Better golf through enhanced fitness.
"A lot of what Iíve been able to accomplish in golf is the direct results of becoming physically stronger. In this game you need every edge, and physical strength has definitely become one of mine".

Tiger Woods

Many golfers underestimate the importance of physical fitness for improving their game. Unfortunately, they donít like to spend time working out like athletes in other sports. With younger more athletic players taking up the game, physical conditioning is not only becoming an advantage, but a necessary component for competing in golf. Golf requires physical development similar to that of other athletic activities.

Here are a few components of a golf conditioning program:

1. Sport-specific muscular strength and power.
A golfer needs a powerful trunk to produce a rotational movement that stabilizes and protects the spine at the same time. Deficient core control results in swing instability and ineffective use of the trunk and hips. A golferís workout should favor muscles of the core, back, and shoulders. Remember that core training equals swing stability. Emphasis on strengthening the hamstrings and forearms should also be increased.

2. Functional flexibility.
Without a flexible trunk and shoulders, you will not be able to develop a mechanically sound swing, no matter how many lessons you have. Golfers who canít achieve a good rotation of the trunk will often overuse their shoulders, which eventually leads to injury.

3. Dynamic postural balance.
During a swing, the average pro's clubhead speed is about 100 miles per hour (130 mph for Tiger Woods). A golfer must remain in the same position, while maintaining equilibrium throughout this high-speed motion. Standing on uneven surfaces, such as a sand trap would make it even more difficult. The more power you are trying to generate, the more stable your foundation must be. Poor balance will lead to insufficient swing mechanics.

An ideal golf conditioning program should include exercises that combine functional strength, balance, stability, and flexibility.

Below are some basic exercises you can incorporate into your workouts.
1. Thumbs Down Side Raises
Purpose: Strengthen external rotator muscles of the rotator cuff group (one of the most common golf related injuries).

Execution: Raise arms with straight elbows, and thumbs pointing down to just below shoulder level. (Figure 1). Choose a light weight and perform 15 Ė 25 repetitions until volitional fatigue.


2. One leg stability with Rubber Band
Purpose: Strengthen hip abductor and adductor muscles and improves single leg balance.

Execution: Place rubber band around your waist and attach other end to the wall or door (or let your partner to hold it). Step away to create tension in the band (Figure 2). Lift one leg off the floor and hold it for about 10 seconds, then switch legs. After performing 5-10 repetitions with each leg, turn around and repeat. As your stability improves, step farther away to increase the tension of the rubber band, or use a stronger band.

3. Torso Rotation on Stability Ball
Purpose: Improve the strength of the core and pelvic girdle muscle.

Execution: Place your head and shoulders on the top of the stability ball (Figure 3). Lift your hip up to create a straight line between your shoulders and knees. Hold weight (medicine ball) in straight arms in front of your chest. Slowly rotate your shoulders to one side, lowering the medicine ball toward the floor and keeping your hips up. Then rotate to the other side. Repeat 10-15 times.

This exercise has segmental coordination similar to a golf swing, where your core muscles produce power while the legs are stabilizing your body.

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