Over the last few weeks I have had many questions about golf fitness exercises.
Questions such as: are these type of exercises beneficial to someone who has had a lower back injury, what are the best types of exercises to improve my clubhead speed, and what flexibility exercises can improve my back swing?
Through many of our free daily golf tips on our website, we have provided answers to these questions and many more. One area of golf fitness I get quite a few questions about revolves on how to implement golf exercises into a golf swing improvement program.
Probably one of the most-asked questions is: how do I go about introducing certain exercises into my golf fitness program?
At times, certain individuals are unable to perform an exercise in its basic form. They are either out of shape, suffering from an injury, or too stiff to perform it correctly. A Russian Twist may be too difficult for a beginner to execute correctly. It takes great core strength, endurance and flexibility to complete the exercise to the limit.
In this type of situation there are “baby steps” you can take in terms of implementing such exercises into your golf fitness program.
I like to call this the “position, movement, tolerance” training guideline. This is an easy methodology to follow in terms of implementing exercises into a training program.
We’ll use the Russian Twist exercise in my book, Core Golf Fitness, as an example.
When you are implementing a golf fitness exercise(s) into your golf swing improvement program, you must be able to place the body in the correct starting position of the exercise.
For example, if I were to have you perform a Russian Twist, first I would ask you to place your body in the correct position for the exercise. In this situation it would be knees slightly bent and placing your torso in a position where the “abs were turned on.”
Just placing your body in the correct position for an exercise requires effort from the body. If you were able to place your body in the correct position, I would then ask you to “hold” this position for a certain amount of time. This would indicate you are strong enough to add movement to your golf fitness exercise.
On the other hand, if you were only able to hold the starting position of the Russian Twist for 15 seconds before your lower back started to bother you, this is an indicator to me that this is where we begin your golf fitness program. I would have you “hold” the start position of this golf exercise for a certain number of seconds and sets. This would, over a period of time, develop more strength and endurance in those golf muscles.
Once we have reached a good “hold” time on a golf exercise, we then progress to adding “movement” into the equation. Movement simply stands for range of motion (how much movement you can do). Every golf exercise has a certain range of motion you move through to get the greatest benefit for your golf game.
In the Russian Twist example, a full range of motion would be a full shoulder turn to the left and right of center. Again, at the beginning you may be unable to make a full shoulder turn. So what do we do? We slowly work on increasing the “movement” within the golf exercise until you are at a point of full range.
As with the idea of “position,” we do the same with the idea of “movement.” We gradually increase until you have achieved a full range of motion in the golf exercise. Once this is achieved, we move on to the final stage of implementing a golf-specific exercise.
The final stage of implementing any golf exercise into your golf swing improvement program is “tolerance.” Tolerance can be defined as performing the correct number of sets and repetitions of a golf exercise for it to be beneficial to your golf game.
The idea of “no pain, no gain” does not work in this situation. Rather, you want to be able to perform a self-prescribed number of sets and reps of every golf exercise in your program. This prescribed amount of work is up to you, the individual golfer, and what you feel is best for your body.
Too little work will provide you no benefit. Too much work or following the “no pain, no gain” mind-set can increase the possibility of injury greatly.
You need to use your best judgment on every golf exercise in your program. This will allow you to perform each golf exercise with the correct technique, develop (maybe over time) the correct range of motion of each golf exercise in your program, and finally take each exercise to “your own level of tolerance.”
It is very easy to implement golf exercises into your golf swing improvement program. Follow the simple rule of “position, movement, tolerance,” and this should help you dramatically in the development of your golf fitness program.
Once you’ve mastered the exercises and routines in your current exercise program, you’ll be ready to take it to the next level, a more advanced program.
Sean Cochran is one of the most recognized golf fitness instructors in the world today. He travels the PGA Tour regularly working with PGA Professionals, most notably Masters and PGA Champion Phil Mickelson. To learn more about Sean and his golf fitness programs go to http://www.seancochran.com