6 weeks to golf fitness guide

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The material contained within this guide is provided for general information only and
should not be treated as a substitute for medical or professional advice and
supervision. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any illness, metabolic disorder,
disease or health problem.
Before starting any exercise program or making any changes to your diet you should
consult your doctor – especially if you have a medical condition or if you are taking
medication or have related concerns.
SECTION 1: BEFORE YOU START
1.1 The Important Role of Sports Science
1.2 Improve Your Golf Game
1.3 Reduce Your Risk of Injury
1.4 Improve Your Health
1.5 Who’s It For?
1.6 Why 6 Weeks?
1.7 Fitness For Golf
1.8 Effective But Simple Fitness
SECTION 2: YOUR 6-WEEK PLANS
2.1 Choosing The Right Plan For You
2.2 Equipment You’ll Need
2.3 For Your Safety
2.4 Warm-Up Routine
2.5 Beginner Strength & Stability Circuit
2.6 Intermediate Strength & Stability Circuit
2.7 Advanced Strength & Stability Circuit
2.8 Stretching Routine
SECTION 3: PRE-ROUND WARM-UP
SECTION 4: BONUS SECTION
REFERENCES

SECTION 1: BEFORE YOU START

1.1 The Important Role of Sports Science

Any Fitness Professional will tell you that a good exercise program will improve your performance on the golf course. Tiger and his modern day peers have made that an
easy claim to make. But Fitness Professionals are biased. They’ll do anything
to convince you to exercise more often! So all opinions, bias and hype aside, how can you be sure that a certain combination of exercises will actually allow you to hit the
ball further and more consistently?  The answer is to rely on objective scientific research.
This research is conducted by Sports Scientists that have no hidden agendas, that
aren’t trying to sell us a new training aid and that don’t profit from their findings.
They’re interested only in facts. Now, you probably have neither the time nor inclination to sift through extremely dull scientific data. That’s my job. Whenever you see a number in square brackets like this [1], you’ll find a reference to a scientific study at the very end of the book. Those references are there simply to reassure you that what I’m recommending is not just my own subjective opinion. The exercises and recommendations in this book are based on, and backed up by, independent scientific proof – combined with my own experience as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist

1.2 Improve Your Golf Game

Resistance or weight training improves our physical strength. Stretching improves our flexibility and cardiovascular exercise, like jogging, improves our endurance. That’s common knowledge and commonsense.
But more importantly, does an increase in strength and flexibility lead to improved performance on the golf course? The answer is yes… A number of recent studies have shown that a carefully designed exercise program
increases club head speed, ball speed, carry distance and total shot distance [1 – 5].
While golf isn’t just about how far you hit the ball, all other things being equal,
greater distance translates to lower scores. Why?
The closer you are to the green for your second and third shots, the easier they are hit.
Additionally, the more lofted a club you can take, the easier it becomes to make good
contact with the ball.
What’s reassuring is that during these studies, all of the participants increased their
distance and power without any negative effects on their accuracy. So there was no
trade-off. But better than that…
A certain type of stretching routine can actually result in golfers being able make
straighter swing paths and hit more shots out of the centre of the club [6]. Think
about that for moment…
By stretching for 10 minutes or so, you can hit a golf ball cleaner, straighter and more
accurately, possibly than you ever have before. Golfers can spend hundreds on
lessons and custom-fitted equipment without achieving those results

And don’t think that these benefits are only reserved for younger, more athletic types
either…
Seniors respond equally as well as younger individuals to golf fitness programs, even
those in the 70+ age bracket [7,8].
In fact, whenever any group of golfers is analyzed, regardless of age or handicap one
thing holds true – fitter players are better players [9,10].
So to sum up, not only will the right golf fitness plan allow you to hit the ball further,
it can also help you to improve your accuracy, ball striking and consistency (it can
even help your putting distance control [5]).
Any of these factors taken alone should result in better golf and lower scores. When
you combine them all, you can imagine the impact it will have on your game!

 

1.3 Reduce Your Risk of Injury
Did you know that at any one time, up to 57% of amateur golfers are complaining of one or more injuries [11]? In fact, recent research suggests that, as a club level golfer, you have a 40% chance of suffering a golf-related ailment this season [12]. As you’d probably guess, the most common complaints are pain and discomfort in the lower back, elbows, shoulders and wrists [13 – 19]. What’s interesting is that about 80% of all golfing injuries are down to overuse [20]. You’d expect that for touring professionals who spend hours everyday hitting buckets of balls, but not for your average weekend golfer.
It’s a combination of 2 things that make amateur golfers very prone to overuse
injuries:

1. Poor technique and an inefficient swing [21]. This places a lot of stress on joints
muscles and connective tissues.
2. A poor level of functional fitness, including a lack of strength, flexibility and
core stability.

