Targeted Conditioning for Golfers
Are you getting serious about improving your fitness for golf?
In the same way you have your swing evaluated by a golf expert at the club, it's critical to have your basic movement patterns evaluated before starting your strength and conditioning regimen.
It's important to understand that strength training will accentuate what is already going on with your body, and that can be good or bad. Faulty movement patterns left unaddressed can quickly lead to injury if methods of fitness are just piled up on top of them.
By identifying areas of movement dysfunction prior to training, a corrective/pre-hab protocol can be instituted concurrent to methods of performance enhancement. That way you can stay healthy while improving your golf fitness.
Functional Movement Screen (FMS)
The Functional Movement Screen was developed by physical therapists Gray Cook and Lee Burton and it is a perfect evaluation tool for the golfer. It is an easy test to perform and consists of seven basic tests which display various movement patterns of the human body.
Results can give the golfer, and more importantly the strength coach, valuable information related to mobility, flexibility, strength, balance, and core stabilization. Once the test is taken and evaluated, a customized regimen can be designed to meet the golfer's individual needs.
The FMS is an easy-to-execute screening tool that can be administered quickly in a gym or clinic. While some people may require more advanced methods of evaluation, the FMS is perfect for most healthy individuals, and can provide valuable information as per the direction of the training plan. Based on the results of the test, varying degrees of the following points can be instituted to help you improve and maintain health, improve your golf game and decrease your risk of injury.
One of the most important factors in developing a more powerful and efficient golf swing is flexibility. The ability to move through a greater range of motion can lead to:
- A greater potential distance to apply force to the ball
- The potential to apply more force to the ball
In addition, a consistently followed flexibility program can result in fewer soft tissue related injuries, and provides a simple, self-help method to alleviate general muscle tension. Static stretching, PNF techniques, and the use of a foam roller are all methods that can be instituted to enhance flexibility, and improve overall joint tissue quality.
While increasing flexibility is a need for most golfers, it should applied only up to a certain point. Hyper-flexibility in any area can have an adverse effect if there is an inability to control or sequence movement. It's a fact that most golfers need to stretch more, but working on flexibility on an over-extensive and exclusive basis could have more of a negative effect on your swing than a positive one.
Because golf is a full-body activity, it is important to address all areas of the body. Consult with an exercise specialist to go over the stretching exercises (and methods) that would be most beneficial to your particular needs.
By increasing your strength, you'll be helping yourself in a few important areas. First, and most attractive to the golfer, you'll be able to increase club head speed, resulting in more distance on the ball. Second, you'll experience less fatigue and the ability to do more work with less effort. And finally, you'll decrease the risk of injury to joints and soft tissues.
Strength training can be intimidating if you have never done it before, or if you've practiced methods that aren't suitable for the golfer. That's where knowledge of what exercises a golfer requires, and proper instruction of those exercises becomes important.
Also realize that there are many ways to develop strength. Traditional strength training methods, such as lifting weights, are definitely effective, but you don't have to constantly load the body in order to overload the muscles. Bodyweight training and exercise tubing/bands can effectively add resistance as can a training tool like the TRX. The key is to challenge the body with resistance, whether provided by the body or by external force, and add enough variety to keep it interesting and enjoyable.