Inappropriate Conditioning

This maybe the issue that causes more confusion among athletes and coaches than any other. Far to often, I see athletes either doing too much conditioning, or consistently doing the wrong type of conditioning based on their needs and goals.

As athletes and coaches we need to establish the conditioning needs of our sport and develop protocols around these needs. We after all are training to improve sports performance first and foremost, not achieve 5% body fat!

A golfers energy system needs are vital and specific. Walking the course over a 4 hour round taxes the aerobic energy system. Strength endurance is also required to execute a powerful swing 50, 70, or 80 times.


Conditioning for golf should reflect this.


Weather it’s due to the rise of crossfit, modern societies desire for the perfect ‘abs’ or a basic misunderstanding of human physiology, good old steady state aerobic conditioning seems to have fallen out of favour for almost all athletes. High intensity interval style workouts are great for many things, and appropriate for many sports, but they usually fall into the category of anaerobic conditioning. Why spend time developing a quality of fitness that doesn’t apply to your sport. This is particularly pertinent as many athletes haven’t actually spent the time building an aerobic foundation to support high intensity training.

The solution:

An appropriate strength program will build strength and develop the ATP/PC energy system to deal with making a powerful golf swing. Reducing rest periods and increasing reps for assistance work will also deal with the strength endurance aspect. For a golfers purposes this can then be matched with low-intensity steady state cardio, like taking a walk for instance. And if you’re going for a walk you may as well take your clubs…so there you have it, another reason to get a 2 or 3 rounds of golf in a week. Your welcome!

If time dictates this impractical jogging, rowing, swimming or any other steady state, low intensity exercise can be added in its place.

High intensity style training has many benefits and can develop mental fortitude and a will to work hard useful to all athletes. So by all means add a few of these workouts in as the cherry on the cake. A word of caution though, don’t go overboard on the volume and frequency with these workouts and ensure you have built an adequate aerobic base first.

3 thoughts on “Inappropriate Conditioning

  1. The Grateful Golfer


    I totally agree. Slow and steady work outs with many reps is best suited to golf. I hit the gym at four times a week (weights and cardio) off days I walk for 5 km or more (in the spring summer and fall) As a player just past 50, who thinks he is 30, strength training is important. Many reps of slightly lighter weight works extremely well for me.


    1. nickbuchan Post author

      Great work Jim!

      Strength training has been shown in research time and time again to have hugely positive affects on muscle wastage/atrophy, strength loss and bone density loss associated with ageing (Keeping you feeling 30!) Keep it up!



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