Golf Fitness Tips
By Bill Tokmajian TPI / CGFI
Titleist Performance Institute Certified Golf Fitness Instructor
When designing a golf fitness program, or any fitness program for that matter, there are some specific functions of the body that you should focus on. The following are a few important functions golfers or anyone who wants to improve their daily living activities should become proficient in. They are Mobility, Flexibility, Stability, Balance, and Strength. (**You can log on to the Titleist Performance Institute web site at www.mytpi.com and register (FOR FREE) to view a complete list of exercises for the previously mentioned areas**.)
Mobility refers to the range of motion in your joints and spine. This is simply, how far can the joint move without pain or restriction. The most important in golf are the hips, shoulders and thoracic spine. Any limitations in these joints can severely restrict your golf swing. Start with 10 minutes a day by just trying to move these areas with circles, twists and up and down movements. Weights are not necessary and any motion will works as long as it is not painful! The idea is to create movement in the joints.
Flexibility just like joint mobility, refers to range of motion. But in this case, we are referring to the muscles ability to lengthen. Important muscles for the golf swing that need to be flexible are the calves, hamstrings, latisimus dorsi (lats), the low back and the chest muscles. You may notice that these muscles cross the joints that we focused on during the mobility exercises. So stretch these muscles by holding for 30 seconds and repeating 2-3 times after your mobility exercises. This may even help with joint mobility.
Stability is basically just as it sounds, the ability to hold everything together. These muscles are non-movers and act to keep the body from falling over or collapsing. (Think of the deep core and low back muscles!) They are not the same as muscles that promote movement. (I’ll discuss in the strength section) Stability is the key to creating power in our golf swing. Stability also protects our low backs from excessive movement, which can cause pain! These exercises can be performed after flexibility movements by holding the body in certain positions for 15-20 seconds. Exercises such as Planks, Wall Sits, Superman’s and Birddogs are excellent for improving stability!
Balance is important because it tells us where our body is in relation to space. Without good balance, it can be hard to perform complex movements, such as golf, as well as our daily living activities. Poor balance can really compromise our ability to move and can cause us to fall. A great test for balance is to stand on one leg while trying to hold the other knee hip high with the foot in the air and your eyes closed. Do not let your arms touch your side or move to far away from your sides. Just let them hang. See if you can do that for 15-20 seconds. If you can’t, like most of us, work on this everyday 3-4 times on each leg.
Strength is different than stability because this refers to muscles that promote movement. Think of these as the big muscles. Once the body has the ability to stabilize itself, it can then move more powerfully and produce more strength due to the fact it can stabilize against something rigid, like the spine! The stronger you are, the more ability you have to create club head speed. Exercises to focus on building strength are crunches, squats, push-ups and pull-ups. Try to do 12-15 reps for 2-3 sets three times a week.
Hopefully you find these tips helpful and effective. If you are ready to start your customized TPI program to get in shape for the upcoming golf season, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 215-512-9321 to set up a personal appointment.
Have a great season!