By Dave Wieber, PT, ATC, MTC
With golf season upon us, how would one prepare their body for success? I have some unique insights because from 2001 to 2008 I ran a performance business for golfers. I would see several common mistakes and they are gender specific. Of course there will be outliers but 75% of golfers will need to work on the following areas.
For the average male golfer the most important things to work on are: balance, hip rotation, and hamstring flexibility. Most men’s swings are too short and unbalanced. We don’t have to do a long vigorous work out to fix this, It takes consistent and specific exercises done after your body has warmed up to help these problems. So lets say you just finished going for a walk,your body is warm and you are ready to do your golf specific exercises. Start by balancing on one foot for one minute per side with eyes open. If it feels too easy take off your shoe and stand on a chair cushion or do it with your eyes closed. next you get down on the floor for 2 stretches. First try to do a hurdlers stretch. You can look it up on the internet and there is a modified version if it bothers your knee. The next stretch is sitting crisscross apple sauce. You need to hold these stretches for a minimum of 90 seconds due to the thickness of the hip capsules that you are trying to stretch. This whole preparation program should take about 8 minutes. It is not for everybody, but most bodies will tolerate it well.
Now it’s the ladies turn. Women have several common flaws in their swing. Like the men, they need a more balanced swing. The second flaw is their swing is too long and doesn’t produce enough power. So to fix these areas we do balance as above with the men(balancing on one foot) and we do core strengthening. Next do mini-crunches with your feet on a chair and gently cradling your head with your hands. I like to do these in 3 directions: straight , left, and right. 10 to 20 reps is good. Then do one legged bridges. Lay on your back and bend your knees, then pick up one foot then lift your butt off the ground. The third exercise is side plank, working up to one minute per side. This workout also takes about 8 minutes.
These exercises when done for 6 to 8 weeks will almost always take a few shots off your score and help you play with less pain and more confidence.
I think it is good to take several lessons early in the season. I would pick a PGA professional who has good knowledge of the body and bio-mechanics. A phone call with a few questions should get you to the right instructor.
If you have questions about the physical side of golf give me a call at the office. We love getting golfers back in the game!
– Dave Wieber, PT, ATC, MTC