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How to Really Improve Your Golf Games?

November 6th, 2008 · 2 Comments ·
 
 

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Mun’s Note: This article is a guest post from Hugo of Beeblefitness.com.  Hugo is am experienced Personal Trainer from England.  Together with his wife, he runs his company On Track Fitness where they specialize in a wide range of fitness needs including sport specific training and people with disabilities and injuries.

POWER! That seems to be the number one item in many golfer’s wish list – wanting those extra yards added to their drive and fairway shots.  Adding more power to the swing or increasing your drive is not a new idea.  You can find thousands of websites, videos and books teaching you that skill as though this is the “holy grail” of golf and will finally stop you slicing the ball and allow you to join the PGA tour.  However, at the end of a round, most golfers will tell you that they would gladly trade that extra 10 yards on their drive for a more consistent game.  Yes, being consistent in all of your games is far more important.

How To Make Your Game More Consistent
In order to make your game better, you will need at least 3 skills: good technique which takes practice and lessons, an analytical mind which means you can stay calm and focused when your game wanders and finally a body which is able to cope with all the physical stresses of a round of golf.  Now, I may not help you with the first two but the last item is something I definitely can help you with.


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The Challenge
If you continually do one particular movement, the muscles used will tighten up and over time will become shorter.   What this means is that the whole body’s structure and ability to adapt and change is being restricted and pulled by the shorter stronger muscles and allowed to do so by weak opposing muscles. The result is usually something has to give and needless to say it will often be your back that gives.  It will be under constant pressure not only from the swing motion itself, but because the muscles of the back are shortening over time.

The Answer: Stretch and Strengthen.  The simple answer is that you will need to stretch to allow the muscles to work through their natural range and not to be all short and tight. Having that said, if you just stretch the muscles, then you will actually end up creating longer but weak muscles which will be prone to injury. The trick is to not only make them longer but also to make them stronger within their new range of movement.

How?

1) Warming Up Before Your Gym Work Out
If you already have worked out at the gym, then give yourself a pat on the back, but get ready to make some changes. Make sure at the start, you warm up on a cardiovascular piece of equipment for around 10 minutes building your resting heart rate up to around 70% of your maximum heart rate [MHR = (220 minus your age)x 70%].

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Immediately after your warm-up, you should perform a full body stretch. The warm-up will have got your blood pumping and your muscles warm. Warm muscles stretch much more readily than cold muscles which of course means that after your warm-up your stretching should go further than if your muscles were cold.

During this stretching routine please make sure you stretch your back through all its movements: forwards, backwards, lateral bends and finally twists. The legs must be stretched, including your quads, hamstrings, calf muscles and also your hip flexor muscles and glute muscles.

Keep the stretching slow, controlled and do not bounce or force the stretch to go further than it wants to. Finally hold each stretch for at least 40 seconds with nice slow deep breathing. Find your happy spot and really relax.

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2) Train Your Whole Body
After a full body stretch you should be able to train your muscles through a fuller range of movement than before. Your workout must train the body as a whole, do not try and emulate the golf swing in an exercise. It will never work and that movement should be left outside on the golf course. In the gym, you are looking to make your body as strong and supple as possible so that it can last out on the golf course and find the constant swinging motion a breeze. There is no magic workout that is the best for golf, just make sure you include the whole body and work every muscle so that you do not have a weakness that may cause you a problem out on the course.

The muscles you need to make sure you train are as follows:

  • Legs: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Hip Flexors
  • Glutes & Hips: Gluteus Maximus, Abductors and Adductors
  • Chest: Pectoralis Major
  • Back: Latissimus Dorsi, Erector Spinae, Rhomboids and Trapezius
  • Shoulders: Deltoids
  • Core: Abdominal muscles focusing on the Transverse abdominals

There are a lot of muscles included here, but do not worry.  You do not have to fit all them into every workout as long as they are all included every week in a variety of workouts, especially the ones that you are weak on. You may have noticed that I have not included your arms in the workout, this is because they are worked more than enough in all the other upper body exercises.

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3) Finish As You Began
After the workout you should begin a cool-down procedure. Start with a cardiovascular machine and pick a lower than average level that you find relatively easy and go through the movement at about half the pace that you would normally. Go for about 5 minutes (until your heart rate drops to about 50% of your MHR) and now stretch your whole body again making sure you cover all the muscles.

I cannot stress enough how important this stretch is. It is all too easy to complete the exercises and then leave the stretching out. However if you do this, you will end up with tight, unforgiving muscles that will restrict your movements in your swing and ultimately affect your game in a bad way. So do not leave the gym thinking it does not matter, it does!

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Summary
Is there really anything different to a golfer’s workout than anyone else? In a word, yes. Whatever you may think of golfers they are athletes and their bodies must be highly tuned to perform the movements required of them. Of course some golfers look like they have spent more time at the 19th hole than the gym, but I can guarantee that their muscles are supple and able to perform the swing time and time again. This means that a golfer’s workout is as important to them as a footballer’s workout is to a footballer. The difference between a golfer’s workout and a non-golfer’s is that they have to do these exercises and stretches to keep their muscles supple and functioning correctly to be at the top of their game.

Mun’s note: Thanks to Hugo for sharing his experience. It is my honor to have him writing for MunFitnessBlog.com. Don’t forget to leave a comment here to tell Hugo what you think or ask him regarding fitness related matter. At the mean time, check out my article of How To Swing Like Tiger Woods? Also, I am looking for other fitness articles from guest author and if you think you can write excellent post too, let me know.
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2 responses so far ↓
  • Tina Thompson // Nov 8, 2008 at 2:51 PM

    I just wanted to say good work on your site, I like the look and the information was useful.

  • Chad // Nov 14, 2008 at 1:54 AM

    I am an avid golfer and I am always looking for power. Well, I have it, but the more power I get the less my accuracy. I am now focusing on how straight I hit it and not how hard. Better scores to come!

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