Get Fit For Golf and Enjoy Your Season!

fitness corner golf   As I write this the Olympics have started and Canada is at top of the list with the most medals!! I love the Olympics! So exciting and so inspiring! Hopefully watching those young, fit athletes has inspired you to leave the television for a bit to improve your own fitness. I’m betting that all the beautiful snow has not left yet as you read this so a chance to enjoy winter sports is still available. Grab that opportunity or, now is also the time to start getting fit for golf.
    Core strengthening is the best thing you can do for your golf game. The second best thing you can do is improving flexibility. A strong core powers the swing. A strong core can save your shoulders from injury. Flexibility in the spine and shoulders will improve your range of motion and therefore your swing. Programs such as pilates and yoga will be very beneficial for you as a golfer. Instructors should have a wide variety of core strengthening exercises. You won’t have to do the brain work. Don’t like classes or can’t fit them into your schedule?  Hire a personal trainer to give you a core strengthening program to workout in a weight room or at home. The few exercises following here, done regularly, will be very beneficial to your golf game come spring. Which might take awhile this year.   
    No longer are ab curls the only way to strengthen the core. In fact they might be best left out of a workout. Planks are great. Any kind of plank will do. Low, high, side planks are all great core strengtheners. Technique is key. For a low plank lie on the abdomen with elbows under the shoulders and hands together. Engage the quad, ab, and glut muscles, put weight into your feet and lift the knees. Pull the shoulders away from the ears by engaging the muscles between the shoulder blades and hold that plank. Maintain a nice straight line from the shoulders to heels, hips low. If there is back discomfort, lift the hips a bit. If it is easy and you can hold that indefinitely, challenge yourself by lifting one leg, holding and then switching. Doing a side leg, bent knee, heel press up from low plank position with add the hamstring and glut muscles to the exercise. High plank starts from straight arms with hands directly below the shoulders. Keep that same straight line head to heels, shoulder blades squeezed together. If you need a challenge do alternating straight leg presses out sideways from high plank to bring in the abductor and oblique ab muscles. For side plank, lie on one side, elbow directly under the shoulder, shoulder blades squeezed (those two tips aid the shoulder joint) hips up, one foot on top of the other. Hold that or do a knee tuck with the top leg for a challenge. When one version gets easy move the next challenge. If you can hold a plank of any kind for one minute or more it is time to change to a more difficult option.
    Rotational stretches are the best for golf. Sit on a mat, one leg straight, one bent, straight spine. Rotate the body towards the bent knee. Proceed gradually, find a comfortable position, relax and hold the stretch. Be sure to drop the shoulders, bring your whole body around, not just the head, and pull the bent leg into the upper body. Not only is this a great golf flexibility stretch it is also a very beneficial back therapy stretch. Get fit for golf and enjoy your season!!