Even though you’re not playing golf in the winter months in the Capital District doesn’t mean you should neglect your body and hope that when you swing a club in the spring, your muscles and posture will be the same. The saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” applies in golf’s offseason. It’s important to fine-tune your golf skills, but in the off months it’s more important to fine-tune your golf body. Here are some simple, functional, golf-specific exercises to perform better at your golf game:
- Moving your body will lubricate the joints, muscles, nervous system, and brain. Take a nice rhythmic walk outdoors, weather permitting, or on a treadmill (without holding on to the treadmill). Incorporate walking backwards and sideways to create balance in your legs, hips, and back; this can decrease your risk of injury.
- Mobility work before stability work, meaning rotate your joints in a circular manner, in both directions: ankles, hips , shoulders, upper back. Move them forward and backward, side to side. Your body moves in multiple directions so it’s best to train in multiple directions.
- Find tight muscles and make sure they get movement. Allowing tight muscles to remain tight will restrict normal joint movement, which can result in injury and poor golf performance. Common areas that are known to be tight are calf muscles, hamstrings, quads, lats, pecs, hands, neck, and shoulder muscles. When stretching, hold for 10 to 30 seconds with proper posture and alignment. An example is a standing hamstring stretch on the stairs. Stand in front of the stairs, toes forward, raise the right leg to the third step, keeping your toe pointed to the ceiling, never reach your fingers to your toes, as that can hurt your back. Lean forward into the stretch with you back straight. Remember, a rounded back hurts your golf swing, so don’t stretch with a rounded back. Repeat on both sides.
- Strength training will add power and speed to your golf swing. Get out your exercise tubing, wrap it around a pole. Hold both handles, and while standing, pull your elbows back to the wall. Generally, golfers need pulling exercises more than pushing, especially if you have rounded shoulders and bad posture. Push-ups, for example, can tighten the pecs, making rounded shoulders worse.
- You should also exercise using the tubing in a rotational, diagonal chop. Since golf is rotation, you should incorporate that motion into your routine.
Keep in mind that we all have limitations and tolerance to load and movement. If you exceed that, something will break. Be gentle with yourself. These winter workouts will make you a better golfer, but they can also make you a safer and better snow-shoveler.
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