Conditioning to Improve Your Golf Game

Conditioning to Improve your Golf Game

Spring is here and that means it’s time to dust off your golf clubs and get outdoors.  Long time golfers love their sport so much they spend a lot of hours and money attempting to perfect their swing, fine-tune their skills and lower their score.  But very few gung-go golfers spend any time on improving their basic physical conditioning.

The reality is the golf swing is a very complex…..

…..explosive and unnatural movement placing significant stresses and torque on the body parts involved.  Because of the nature of the sport, golfers are at a high risk for developing overuse injuries to the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joint structures particularly in the low back, hip and shoulder areas.  Professional golfers are injured on average twice a year and amateur golfers once a year, with the most common injury sites being the wrist (27%), back (24%), elbow (23%), shoulder (8%) and knee (7%).  Most of these injuries are the result of the repetitive nature of practice swings, combined with a poor warm-up and weak trunk, shoulder and wrist muscles.  The stronger, better-conditioned golfer will be less susceptible to injury and will recover more quickly after an injury.

Many golfers wrongly believe that strength conditioning will hurt their game when it will actually improve your golf game.

……by reducing flexibility and impairing club-head speed.  Research demonstrates that not only will strength training help to prevent injury, it can also help improve a golfer’s power production at impact, increase their club head speed and improve their golf driving performance.

Many golfers also neglect their cardio training program…….

……because they know that golf isn’t a huffing and puffing sport.  But aerobic conditioning is still important to improve the health of your heart, keep your body weight at an acceptable range and improve your last hour of golf play when fatigue starts to set in.  Try activities like cycling, hiking, walking and swimming.  Stay fit and strong and most definitely, get some advice from a golf pro.  A lot of injuries can be prevented with proper swing mechanics.

Here’s a few sport specific exercises you can do to condition your muscles, improve your Golf game and reduce your risk for injuries.

Torso rotationsa_webTorso rotations2_webTube Trunk Rotation: 

Wrap an exercise tube around a pole at about mid-thigh height.  Stand sideways to the pole holding the tube in the hand furthest from the pole and standing far enough from the pole so there is tension on the tube.  Start with your outside arm positioned so that it hangs down just in front of your body.  Keep your abdominals contracted and slowly pull the tube across your body in an upward motion as your trunk rotates outwards.  Perform 13-20 reps each side.

external rotation aexternal rotation b_webExternal Rotation: 

This is an important exercise for golfers or for any of you who are at risk for shoulder pain or impingement.  Start by standing sideways to a pulley/tube.  Attach the handle on the pulley and adjust it so that it is positioned at elbow height.  Hold the handle in your outside arm with your elbow at a 90 degree angle and positioned right beside your waist.  With your palm facing the pulley, keep your upper arm completely still and your elbow at your side.  Slowly rotate your forearm out away from your body.  Return to the starting position.  Repeat 13-20x each arm.

obliquecruncha_webOblique crunches: 

Lie on your back with your feet positioned on the floor.  Place your hands behind your head to lightly support the weight of your head.  Tuck your chin slightly into your chest away and focus your vision at about 45 degrees into the ceiling.  Avoid looking straight up to the ceiling or towards the opposite wall.  Now slowly lift your torso up on an angle.  An oblique crunch does not need to involve a large twisting action.  Focus on the upward lift on an angle – opposite hip to rib.  As you lift your upper body, lift your opposite leg a few inches off the floor at the same time.  Contract your abdominals on each repetition.  Alternate sides and continue for 7-20 each side.

stretch hip and back_web

Hips and Back Stretch:

Lie on your back and start with both legs straight against the wall.  Now slowly let both legs fall to one side.  Bend the bottom leg and keep the top leg straight.  Try to feel this stretch through your hips and lightly through your back. Hold for 30 seconds + each side.

Note:  We are hosting a Golf Conditioning Program every Tuesday at 3:00pm that starts next week.  If you are serious about improving your golf game, come and see us.

Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 25 years and has received numerous industry awards including International Personal Trainer and Fitness Presenter of the Year. She is the author of five books including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” and “Fit over Forty” and is the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs.  She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and can be seen running, hiking or cycling with her two children, Brianna and Jackson.  She can be reached at or

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details. 

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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