This past weekend Miguel Angel Jimenez became the oldest winner on the european tour (again!) when he successfully defended his Hong Kong Open title at age 49. Jimenez is a pretty remarkable man in many ways, not least his dedication to fitness, with his rigorous attention to his exercise and stretching regime well known.
However his story is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to success for the more mature guys on tour. Indeed every year when the British Open rolls around there seem to be more and more pros playing that week, then the British seniors the next. Tom Watson’s performances in that very same event and Freddie Couples high showings in recent masters. Bernard Langer, Kenny Perry, Fred Funk and Vijay Singh still regularly compete or competed on full tours well into their 40’s and even 50’s. How is this being managed when golfers are supposedly fitter, more athletic and younger than ever before?
Check these quotes below for a clue:
“I turn 50 next month but I’m still fit. I stretch every morning, you have to do this to keep up with the younger lot.”
–Miguel Angel Jimenez on winning the Hong Kong Open at age 49.
“You have to do it….And not just stretching. You need cardio, strength training, the works. I believe it’s a big reason I’m still hitting the ball as well as I am hitting it now.”
–Tom Watson on his fitness regime
As we age, predominantly, two things occur to negatively effect our golf. We become less mobile (flexibility decreases, as does the ease t which we can move through this range of motion). Strength levels fall, along with a decline in muscle mass as we age. Fortunately, a 2012 study demonstrated the effects of ageing on strength can be halted and in some cases reversed by resistance training. The evidence is clear, both on the course and in research is conclusive. Get yourself in the gym, follow a full protocol of stretching, mobilisation drills and foam rolling and focus on a basic strength program progression, like the one outlined below:
Supine bridge 1×8/side
Quadruped rocks 1×8/side
Wall ankle breaks 1×8/side
Squat to stand 1×6
Walking spiderman w/ overhead reach 1×5/side
No money drill 1×8
Plank/Side Plank (alternate each workout) 3x20secs
Tall kneeling cable chop 3×4
Goblet squat (alternate squat with trap bar or kettlebell deadlift each workout) paired with Inverted Row 3×6 with 2 minute rest between exercises
Push-Up paired up paired with Reverse Lunge (alternate reverse lunge with lateral lunge each workout) 3×6 with 2 minute rest between exercises
Foam rolling, paying particular attention to t-spine and hips
Give it a try, You will feel fitter, healthier, play better and for longer!