Exercise Your Way to Better Golf

As always, check with your doc­tor before begin­ning any exer­cise pro­gram.

Most high hand­i­cap golfers could improve their swing and score by exer­cis­ing reg­u­lar­ly. While not required to enjoy golf­ing, a reg­u­lar exer­cise pro­gram will increase your strength and flex­i­bil­i­ty thus adding dis­tance and accu­ra­cy to your shots.

There are many golf fit­ness pro­grams on the mar­ket specif­i­cal­ly geared toward improv­ing your golf game. Most of these pro­grams pro­vide exer­cis­es that strength­en and stretch the mus­cle groups used dur­ing a golf swing. Tar­get­ing these mus­cle groups can take a good golfer’s game to the next lev­el. While these golf spe­cif­ic exer­cise rou­tines can also ben­e­fit the high hand­i­cap golfer, I’m not con­vinced they’re nec­es­sary for the vast major­i­ty of high hand­i­cap golfers to reach shoot­ing 90.

I would argue a gen­er­al exer­cise pro­gram would be more ben­e­fi­cial to the high hand­i­cap golfer in both gen­er­al health and shoot­ing bogey golf. A large num­ber of ama­teur golfers prob­a­bly do not reg­u­lar­ly exer­cise. Going from doing noth­ing to reg­u­lar­ly per­form­ing a golf spe­cif­ic exer­cise pro­gram may not be sus­tain­able.

A gen­er­al exer­cise pro­gram will help con­trol your weight, com­bat high blood pres­sure and dia­betes, boost your ener­gy, pro­mote bet­ter sleep­ing and even improve your sex life. A good over­all exer­cise rou­tine will tar­get flex­i­bil­i­ty, strength and endurance. Improve­ment in these three areas trans­lates into a bet­ter, more pow­er­ful golf swing and more ener­gy towards the end of your round.

Hav­ing more mus­cle flex­i­bil­i­ty means you’ll have a more com­plete, flu­id swing. You will be able to more eas­i­ly rotate your tor­so through your back­swing and fol­low through. Greater flex­i­bil­i­ty is achieved through stretch­ing your mus­cles on a reg­u­lar basis. There are many stretch­ing pro­grams avail­able today. The one I use is Stretch Max with Cathe Friedrich. It is a six­ty minute DVD that is divid­ed into three twen­ty minute seg­ments. One seg­ment involves just an exer­cise mat, the sec­ond uses a sta­bil­i­ty ball and the third uti­lizes resis­tance bands. I rotate through the seg­ments doing a dif­fer­ent twen­ty minute seg­ment twice a week.

While mus­cle strength isn’t the major deter­min­ing fac­tor in golf shot dis­tance, gen­er­al­ly speak­ing adding mus­cle strength will add yardage to your shots. There are sev­er­al dif­fer­ent meth­ods avail­able for strength train­ing. Most peo­ple either use machines or free weights. Dif­fer­ent loca­tions are also an option – you can join a gym or work­out at home. I use the Wei­der Pro 4850 which is a rel­a­tive­ly inex­pen­sive but ful­ly func­tion­al home gym. Unfor­tu­nate­ly it is no longer made but the Body Sol­id EXM1500S, although a bit more expen­sive, is a qual­i­ty home gym. The book The Great Home Gym Hand­book does a nice job of explain­ing home gym exer­cis­es and help­ing you cre­ate a strength pro­gram. I strength train for thir­ty min­utes twice a week.

Car­dio­vas­cu­lar exer­cis­es help build your endurance and give you a high­ly lev­el of ener­gy for a longer peri­od of time. As with the oth­er areas of an exer­cise pro­gram, there are almost end­less ways to work your car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tem includ­ing danc­ing, kick box­ing and run­ning. Walk­ing is the eas­i­est method while still being ben­e­fi­cial. You can start by walk­ing the course dur­ing your round. Build on that by tak­ing a few evening walks dur­ing the week with your spouse, sig­nif­i­cant oth­er, or dog. Try to work your way up to a 5 km (3.1 mile) walk with a brisk pace.

Hope­ful­ly you will con­sid­er imple­ment­ing an exer­cise pro­gram today. Please do not use the excuse of not hav­ing any time. Your health is too impor­tant for that. As I have explained in this arti­cle, I spend rough­ly two and a half hours a week exer­cis­ing. Most of us could eas­i­ly cut two and a half hours a week out of our TV watch­ing sched­ule. Your golf game will see improve­ment from reg­u­lar exer­cise.

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