Some people play golf as a hobby while others consider the game their weekly exercise program. Consequently, many golfers are physically unfit, yet they play for hours every week. Professional golfers have excellent skills in using different clubs to hit balls in all the holes with a few strokes. The need for skill in golfing does not eliminate the need for physical training. Golfers, like all athletes, require regular exercise to play well. If you work out consistently outside of the golf course, you will improve your golf game over time. Exercising boosts your strength, control, and improves your flexibility. However, you need to know the right target muscles with your exercise to improve your game. Here are some essential fitness tips that every golfer should know about.
1. Eat a Balanced Diet and Stay Hydrated
The need to eat a balanced diet and drink lots of water every day cannot be overemphasized. Golfers cannot depend on exercise alone to boost their health and fitness. Fitness starts with eating the right diet. Golfers spend more than 4 hours playing 18 holes on a golf course. The athletes require enough energy to cover all the holes, especially when playing in extreme weather. A balanced diet gives the body enough energy for a whole day of golfing. Otherwise, golfers will feel lethargic in the middle of the game, which reflects on their scores.
Staying hydrated is important, especially during hot seasons. Drinking water in small amounts throughout the day improves your physical health and mental state. Always pack several bottles of clean drinking water when going out for a game.
2. Work Out the Arm, Leg, and Back Muscles
Even if you invest in the best set of Cleveland golf irons, you’ll need to work on your arm and back muscles for that perfect swing. The muscles should be strong and in good shape to survive the multiple swings in a game. Toned leg muscles are equally important for stability and excellent swings. Rotational lunges with a 3-6 pounds medical ball is the perfect exercise for strengthening the arm, shoulder, and back muscles. Alternative exercises for strengthening the upper body include pull-ups and pushups.
Conventional weight training can help you increase your overall strength and power. Weight training enables you to work on different muscle sets at the same time. The good thing about weight training for golfers is that you do not have to lift the heaviest weights in the gym. Mild weight exercises are effective as long as you vary the movements. Some of the exercises that you can do with weights include bicep curls, bench presses, and tricep pushdowns.
3. Improve Your Flexibility and Balance
You can improve your swing by enhancing your muscle flexibility and body balance. The target during balance training is getting your left shoulder and right hip to work in unison. This pattern applies to right-handed athletes. For left-handed golfers, the target is to get the left hip to work in unison with the right shoulder. You can swing the club with the greatest force when you are stable.
Flexibility training is different from stretching before a game. Stretching improves your muscle flexibility temporarily. Flexibility training, on the other hand, helps you achieve permanent flexibility. You may pull a muscle if you ignore flexibility training. A simple way to improve your flexibility is to swing your golf club repeatedly while imitating your usual swings.
4. Do Cardio Training Exercises
Your exercise regimes should cover all aspects of your physical fitness including cardio training. In addition to toned and strong body muscles, you need a healthy heart rate and breathing mechanism on the golf course. A healthy breathing mechanism and heart rate help in building the endurance needed for the intense physical activity. Cardio training is particularly important when playing in a competition because of the prolonged physical activity.
Most gym trainers recommend cardio exercises as part of the warm up before the intense muscular training. A jog around the golf course before a game or on a treadmill at home will improve your breathing, circulation, and heart rate. The advantage of using a modern treadmill is that you can monitor your heart rate on the screen. Consistent cardio training throughout the week keeps you energized in every game.
5. Exercise the Core Muscles
Golfing involves an intense use of the core muscles. You depend on the strength of your core muscles for a perfect drive on the ball. As you exercise your upper body and leg muscles, do not ignore your core muscles. Do exercises that improve the flexibility and strength of your core muscles. You can hit the ball further with strong core muscles. Be careful with the core exercises to avoid hurting your spine.
Intense abdominal crunches have minimal effects on your core muscles and pose high risks to your spine. Consider alternative core exercises such as circle planks, climbing rope, sit-ups, and knee fold tucks. Another easy way to strengthen your core is to do leg raises while lying on a bench. The secret to getting the best out of your workouts is to use a wide range of motion. You will not only get better results on your target muscles, but also tone other muscles.
6. Start Your Game with a Real Warm up
Trainers recommend daily exercises combined with a healthy diet. The reality is that few golfers can exercise every day. You may choose specific days to do the workouts recommended here for all the muscle groups. However, it is important to start each game and workout session with a real warm up. You can stretch your muscles further if you do a proper warm up. Your upper body, legs and core muscles need a good warm up to minimize the risk of injury on the golf course.
Your warm up does not have to be intense to be effective. It may take just a few minutes before leaving the house to get your body into shape for a new game. For instance, arm and leg swings are good warm up exercises. You can swing one leg at a time while standing on the other and holding onto a table for support. Use forward-back and side-to-side movements for both legs and arms.
Your muscles get fatigued after walking and swinging for hours. Your body muscles will also lose their flexibility when you go for a long period without exercising or golfing. Stretching gives you a full range of motion, which is necessary for the perfect swing. Pay more attention to your hips and shoulder muscles when stretching. It is important to work with a trainer for the first few periods to avoid pulling your muscles.
Other areas that you should stretch for better flexibility include the abs, back, legs, glutes, and hamstrings. Generally, you need flexible muscles throughout the body for any physical exercise. Some of the stretch exercises that golfers can do at home include the fold-over stretch, hip flexor or quad stretch, and butterfly stretch. Again, we emphasize the need to learn the right stretch movements from a qualified trainer to avoid injuries.
8. Work on Your Posture
Few golfers think about their posture and its effect on their game. The right posture helps when hitting the ball. If you observe experienced golfers in a game, you will realize that they try to get the right posture before hitting the ball. Practice hitting the ball while in the right posture at all times. A good posture minimizes your risk of injuries and prevents fatigue. You use more energy to hit the ball while using the wrong posture.
Practice bending your hip joints instead of bending from your waistline, which is the easiest movement. Bending the hip joints gives you a good posture for a perfect strong drive on the ball. Your feet should be shoulder width. However, you can add or reduce a few inches depending on the type of irons that you are using. A short iron will require you to reduce the width by two inches while a long iron requires two additional inches.
9. Do Not Look for Quick Fixes
We have outlined some of the exercises that golfers should include in their workout regimes to boost their physical fitness. Achieving meaningful results from these exercises requires patience and consistency. Many athletes lack the discipline to follow an exercise through until they see results. Do not expect overnight changes in your strength, endurance, flexibility, or range of motion.
Getting the right equipment is important in golf. However, you cannot depend on the equipment alone to get better. You need to improve your strength first to improve your game. Cultivate the discipline to work on your muscles consistently, and take the time to improve your body’s flexibility. If you follow all the fitness tips we have described in this article, you should start to see your scores improving gradually – you’ll also be a lot less tired after a round on the green.