game. If anything, you’ll notice some swing and game improvements in a relatively short period of time.
Maintaining your golf fitness regimen during the playing season is a very wise and productive decision, not only from a performance perspective, but from a health standpoint as well. Keeping the body in balance promotes efficient movement patterns, which play into better efficiencies of the swing and inhibit those triggers that can lead-up to acute and chronic injury.