Off Season Conditioning for Golf; A Three Phase Approach

By: Rob Siclair

There are many different ways you can address off season training but one I recommend is a 3 phase approach. Each phase can run somewhere between 3-8 weeks depending on your fitness level, training experience, overall health, and training goals. Where you start will also depend on where you are when you finish the season.

If you have been working out regularly during the season and do not have any injury issues you should be okay to start off with phase 2. If you have any injuries, stiffness, aches and pains, or have not been working out at all then you should start in phase 1. This first phase should focus on recovery and regeneration from the season that just ended. If you live in an area where you golf year around it would still benefit you to take a little time off. Most injuries in golf are due to repetitive movements. Having a short break of even one to two weeks will often give you a jump in your performance.

In this phase we want to allow the structures that get overstressed time to fully recover and not add more stress to them during training. Emphasis in this phase should be on light exercises to rejuvenate your joints and muscles. Focus should be on foam roll techniques for soft tissue release, stretching, light resistance exercises and avoiding spine rotation exercises which you get such a high volume of during the season.

Phase 2 will usually last about 6-8 weeks and is when you really want to focus on big strength and power gains along with maintaining your flexability and mobility exercises. Still try to be light on the rotation exercises. Explosive exercises with a medicine ball and leg exercises like the squats or single leg squats are also important to incorperate into phase 2. Gradually progress the exercises as they become easier. This can be done by adding weight, increasing sets and/or repititions or performing a more advanced version of the exercise. Plyometrics should also be incorperated into this phase.

Phase 3 should last about 3-4 weeks and is your preperation phase. This phase will end right as your season starts. This is when you will start to add in the rotational training to prepare your spine for the stresses it will undergo during the season. Start gradual and and slowly progress the force and speed. Continue to work on mobility especially of the hips and thoracic spine. Stretching should also continue with emphasis on the shoulders, chest, glutes, and hamstrings. Core stabilization training should be incorperated into all phases but with more emphasis in this stage. Having a strong core will reduce the risk of injury and help you generate and transfer power to the ball. A proper warm up is important in all phases as is incorperating all aspects of training including flexibility, mobility, and stability along with strength.

I recommend a 3 day a week whole body training program. You can vary your routine each week or even each session by substituting exercises or changing up the number of sets and repititions. You should also continue to exercise during the season to maintain a good fitness level but eliminate the rotation exercises.

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