A Preseason Golf Conditioning Program

By: Rob Siclair

Okay, I know you are getting excited. The season is just around the corner. Hopefully you have been exercising the past several weeks and are now ready to get prepared for the season.

This is the time you need to really get your body prepared for all the stresses it will undergo during the season. As I have said before, the golf swing puts a tremendous amount of torsional stress on your low back, especially the discs. Hopefully you gave these tissues a rest in the beginning of the off season by restricting the amount of rotational exercises you performed.

The biggest focus for phase three is that now we are going to start incorporating rotational training. Keep in mind that none of the exercises should ever cause you pain except general muscle soreness. You still need to continue to work on flexibility and mobility. DO NOT NEGLECT THESE AREAS!

You should also be advancing your strength and power exercises to more weight, reps, or sets and performing more advanced exercises like one leg squats. Continue to be strict about good technique. The last thing you need now is to pull a muscle or tweak your back by trying to heave some extra weight showing off for the cute girl in the gym.

The first exercises I would start out with are the elastic band up and downward chop and medicine ball rotation while lying on a stability ball. You may have all ready been performing these but without the rotation. Add in rotation to the spine now but keep the core braced for support. Gradually progress to medicine ball diagonal throws and rotational throws either with a partner or against a wall.

One thing I see a lot of at the gym that you should avoid doing is flexing the spine or bending forward while you are also rotating. You will usually see this with guys on a pulley machine where they will do a diagonal movement but reach down to their knee or lower. Especially do not do the reverse where you start with the weight close to the ground in a flexed and rotated position and then lift up diagonally. You are just asking to herniate a disc if you do this.

Make sure you perform an equal amount of throwing or pulling upward as you do down. Focus on generating the torque from your midsection. Your arms should just be following along for the ride. This is also a great time to increase your core exercises especially the side bridges, bird dog and crunches. Increase the hold time for the side bridges and you can also raise your arm straight up towards the ceiling and then rock slightly back and forth. Make sure there is no twisting in your low back. Think of fixing your rib cage to your pelvis so it is one rigid unit.

Medicine ball overhead slams and diagonal slams are also great power exercises. If you have been doing these start to allow a little flexion and extension of the spine as you increase the force and velocity. Another great progression is to do the throws from half kneeling. There are several variations you can try. One way is to kneel about five feet from a wall. With your right leg bent at 90 degrees at the hip and knee, throw from over your right shoulder so the ball bounces about a foot from the wall. Do about 5-10 reps then repeat in the opposite position. You can also do this in a position parallel to the wall so the leg you are kneeling on is closest to the wall. This position will allow more rotation. Make sure you have a good neutral spine position. Keep in mind that these are advanced exercises and should only be performed after you have mastered the previous chops with bands and pulleys.

You also should begin some cardio work now. I am a big fan of circuit training which will give you some cardio benefits and also interval training. If you look at the demands of golf, unless you are walking, which few seem to do today, it is mainly a very short burst of activity with several minutes of rest. Walking for a few minutes followed by a burst of running or even a set of exercises like push-ups or squats repeated over 20-30 minutes would be a great addition. At the very least just go for a 1-2 mile walk a few times a week and try to increase the pace every week.

It is very important to prepare your body for the upcoming season. You would'nt run a marathon or participate in a basketball, soccer, or football game without preparing. A good preseason program will make a world of difference in your game.

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