Keep Yourself and Your Golf Game Lean and Mean

In this day and age, health and fitness is a key goal that many of us share. Getting exercise is important, and if you are anything like me, there is nothing better than getting out on the golf course and spending a few hours walking, and swinging the club (often in anger).

Did you know that you can burn upwards of 1,500 calories playing a full 18-holes? That is if you are old school like me, and carry your bags.

While that means, two rounds of golf a week will burn one pound (half a kilogram) of body fat, we, as golfers, should realize that there is more to being healthy, and more to playing a better round, than just hitting the course.

Likewise, the gym is not just a place where muscle-bound bodies of steel are forged. The gym is a place of hard work. A place of sweat, where bodies are built, for all occasions. If we hope to improve our game, even as amateur players, we need to improve our bodies. A solid exercise routine has become a key component in every player’s game plan. Look at players like Phil Mickelson and Darren Clarke. These men embraced the health and fitness movement as their careers reached their peak. They hit the gym, lost the pounds and their scores improved.

I work out three or four times a week, and I like to change my routine up. I don’t just train for my golf game, so I do not always have a workout tailor made to the sport. However, when it is time for me to work on that schedule, I have set groups of exercises I like to do.

The truth is, that most of the exercises, while being perfectly suited for priming my body for the ultimate swing and power coil, they are moves that belong in every schedule. Whether you are a golfer or not.

Muscles use in Golf

Getting to the Core of the Issue

To achieve, and maintain a good golf swing, you need to make sure that you put work into your core. There are several exercises listed below that will work on your core. For those that are not sure, your core is your midsection.

Building a strong core is not just about crunches and the odd set of leg raises. There are, if you want to get down to the specifics of it, entire workout programs that are designed to help strength and improve your core.

I stick to the same few exercises, but I change up the order and the number of reps or time limits regularly so that my body does not get too accustomed to the workouts. It is all about continual improvements. Small, but regular gains.

 Golfer With Club

Get Those Hips A-Swinging

Another important motion in golf, is the swing of your hips. That important twist and coil is nothing without loose hips. It may sound strange to talk about it in such terms, but there are exercises, especially stretches, that work your hip abductors, and ensure you keep your hips nice and loose, for that perfectly fluid swing.

Having a strong core, will also influence the coil in your swing, but that is the beauty of understanding how a good fitness routine can keep you sharp. When working out you are not just working one muscle, but your body. Whether through direct or indirect means, your body is always being worked in the gym, and tailoring your routine will mean your target the required muscles in the best possible way.

 Ax Chop exercise diagram

Building Power Through Key Movements.

A lot of my golf training routine is about my core and flexibility, however, there are two key, heavy weight movements that I do.

I know what you are thinking. Lifting heavy weights is not good for your mobility. Muscle is bulky and heavy. That is not true, it is possible to lift heavy weights and keep your agility. The key is to incorporate all forms of exercise into your routine.

My heavy weight, low rep exercises are done once, maybe twice a week, depending on how good I am feeling.

They are power movements and need to be done with heavy weights and low reps in order to get the desired effect.

These moves target the lower body, the lower back and legs. They two areas that you need to have strong to both cope with the repetitive demands of a regular golf game, and also to generate the power and explosiveness needed to add those extra yards to your game.

 Golfer with arms crossed over club

The Workout

Warrior Pose – 3 sets on each leg, holding the pose for 15 seconds each time.

Trunk rotation – – A nice warm up / cool down exercise, you can do these standing or on an incline – using a declined bench. Twist 15 times to each side, remembering to pause in the center. Focus on the twist and the contracts. A great movement for your hips, to generate power in that coil.

Lunges (bodyweight): 3 sets on each leg, for 12-15 reps per set. You can alternate these with reverse lunges to keep things interesting.

Dead Lifts – The first heavy exercise. 3 / 4 sets of maximum 6 reps, working down to just 2 on the final set. Make sure you keep your form perfect for this exercise.

Squats The second heavy exercise. 3 / 4 sets of maximum 6 reps, working down to just 2 on the final set. Make sure you keep your form perfect for this exercise.

Standing Ax Swings / Wood Chops – You can best do these with a cable machine in the gym, but if this is not possible, you can use a dumbbell or even weightless, focusing on the contraction.

Forearm Curls – Strong forearms are a must for a good golf game. Those instances where you find your ball in the heavy rough. Strong forearms will help you get extra distance on those rescue shots.

Plank – Alternate between front and side planks, 3 sets of at least 30 seconds each, building up to 60 seconds. This is a great core exercise, but remember to keep that back straight.

Spinal Twists – Great for the hips and rotations. Lying on your back, bring your legs up until they are as close to 90 degrees as possible, bending your knees if needed. Then slowly, rotate your lower body to one side, lowering your feet to the floor, firs to the left, then the right. Perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps each side.

*You can use Dumbbells or Barbells to add extra weight and resistance if you wish.

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