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Three Components of Golf Conditioning


When training clients for golf, it is very important that they understand you are only qualified to improve the physical aspects of their game... not their skill. This is a common misconception. Tell them you can make them hit the ball further, but if they want to hit the ball straighter, they should go see a golf pro.

In this article, I'll discuss the three major components that need to be addressed when physically preparing for golf.

Injury Prevention

Preventing injuries is the number one priority in golf specific training. Nothing is more aggravating than not being able to play for a month due to an injury caused on or off the course.

Throughout a long day of golf, the body is manipulated into hundreds of ballistic twisting and shifting motions. There is a large potential for injury. The goal in the gym is to replicate these motions, so when they are performed on the course, our muscles and joints are prepared.

The Slide (above) prepares the hips for the repetitive shifting that plagues many golfers. Chronic hip injuries take a lot of people out of the game.

Epicondylitis (golfer's elbow) is also a common injury in golf. To strengthen the muscles of the forearm, try pronation/supination with a weighted implement such as the NRG Ball (shown above). A golf club also works great. For more on Epicondylitis, click here.

It is also important to prevent injuries off the course because it is even more aggravating not being able to play due to an injury caused while performing an every day activity around the house or at work. This is why it is essential to integrate some functional training in with your golf-specific exercises.

A Reach (above) is a great exercise to condition the posterior muscles of the body that are commonly injured while lifting something. This movement can also be done with a medicine ball or in different stances.

Flexibility

Once the body is prepared for golf performance, steps can be taken to enhance it. Through dynamic flexibility training, the range of motion of the torso, shoulders and hips can be amplified. This increase in flexibility will lengthen the back swing, providing the club with more potential for speed. Club speed is the major factor in acquiring distance off the tee.

A Shoulder Horn Rotation (above) is an excellent dynamic flexibility exercise for enhancing body turn.

Use a Short Chop (above) to increase back swing. Stand with your back to the cable apparatus to get an unbelievable stretch.

Power

The other way to increase club speed is to train the muscles for power. Muscular power is the muscles' ability to contract quickly and forcefully. Since a golf swing is a quick and forceful motion, it must be trained for power. Enhancing power is accomplished through speeding up the golf specific exercises in the gym. This ability to overcome resistance quickly is what is needed to produce an explosive swing. It is important not to jump right into a power training program. Make sure the body can tolerate the exercises at moderate speeds first.

In the gym, use cables to mimic a swing (above). As the exercise becomes more familiar, add more speed to develop powerful muscles.

A Rotary Torso Machine is a very effective tool for developing power, especially if it has a power read out (like the one shown above).

Implementation

Depending on what time of year it is, the exercise routine will vary. In pre-season (January-March), a large percentage of the workout is devoted to golf-specific exercises to prepare for the upcoming season.

While in-season (April-September), the golf-specific exercises are tapered off as participation on the course increases. Since the motions that were being trained in the gym are now performed frequently while playing golf, it is not necessary to do them as much. The in-season workout should only consist of a few golf-specific movements for maintenance purposes. Throughout the season, slowly implement more exercises for general fitness to ensure a smooth transition into the off-season training program.

During the off-season (October-December), use the time to do a full body, general fitness routine. Be sure to train the areas that may have been neglected with the golf-specific workout.

Golf Specific Training General Fitness Training
Pre-season 50-75% of w/o, 2-3 sets, 3x/week 25-50% of w/o, 2-3 sets, 2x/week
In-season 25-50% of w/o, 1-2 sets, 1-2x/week 50-75% of w/o, 2-3 sets, 2-3x/week
Off-season 0-25% of w/o, 1-2 sets, 1-2x/week 75-100% of w/o, 2-3 sets, 3x/week

The plan above is a general model for yearly periodization. Clients' workout plans will differ depending on where they live or how often they play. Customize a program to your clients' individual specifications using the three components mentioned in this article, and they will remain injury free and enjoy greater success during the golf season.