For golfers, improving your game takes more than just spending more time on the putting green or driving range. A fitness routine designed with a mix of flexibility and strength training will help you stabilize your form and develop a more fluid swing. Keeping your body in top shape will also help prevent injuries. Just be sure to check with a doctor before beginning a new fitness routine.
Having a strong, stable core is key to becoming a better golfer. The core of your body (including your abdominals and back muscles) is the powerhouse that drives your swing, particularly on long shots. Your core holds your body in the proper position, reducing fatigue and lowering the risk of injuries. There are many different exercises used to strengthen your core muscles. One of the most basic is the simple plank.
Plank position is very similar to the starting position for doing pushups. Your hands and toes are on the floor, your shoulders are centered over your wrists and your body is in one straight line from the top of your head down to your heels. Alternatively, plank is often practiced on your forearms, keeping your elbows in line with your shoulders. When practicing plank, draw in your abdominals to keep your core tight and slightly flatten your shoulder blades to keep from arching in your upper back. Look toward the ground, extending your neck straight from your spine. To make it easier, you can drop your knees to the ground. Once you can hold plank for a full minute, you can make the exercise more intense by slowly lifting one leg at a time.
In addition to building core strength, you also want to improve your range of motion with flexibility exercises. There are different types of stretches that will help your game, depending on where you have tight muscles. Golfers often need to focus on flexibility in their hips, torso and shoulders. One great stretch for golfers is a simple reclining twist that is used in many types of fitness training. To begin, lie on your back with your legs out straight. Bend your right knee and gently pull it in toward your chest.
Next, drop your bent knee across your body toward the left and turn your head to look toward the right. Don’t force the stretch. Return your knee to the center and repeat the stretch with the other leg. This is a great place to start, but to really improve your game, you need to plan a whole body routine which stretches and strengthens all of your muscle groups. If your fitness center offers personal training, you can hire someone to help you assess your strengths and weaknesses, and then tailor a fitness plan to meet your needs.
Golf courses often provide workshops or private lessons which can also analyze your needs and recommend a routine to improve your game. Starting a regular fitness routine can be a great way to adjust your body for a better golfing experience. Put some time in at the fitness center and you will see results on the greens.