Is Your Workout Routine Hurting your Golf Game?
It is well documented that core strength is critical to prevent injury, back pain and improve the golf swing. Before I start training my clients I evaluate them and do a fitness assessment. A client that is a golfer I often hear he or she does “core strengthening ” in their current exercise routine. My first question is always “What do you mean, core strengthening ?” Too often the response is, ” Well you know , crunches, the ab machine where you press your chest down, things like that.” When I do a full evaluation on them the individual exhibits a weak core musculature, poor posture and flawed movement. All of these can lead to swing faults that will leave them prone to injury and pain.
When picking exercises for core strengthening make sure you pick exercises that will improve function and ability in whatever the activity you participate in. Crunches and stationary abdominal machines are highly likely to be the wrong choice for golfers. The crunch and ab machines usually promote upper(thoracic ) spine flexion. This rounds the shoulders and puts the back in a humped position. As a Golfer this is not a position you want to be training in. Excessive upper spine flexion and shoulder rounding promotes poor posture, rotation and flaws in the golf swing. In addition, crunches and other ab exercises that require you to flex from the shoulders down to the hips can put a lot of stress down the neck and low (lumbar) spine. If your are looking to improve your golf swing avoid this type of core training.
For beginners , abdominal strengthening should focus on holding positions that promote anti-extension(arching) of the low back.
One simple yet effective exercise that does this is called the dead-bug exercise. With this exercise make sure you keep your abs braced and your low back flat and pressed into the floor. The dead-bug exercise will help you maintain neutral posture and avoid swing flaws(and hence prevent back injuries)
For intermediates, the exercise the plank is a great way you can challenge yourself. To execute a proper plank, start by laying face down on the floor. Position you elbows directly under your shoulders and make sure your toes and feet are flexed and curled up toward the shins. Before you lift into the plank position, contract both your abs and glutes and make sure your knees are locked out. From here , lift your body off the floor and hold as long as possible. It is very important that you can maintain contraction of both abs and glutes throughout the set. If you are unable to hold the abs and glutes in contraction, lower yourself and take a rest before your next set.
Golf fitness usually does not look like traditional fitness. If you are unsure wheather or not your current fitness routine is helping your golf game, I suggest to contact me at Vimtrim at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can set up a complimentary session to evaluate and do a assessment of your fitness leval . We service Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert Awhatukee and Scottsdale.