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GOLF FITNESS

Proper physical preparation can improve your outlook, take strokes off your score and help you to enjoy the game. Our goal is to encourage you to develop proper conditioning habits, skills, and mental preparation. Organizations, individuals and web sites mentioned in this article have been researched and are recommended by the TWO GUYS. We suggest you examine resources in your area. Logon to our practice facility pages and contact a pro at a dome or practice range near you. Many health clubs have trainers prepared to assist you in designing a golf fitness program tailored to your needs. A personal training session (usually 45 minutes to 1 hour) generally will cost you $30-$45. After one or two sessions, you should be able to go through the workout on your own. If nothing else, this training will help you to develop focus and discipline - and improve your health. To succeed, you will need to address three areas - strength training, cardiovascular fitness and therapeutic/ stretching exercises.

1. Strength Training

Fitness trainer Dan Kur of BALLYS (810-772-0005) on Harper N. of Vernier in St. Clair Shores, was extremely knowledgeable and helpful in providing a training regimen designed specifically to increase strength and flexibility in the muscles most needed to execute a powerful golf swing. Dan is the man to see at Ballys to get your program started (he will work with you or set you up with a knowledgeable trainer). Key components in strength training include:

  • Begin with the large muscles (IE - legs, torso, back, etc.) to build core balance - then work your way to the smaller ones (IE arms, wrists, ankles etc.)
  • Maintain proper posture when exercising ( Have you ever watched someone exercise on a treadmill or cross trainer with their back hunched over…? not good!) Think "golf posture" when exercising.
  • Isolate specific muscles with reps of 12 at a time using a challenging amount of weight. If 12 reps is comfortable - you need to add more weight. If 8 reps is too strenuous - you need a lighter load. Build up gradually - but remember - if it is not challenging, little progress will be made…
  • Take 48 - 72 hours off between strength training sessions.
  • Stretch before AND after a workout - and before and after a round of golf

Your trainer will also be able to help you with strength training exercises you can perform without weights.

2. Cardiovascular Conditioning

 Cardiovascular conditioning is important to your health and will help stabilize your energy on the back nine. You need to work at 60 - 90% of your maximum heart rate for 20 to 60 minutes at a time 3 to 5 times a week for best results. Your trainer will help you calculate your maximum heart rate (HR). Set up a program of varying exercises to avoid overuse injuries and boredom. If you cannot "go" for 20 minutes - build up gradually! Running, brisk walking, swimming, workouts on stepmasters and cross trainers, and aerobics classes are some recommended cardiovascular activities. Walking 18 holes is great exercise but does not approach a cardiovascular workout. Instructors at any health club should be able to set you up with a cardiovascular program if you cannot create one yourself.

The EASTLAND TENNIS & FITNESS CLUB (313-886-2944 1820 E Warren in Detroit - in Balduck Park) features a unique GOLFIT™ aerobics class. This 60 minute session targets the goals of a passionate golfer - to add power, gain distance, create more consistency, build stamina for a strong finish, and shave strokes off your score. Diana and Julie completed required training programs and are certified to teach this class at the club, which offers sessions three times a week. The GOLFIT™ Momentus Swing Trainer (endorsed by David Duval and used by over 100 pro golfers), along with other professional equipment, is used to improve your strength and flexibility. You get an aerobic workout while working on your swing. Great concept! Highly recommended ! The original GOLFIT™ program was developed by Kelly Blackburn for PGA Tour professionals and has been implemented with incredible results. Call Eastside for more info on memberships and classes. For some of the classes offered, including the Fit For Golf class - you must be a member of the club. It is a great facility - which also offers golf instruction and has 8 indoor tennis courts. Gary Bodenmiller is the manager and can direct you to the proper source for golf or tennis instruction - which is also available to nonmembers. Chip Lamarre - featured in our golf instruction article ("Connect The Dots") , gives lessons at the club on an appointment basis. If you already belong to a club which does not offer this GOLFIT™ aerobics class - clue them in to the info below as encouragement for them to start up a program…

* For more info on GOLFIT™ classes ( for individuals and also for organizations interested in starting a class) visit their web site at www.golfitonline.com

 *For more info on the MOMENTUS Swing trainer, visit their website at www.momentumgolf.com

3. Therapeutic Exercises and Stretches

Bridgette Bowler of Bowler Chiropractic in Ferndale (1-248-547-5093) recommends 2 practical exercises for proper spine alignment and for reducing the risk of dibillitating injuries. Her clinic practices holistic health methods, including low impact (and infrequent) adjustments of the axis and C2 - to foster total health.

Pelvic Tilt - lie down in a sit-up position ( knees bent with feet flat on the ground) - slowly lift your back off the ground by pushing through your heels - not using your back or stomach muscles to lift…). Tilt your pelvis and "roll down", pressing your back to the floor - ONE VERTEBRA AT A TIME. Keep your upper vertebra attached to the ground as you roll down to the lower lumbar. Repeat 10 - 15 times each morning and evening - and especially after a strenuous workout or a round of golf.

Snow Angel Wings (arms only) - From the same position, with palms up - stretch out your arms and make angel wings (touch your sides, touch your hands together above your head). Repeat for 4 - 5 minutes…

Do these exercises daily to help prevent lower back and neck / shoulder pain. These are preventative exercises! If in pain - lay off the golf. Rest - see a specialist. Sparky has been seeing Bridgette once or twice a year for several years and swears by her methods - no need for repetitive, high impact adjustments. Find someone you can trust - take care of what ails you - do preventative exercises and be consistent in your stretching regimen.

David Osmer, a client of Dr. Bowler's and head teaching professional at Wabeek Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, also recommends that we practice swinging from our weak side (IE - right handers practice swinging left handed) in order to balance muscle use. This will help us to be better in tune with our body - and to recognize swing faults. More importantly, it will help to achieve a greater sense of balance and can help to prevent injuries caused from years of performing a singular motion from one side - which can cause an imbalance. Sounds like good advice. It also is a scientific fact that any physical activity practiced by the "weak" side of your body - translates into greater coordination on the strong side. Practice from the opposite side - will improve movements on your strong side. If you are a right-hander, get yourself a used left-handed 7 iron and give it a whirl. Worth a try!

Finally,if you are rushing to make your tee time - be sure to do a few stretches before you hit. Start with the hamstrings (bend over towards the ground- but keep the back as straight a possible - hold this for 30 to 60 seconds and don't bounce). Stretch your shoulders by taking your arms back and forward - extending in the positions of your back swing and follow through - hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Take some practice swings with a steady, deliberate motion - gradually increasing your speed. In-between shots do some more stretches over the first couple of holes - your body will appreciate it later…

Articles involving golf fitness are available on the following sites (email us if you know of others)
http://www.golf-trainer.com/
http://golf.about.com/od/fitnesshealth

 

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