Fortunately, most golf injuries aren’t serious and won’t necessarily stop you from
playing. But at the very least they will affect your performance and your enjoyment
on the course, not to mention day-to-day life in general.
Research into other sports and golf [22] shows that the best way to prevent overuse
injuries is to follow a suitable exercise program – one that builds strength in the right
muscle groups and increases flexibility in the right places.
The exercise plans in 6 Weeks To Golf Fitness are specifically designed to minimise
the risk of low back pain, golfer’s elbow, shoulder problems and other frustrating
aches and pains.

1.4 Improve Your Health
While this is a book about improving your golf game, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that people who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer from illness and
more likely to live longer. A combination of regular cardiovascular, strength and flexibility exercise:
• Reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
• Protects against and reduces high blood pressure (many people have high blood                  pressure but don’t realize it).
• Improves your cholesterol levels by increasing the levels of good (HDL)
cholesterol.

• Promotes healthy blood sugar levels and can protect you against type 2 diabetes.
• Reduces the risk of a number of cancers.
• Helps to prevent osteoporosis (low bone density).
• Protects your joints by reducing excess weight and body fat, which helps to keep
you at a healthy weight long-term.
• Increases your functional capacity (makes everyday tasks feel easier).
• Improves your blood flow and your circulation.
• Lowers stress levels and helps you to sleep better.
• Improves your mental health and is an effective way to beat depression.
• Increases feelings of satisfaction, happiness and well-being.
• Improves your self-image and self-confidence.

1.5 Who’s It For?

6 Weeks to Golf Fitness caters for a wide variety of golfers –
different ages, various levels of playing experience and a
range of fitness levels.
It will be a great benefit to:
• Both men and women.
• Beginner golfers who have just taken up the game (even
those who play other sports and consider themselves fit).

• Competitive and ambitious golfers that want that extra edge (perhaps to win
more competitions or get down to a low single figure handicap).
• Golfers returning to the game from a long absence or returning from injury and
want to hit the ground running.
• Golfers that feel they are prone to injury and low back pain and want to enjoy an
injury-free golf season this year.
• More senior players who feel like age is catching up with them (some choice
strength and flexibility exercise can make you feel 10 years younger!).
• Junior and youth golfers that want to develop a solid physical foundation on
which to build a long and healthy golf career.
• The most advanced and carefully planned exercise program in the world is
useless if you can’t find the time to follow it. 6 Weeks to Golf Fitness has been
designed so that it can fit around the most hectic of lifestyles.

1.6 Why 6 Weeks?

Most people can relate to starting something with the best of intentions only to fall by the wayside not too long after. Very often that something is exercise or diet-related.
One of the reasons it’s such a common experience is because most people don’t set themselves an end-goal. Instead they embark on a “lifestyle” change that they
assume has to last forever. Doing something forever or indefinitely is very daunting and if you do have a bit of a lapse it’s all too easy to quit completely.

But when you follow something for a very specific period of time (such as 6 weeks),
it’s much easier to find the discipline to see it through, even with a few lapses along
the way.
Six weeks is enough time for you to start seeing and feeling noticeable differences
(unless you’re very fit to begin with). But it’s not so long that it’s daunting.
So make a commitment to see your 6-week plan through to the end come what may.
Remind yourself that you have the right to quit after the end date but that you want
that sense of accomplishment that comes with setting a goal and seeing it through to
completion.
Only when you reach the end of the six weeks, should you decide whether to carry on
or start a new plan. By then, you’ll be experiencing first hand the pleasure of feeling
healthier and stronger and the satisfaction of playing better golf.
From that place, you will be much more inclined and motivated to keep going. Then
you can set a new goal and then another and another, until suddenly you realize that
keeping fit has become an effortless habit – a “lifestyle”.
But for starters, just focus exclusively on completing the six weeks

