Finally, the warmer golf weather is upon us. This means that it’s time to pull the clubs out of the garage or closet and get them ready to hit the links. The best way to get prepped for the best golf game of your life is to get your body primed to start not only through practice but also exercises. But before you tee it up this spring season I am here to put an end to some of the myths that people commonly hear when it comes to golf and fitness.
Myth #1: You’re too old to lift weights. Like most people with aches and pain that run and down the backs and necks the common thought is that any training will cause the problem to get worse. Or that there is no point to performing any type of physical training because the body is too far gone anyways where it could be of any benefit. This could not be further from the truth. Even though the normal person views golf as a leisure sport it can be truly taxing on the human body. The average midrange handicap golfer will make close to 60 swings in a given round. When you add in a 1 or 2 practice shots prior to each swing and time spent on the range prior to each round then the shots really add up. This means that for normal round of golf you could swing over 150 times. The golf swing is a very violent movement just like swinging a baseball bat or a tennis racket.
So, do you think that people who play those sports participate in additional exercise? Of course they do.
Have you ever heard of someone exercising too much? Of course not.
It is important to be proactive when it comes to your body to help it not only perform better but to also help prevent injury. The more support you give your joints with both muscular strength and better flexibility will only aid in helping to perform to the best of your ability. So, get into the gym and get moving.
Myth #2: Using weighted clubs with help with your warm-up routine. Most times when you go to the driving range or even on the first tee you could see someone grab two irons out of their bag to begin their warm-up. A few practice swings are made and the person thinks they are ready to go. The problem is that this can actually reduce the club head speed because this person is already mentally preparing himself to swing two clubs.
So, why would you trick your mind into making a swing that is abnormal?
This is not baseball and it does not benefit a person to swing harder on the first tee box if their mind is not ready for it. You should take enough time to do a proper warm up with a banded stretch routine and some balance work prior to the start of the round.
Myth #3: Working out with weights will cause more stiffness. There has not been a direct correlation to strength training and tight muscles when it comes to the golf swing. Recent research has shown that a program for lifting weights does not only create more power but also helps with mobility. Also, those who train with weights are able to maintain their strength gains for longer with a more intense, higher resistance regimen as opposed to those who only do less intense workout with lower resistance. More than likely these are the same people who are afraid of getting hurt in the gym or believe that weight training for golf is not beneficial. Any golfer should also incorporate some type of core stability work and mobility routine to complete weight training. Core work can be done on an ab mat, Swiss ball or even something as simple as forearm planks. Mobility drills with foam rolling and Lacrosse balls are the most beneficial to help with tight tendons.
Myth #4: It’s important to practice the golf swing with gym equipment. One of the first machines that most golfers will flock to in the gym is the cable machine. They will load up the weight and grab a handle or rope attached the cable and start to practice his or her golf swing. The problem with this is that it is very unnatural to create a load on a normal golf swing. Your body will start to develop compensations in order to move the weight on the machine. The brain will begin to alter the normal swing patterns based on what is being done with the particular exercises which will not translate well over to the golf course.
So, which exercises should be done to help with a person’s golf game?
First, a thorough TPI screening will help to assess swing faults and then the proper exercise regimen can be created. Then it would be best to find a TPI certified fitness instructor in your area who can help assess your body swing mechanics. Sometimes golf pros at local clubs and swing instructors will refer to fitness experts for proper training and will make the proper recommendation. Do not attempt to do the exercises on your own. Not only can you risk injury but if the exercises are not performed in the proper manner they can actually hinder the golf swing and overall performance.
Myth #5: Golfing does not require cardiovascular exercise. While this might seem true for those who plan on riding in a golf cart for the rest of their lives and drive up as close to the green as possible it is not true for all. There will always come times of harsh weather like rain that won’t allow people to drive carts or the impending heat will come that will cause increased perspiration leading to quicker fatigue. It is important to know that the game of golf is a marathon and not a sprint. Most rounds will range from 4-5 hours and these long days will seem even longer if one is not in good physical shape. So, do yourself a favor and get off the couch at the end of those long work days and walk around the neighborhood or even on a treadmill at your local gym. Your body will thank you for not only increasing stamina but it will result in a better performance on the course by delaying muscle fatigue.
Dr. Brandon Siegmund was born and raised outside of Fort Worth. After he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006, Dr. Siegmund performed clinical research at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Click Here To Read Full Bio