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Kelly uses techniques like these below for the major TOUR players, so now you can improve your game like the Pros do!

Basic Guidelines to Training -
Understanding Your Goals view...

The Strong Golf Body -
Strength for Your Game

The Flexible Golf Body -
Flexibility for Your Game

Common Problem Areas -
The Back

Basic Guidelines to Golf Fitness Training
Understanding Your Goals

Strength Training

Muscular endurance and strength are key for a powerful and consistent golf swing. Following these guidelines will help you get the most out of your strength training sessons:

1. Quality is always more important than quantity.
2. Learn proper technique before adding heavier weight.
3. High volume 12 to 20 repetitions per set and 3 to 5 sets of low-intensity lifting will enhance muscular endurance and facilitate a "cut" look of muscles.
4. Low volume 6 to 12 repetitions per set and 1 to 3 sets of medium- to high-intensity lifting will promote strength gains with bulk applied to muscles.
5. Training parameters of sets, reps, frequency and intensity need to be varied every five to six weeks to avoid a plateau in training.
6. Never hold your breath while lifting. Instead exhale when you push against the resistance and inhale as you return to the starting position.
7. Always train opposite muscle groups to maintain muscular balance. If you train the front of your arm, be sure to train the back of your arm. Remember, golf is a game of balance!

Cardiovascular Training

Cardiovascular training is a must to maintain endurance while playing. The benefits include strengthening the heart, maintaining the integrity of your arteries, improving blood and oxygen delivery to the muscles and weight loss. The following guidelines are designed for cardiovascular equipment training, but also can be applied to power walking.

1. Choose equipment that is comfortable and familiar, such as stationary bike, treadmill or stair climber.
2. Calculate your target heart rate using either of these formulas:

Cardio training:
220 minus your age multiplied by 80 percent

Weight loss:
220 minus your age multiplied by 60 percent

3. Begin with light resistance for 2 to 3 minutes as a warm-up.
4. Increase the resistance the next 2 to 3 minutes to reach your target heart rate. You may need to obtain a heart rate monitor or see if your equipment has one built in.
5. Maintain your target heart rate for a minimum of 25 minutes.
6. Decrease the resistance for 2 to 3 minutes as a "cool down." Your heart rate should be around 100 or less when you are ready to get off.
7. Train a minimum of three days a week.

NOTE: If you do not have access to a heart rate monitor, begin with a warm-up and gradually increase resistance. Find the point where you can exercise moderately and converse without gasping for air. If you are unable to speak without stopping between words or sentences to catch your breath, decrease the resistance to your find comfort zone.

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The Strong Golf Body
Strength for Your Game

Like all athletes in the top level of sports, professional golfers make the game look easy. Their swings seem as fluid and effortless as running water, and they look as though they are on a leisurely stroll as they pound drives more than 300 yards and hit high soft iron shots. The truth is, professionals like Tiger Woods, David Duval, Sergio Garcia, and Ernie Els as well as professionals, such as Loren Roberts, Greg Norman, and Larry Nelson make the game look easy, not because they aren’t exerting themselves, but because they’re strong and fit enough to make a complicated athletic move (the golf swing) look simple.
Very few amateurs can devote that amount of time, energy, and money to their golf games, but that shouldn’t stop those amateurs from making positive changes in their games by improving their strength and conditioning. Over the years conditioning for athletes has become an exact science. The workout regimen for basketball teams isn’t the same as the program designed for swimmers, football players, or tennis stars. Each sport requires certain physical skills. Trainers must develop programs that enhance the specific skills needed for a particular sport.

Golf is no different. Even with the advancements in equipment and course conditioning, golf is still a game of balance, discipline, and touch. Enhancing and improving those specific skills requires a balanced regimen with four equally important components: strength, flexibility, endurance, and diet.

Not that long ago many people commonly assumed that strong muscles were slow muscles, and anyone who worked out with weights ran the risk of becoming a muscle-bound brute incapable of swinging a golf club or having the delicate touch necessary for short chips, pitches, and putts. Big, strong muscles were bad in golf, or so said the conventional wisdom.

Even in the days when this thinking was prevalent, there were exceptions. Because the in-club gym idea hadn’t caught on in country clubs in the 50s and 60s, Gary Player and his friend and workout partner, amateur Frank Stranahan carried their own free weights with them on tour, much to the chagrin of their fellow tour players. But while others sat in the clubhouse bars and scoffed, Player won eight major championships, while Stranahan became the top amateur golfer in the nation and regularly beat the world’s best professionals in head-to-head competition. Today the value of strength in golf is almost universally recognized. Strength in all major and minor muscle groups plays a critical role in the golf swing:
  • Strong abdominals and external obliques (the trunk muscles along your sides where “love handles” normally develop) are essential for good posture at address. This becomes especially critical for golfers with the increased risk of back and neck injury resulting from poor posture.

