1. Fitness isn’t just making the young guys hit it further and play better, it’s helping the older guys play longer and stay competitive
Bernhard Langer’s appearance on the Masters leaderboards was a reminder that working on your fitness isn’t just crucial for the younger guys on tour, or for adding distance to your drives (although it does that!), a good training plan’s main priority will always be to keep you healthy and playing longer.
As Langer has said himself in more than one interview for the PGA tour website:
“In my case it’s very necessary and I’m not sure I would still be here if it hadn’t been for the fitness”
Indeed, if you don’t know Langer has had two bulging disks in his lower back, as well as neck problems, and at the tender age of 19! He credits fitness work and mobility work for preventing these issues from becoming worst and allowing him to overcome them.
2. Go barefoot during your warm-ups
Going barefoot in your warm-ups (where developing movement quality and mobility should be our priority) really ups the ante on what we’re trying to achieve.
Going barefoot allows you to keep proper track of movement quality (foot positioning, is foot twisting, rollin, lifting etc). For example when we are doing ankle mobs we need to keep our feet on the floor and prevent the foot from rolling at all to make sure the motion is coming via ankle dorsiflexion not pronation. When the foot is in a shoe not only will the heel give you a falsely good impression of dorsiflexion but there is likely to be an element of heel lift and pronation that is hard to detect.
When doing stability work such single-leg balances, stork turns, single-leg mad ball taps and even single-leg hops if you are jumping on a comfortable enough surface, removing the shoes can be useful for the same reason. However, keep it to unloaded work in your warm-ups as form and comfort could suffer in heavier work, particularly in squats and other anterior chain dominant work.
3. Train outside
For most of you reading it will be heading towards summer and the weather will be getting better so why not! Training outside has not only been shown to have some great benefits on health, mood and mental state but, one of the things I’ve noticed over the years, with power work work, particularly med ball throws is that athletes seem to “hold back” when they’re indoors. They won’t throw at full speed because they’re already worrying about causing damage or more likely where the rebound will go, there just seems to be more inhibition as opposed to throwing outside in a big open space to a partner who is pretty far away. Maybe it’s the quantifiable feedback of actual distance, or maybe it’s just less restriction – but either way the effort and results are usually better.
4. Emphasise full-body exercises that teach transfer of force from the lower body to the upper body.
As we move into the golf season introducing exercises that teach transfer of force from upper to lower body, oftentimes with a rotational element are a great idea. First off, they offer great ‘bang for your buck’ allowing us to train multiple qualities in one exercise. Secondly, they utilise force transfer in a way more akin to the golf swing and begin to bridge the gap between the strength you built in the off-season and using it on the course. Just make sure you have mastered the appropriate regressions before making use of these exercises
Cable lift variations in a split stance or with a lunge are my favourite to accomplish this task in core exercises, but push presses, landmine presses, and rotational rows are also great options.
If you haven’t already be sure to check out the full article on in-season training I wrote here.
Lastly, this blog has been going a year or so now and this week is on track to be the biggest in terms hits so far, so a huge thank you to you all for reading and continuing to support! Special shout out too to The Grateful Golfer and Golf is Mental for there likes and comments on what seems like pretty much all the posts I’ve written in that time! Incidentally comment any golf fitness questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer them in next months Random Golf Fitness Thoughts.