1.7 Fitness For Golf
Here are the different elements of fitness that are the most relevant to golfers:
STRENGTH & STABILITY
In the not too distant past, coaches assumed that strength and resistance training would hinder rather than help

golfers. After all, big and bulky muscles are hard to coordinate and can impair a nice
full swing.
We know today that improving your strength in a specific way can have a really
positive impact on your game [21].
The resistance exercises in 6 Weeks To Golf Fitness won’t leave you looking like a
pumped up bodybuilder but they will increase your strength and power for golf. As
an added bonus, you should also see favourable changes in both your body shape and
body composition.
As a golfer you will also benefit from excellent postural strength – we’ll define that as
the ability to move and hold your torso in certain positions before, during and after
the golf swing. Another word we can use to describe this type of postural strength is
‘stability’…
You may have heard of ‘core stability’, which has been a bit of a buzzword in the
fitness industry for a few years now. It simply relates to the strength in and around
your midsection – that all important trunk area that connects the upper and lower
body.
The training plans in Section 2 will help you to develop all the right kinds of strength
in all the right places for both your golf game and your health.
FLEXIBILITY
Flexibility is one of the most overlooked and underrated elements of fitness.
Not only do more supple golfers hit their drives and irons further, they also tend to
shoot lower scores overall [9]. Better players are more flexible in their hips, torso and
shoulders [10] and the exercises in 6 Weeks To Golf Fitness target those areas in
particular.
But it’s not just about distance and scoring…

If you suffer with a common golfing injury (lower back or shoulder problems in
particular), regular stretching can help get you back to full fitness and keep you that
way.
One of the best ways to protect your back is to increase the strength and flexibility in
your midsection – your lower back, hip flexors and abdominal muscles [22,23].
And even if you aren’t prone to those troublesome aches and pains, a good stretching
program can leave you feeling years younger.
Whether you want to improve your golf or simply feel better on and off the course,
follow the stretching exercises in Section 2.
BALANCE
While only a few studies have looked at the importance of balance in the golf swing,
any teaching professional will tell you just how important it is.
The exercise plans in 6 Weeks To Golf Fitness don’t include separate balance
exercises – that would be too time consuming. Instead, many of the strength and
flexibility exercises have been chosen because they involve a balancing element as
well – allowing you to develop both at the same time.
In my own experience, and other Sports Conditioning Specialists will agree,
improving your balance, your strength and your flexibility has an added benefit…
It improves your coordination. You become more aware of your own body; its subtle
positions and sensations. Now that can only have a positive effect on your golf swing
– particularly your ball striking and consistency.
Your short game should benefit too because of improved touch and feel.

STAMINA
When you walk an 18-hole golf course, you can expect to be on your feet for up to 5
hours and cover a distance of 6 miles and more. By any standard that takes stamina!
Most golfers can recall times when they faded and tired on the final few holes, maybe
even the entire back 9. Wouldn’t it be nice if you felt as fit and as strong walking to
the 19th hole as you did teeing off at the first?
From a physical fitness point of view, there are different types of stamina, or
endurance, and it’s important to quickly distinguish between two of them:
Cardiovascular Endurance
Cardiovascular endurance is the ability to sustain vigorous exercise for a
prolonged period of time (usually a minimum of 10-20 minutes).
For most players, a round of golf doesn’t raise the heart rate enough for it to
be classed as ‘vigorous exercise’ [24,25]. That means that cardiovascular
endurance isn’t particularly important in golf. (There are some exceptions to
this – if your course is very hilly and you carry your bag or if you are
particularly unfit.)
But it is important for your health. Regular, vigorous exercise significantly
reduces your risk of serious illness like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and
certain cancers. It also increases your life expectancy.
The exercise routines in 6 Weeks To Golf Fitness are designed to improve your
golf-specific strength and cardiovascular health at the same time.

Muscular Endurance
Being on your feet constantly for a 4-5 hour period is hard going, even though
you’ll probably never be out of breath. This has to do, in part, with muscular
endurance…
Every time you swing a golf club, it requires a burst of energy and a number of
large muscle groups to work explosively. With each swing, your muscles tire
and your energy reserves are depleted that bit more. This is another aspect of
muscular endurance in golf.
As you improve your strength, activities (like walking or swinging a club)
become easier – in effect they place less of a demand on your body than they
did before. It takes longer for you to tire and you recover more quickly.
The exercise plans in 6 Weeks To Golf Fitness will improve your muscular
endurance. As a result, you’ll feel fitter during the final holes.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that what you eat (or don’t eat) before and
during a round of golf can have a significant impact on your energy levels.
BODY COMPOSITION
Body composition is used to describe the percentage of fat and nonfat tissue (such as
muscle and bone) in the body.
Two people can be the same height and weigh exactly the same on the scales but have
very different body compositions and different body shapes as a result.
We’ve all heard the health dangers of having too much body fat. From a golfing
perspective, think of excess body fat as dead weight that you have to carry around a
course for 5 hours!
Following one of the routines in the next section will have a positive impact on your
body composition.

 

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