    Shoulder, arm, and upper back strength are crucial in the takeaway, the downswing, the follow-through, and the short game. Your swing is initiated with the shoulders and hips rotating away from the target. The pectoralis major (the chest muscles) aids in moving the target arm away from the target. The forearms and wrist engage to keep the club in a cocked position. The triceps extend to keep the target arm straight, while the biceps flex the opposite or non-target arm. The rotator cuff muscles work to stabilize the shoulder girdle and turn with the shoulders and arms. The rotator cuff of the non-target arm pulls the club back and externally rotates the arm. The hamstrings and external obliques assist hip rotation during the backswing, creating a stable stance and good posture. The weight shifts from an almost equal distribution at address to upwards of 85 percent on the rear foot due to the redistribution of the upper body.

    The lower back is a source of much pain and misery in many golfers. The coiling of the upper body around a resistant lower body coupled with the twisting of the back during the downswing and follow-through can have devastating results. Even in a properly executed golf swing, back muscles pull at the lumbar, and, if a golfer isn’t strong, the discs are susceptible to strain and injury. Nothing can guarantee that you won’t have back problems, even if you do everything right, but a strong lower back is less likely to become an injured lower back.

  • Strength in the legs and hips are also crucial. Strong hamstrings provide a solid base at address while the adductors (inner thighs) and hip flexors initiate both the backswing and the downswing. The gastrocnuemius, commonly called the calf muscle, drives the lower body through the swing, while the ankle flexors are critical for balance.

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The Flexible Golf Body
Flexibility for Your Game

Golf requires flexibility in all parts of the body.
Tight muscles restrict and slow down the motion needed to effectively swing the golf club and as we age, muscles aren’t as naturally flexible and supple as they were in earlier years. That means golfers must work harder just to maintain the same level of flexibility they had in their twenties and thirties.

Keeping flexible requires a great deal more than simply warming up with a few stretches at the first tee before a round. Golfers who want to improve their games need to take flexibility training as seriously as hitting practice balls or working on the putting green. Here are some reasons why:

  • Stiff muscles and tendons in the trunk and lower body inhibit proper setup and cause golfers to slouch. You can’t make a proper golf swing from a poor setup, and you can’t set yourself in the proper position at address without some degree of flexibility.

    Making a proper shoulder turn is impossible if your deltoids (the shoulder muscles), pectoralis major (the chest muscles), obliques (the stomach muscles) , and latissimus dorsi (the upper back muscles) are stiff and unresponsive. The backswing is a turn of the upper body around the relatively stable lower body. Upper body flexibility makes that turn possible.

    The biceps, triceps, wrist and elbow flexors must also be flexible in order for the arms to work properly in the swing. You may have heard the phrase “releasing the golf club”. This term refers to the point in the swing when the wrists, elbows, shoulders, and hands work together to generate the greatest clubhead speed at the exact moment the club makes contact with the ball. In order for those body parts to work in this synchronized fashion, each muscle group in the arms and shoulders must be flexible. Stiff arms lift the club and make a slashing, violent, and technically incorrect swing. Supple arms swing the golf club fluidly.

    The hip flexors and adductor muscles must also remain flexible if you want to swing the club efficiently. Because the lower body initiates the downswing and provides the stable base on which the entire swing is structured, having a full range of motion with these muscles is critical.

  • Making a good golf swing also depends on a flexible back and abdominal muscles. These opposing muscle groups are stretched to their limit in golf and players must go to great lengths to stretch these muscles properly. If you don’t, poor golf is the least of your worries. You can fix a bad swing. A bad back can last forever.

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Common Problem Areas

Low back pain is the most common injury I see on and off the TOUR. Even if you have a flawless swing, you're still at risk for injury due to the fact that the swing uses the back for leverage. Each time you make a swing, your back has to change position, resist torque, compress and rotate along its own axis. The back incurs stress as the hips rotate in the swing, therefore most injuries occur at the lower region of the spine. Treatment- Ice the area of discomfort for 20 minutes a minimum of 4 times daily. Take an over the counter anti-inflammatory drug as directed to reduce swelling. The next step is to do stretching exercises daily and strengthening exercises every other day. If the pain persists, see your physician immediately. Prevention- Improving golf swing mechanics is the first step to reducing back pain. Keeping your back strong, stretched and flexible will aid in injury prevention.


Recommended Strength Exercise:
Alternate Low Prone Lift

Start: Lie face down with your legs extended, arms bent and close to your rib cage for support. Action: Flex your gluteal muscles (buttocks) and lift one leg as high as possible keeping it straight. Slowly return to the start position. Repeat.

Notice: Do not let your foot rest on the floor. Do as many as you can up to 10 repetitions for beginner, 15 for intermediate and 20 for advanced level. Be careful not to lift the leg too high to cause low back discomfort. If you do not know your current fitness level click here to analyze your fitness


Recommended Stretch:
Low Back Stretch Start: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Action: Pull one leg toward your chest keeping your head on the floor. Hold for 20 seconds. Return to the start position. Do the same for the opposite side. Notice: Do this stretch slowly and with control.

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