Spring Into Golf
It seems like we all have a little spring fever with this fabulous sunshine and long warm days. Many people will experience a renewed sense of energy at this time of year and will start spring cleaning, yard work, gardening, walking the trails and hitting the golf courses.
It’s also that time of year that many will launch a new health and fitness program to get into shape to guarantee a fun-filled summer.
Golfers, in particular, love their sport so much they spend a lot of hours and money on the golf courses 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 which ultimately, will improve their overall golf game.
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. A good golf conditioning program will incorporate balance exercises, full body rotational movements and a stretching program that increases a golfer’s ability to rotate at the spine.
Start standing with your feet together and holding a medicine ball. Slowly lunge forwards until your front knee is positioned over your foot and is at a 90-degree angle. As you lunge forwards, rotate the medicine ball to same side of the front leg. Keep your abdominals contracted throughout the entire repetition. Return to the starting position. Alternate legs performing 13-20 reps each side.
Wrap a tube around a pole at about mid-thigh height. Stand sideways to the pole holding the tube in both hands standing far enough from the pole so there is tension on the tube. 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.
Start by sitting completely upright. Then recline back a few inches while maintaining a good postural position supporting your body weight on your sitting bones while keeping your chest out, shoulders back and abdominals contracted. Holding this position slowly rotate your elbows side to side. Perform for 5x each side, take a break and then repeat. To make this exercise more challenging, hold onto a medicine ball.
Lie on the floor on your back. Lift your left leg straight up and wrap a stretching strap around the foot. Holding the strap in your leg arm, cross the leg over your body towards the floor so that the left foot almost touches the right hand that is resting on the floor. Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds. If this stretch is too aggressive, bend the knees. Repeat on the other side.
You can purchase medicine balls and exercise tubes at most department stores like Target or a Sports Equipment store.
Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 20 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 www.nwPersonalTraining.com or www.ShapeupwithSherri.com 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.