Tag: Golf

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Fitness training for golf has become so popular recently, with many of the big names like Tiger Woods and Anika Sorenstam crediting it for their performance. While a golf fitness and conditioning program should be tailored for the individual golfer according to his or her current physical condition, it must also follow some sort of logical sequence too. Using the Functional Fitness Pyramid model as a guide to your golf-conditioning program will have you booming your drives and draining your putts – guaranteed.

What is the Functional Fitness Pyramid (FFP)?

The FFP is a highly effective model for designing any sport specific or functional training exercise conditioning program not just for improving golf fitness. The FFP is so effective for exercise program design because each conditioning tier builds on the adaptations achieved in the tier below it – allowing for functional progressions that produce incredible results.

Tier 1: Flexibility and stability

Flexibility and stability form the base or foundation of the golf fitness pyramid. This tier involves stretching and exercises to develop your core as the foundation on which you will build your “golfing machine” body. Attempting to strengthen your body for any sport without first developing core strength and flexibility will only lead to frustration for the trainer and the athlete.

A good tip is to remember is that “You cannot fire a cannon from a canoe.” – that is the strength and power of your limb muscles can only be as strong as the core “anchor” to which they are attached.

Flexibility is the ability for a joint to actively and passively move through its full range of motion. A tight muscle is often an overactive muscle resulting from compensation or substitution for muscle weakness somewhere else in the body. These are what is commonly referred to as muscle imbalances.

To improve flexibility, you must restore muscle balance by stretching the tight muscles and strengthening the weak ones. Muscles that are frequently tight are the hip flexors, adductors (front and inside groin muscles), the low back, hamstrings, external hip rotators (deep butt), posterior neck and pec (chest) muscles. Muscles that are frequently weak are the abdominals, glutes (butt), middle back and deep neck flexor muscles.

Stability can be thought of as the ability to control your center of gravity. Static stability is what we commonly associate with our sense of balance while not moving the arms or legs; for example, your ability to stand on one foot with your eyes closed. Dynamic stability is the ability to remain stable while generating force with the arms and legs like in the golf swing.

It is crucial that you develop static stability first and then progress to dynamic stability. This makes sense since if you don’t have static stability, then how is it possible to have dynamic stability?

So a well-designed golf exercise program will initially concentrate on static core exercises using a stability ball and progress to free weight and cable column exercises while maintaining “neutral spine and pelvis” (neutral spine and pelvis are synonymous and comparable to a person with good posture standing upright).

The Supine Swiss Ball Bridge is an example of a static stability exercise and the cable wood chop [http://www.bossfitness.com/viewvideoclip.asp] is an excellent example of a dynamic stability exercise.

Tier 2: Whole-body strength

The second tier of the FFP builds on the foundation of stability and flexibility to develop whole body strength. Strength is the result of an improved communication of the muscles with the nervous system, that is, the brain is able to activate more nerves and more muscle fibers – increasing force generation.

Initially, you may start doing general machine-type exercises like shoulder presses, lateral pull downs, leg presses, chest presses and rows to build strength, but it is important that you progress toward exercises that closely mimic the golf stance and swing too.

Sport-specific exercises require the brain to form a motor plan. A motor plan is the sequence of nerve firing that activates muscles to work in a certain pattern to cause a particular movement. Exercising this way provides what is known as transfer or “carry over” to your sport. Isolated muscle strength is good, but to really smash your …

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Golf fitness exercises and training can be very beneficial for the mature golfer. There is no doubt the aging process affects the body and in turn adversely effects the golf swing. The aging process decreases mobility, limits flexibility, negates strength, and lowers power outputs. All which are crucial components in the execution of the golf swing.

The good news is there is help: certain steps can be taken to alleviate these symptoms of the aging process. For example, modifications in equipment can help, changes on the mechanics of your swing can be of great assistance, and the implementation of a golf fitness program can be of immense assistance as well. These three steps can assist in returning your swing to a level previously achieved or even improve your game to a level higher than ever before. In order for this to occur, the mature player must remember it is a combination of all three of these parameters; equipment, swing mechanics, and golf fitness training working seamlessly together.

Looking at the golf fitness side of game improvement in your fifties, a few important statistics may provide some relatively to the importance of golf exercises for game improvement. First and foremost, research indicates after the age of 25, the body looses muscle mass at approximately 1% a year. This decreases both the strength and power outputs of the neuromuscular system. If nothing is done to improve both the strength and power outputs of the body by the time an individual is 50 years old they will have lost 25% of their muscle mass.

Why is this statistic important relative to the game of golf?

In order to execute each phase of the golf swing efficiently, the neuromuscular system must have certain levels of strength. This allows the golfer to maintain a fixed spine angle, execute the postural position required in the swing, and generate speed. Basically, a loss of strength equates to the loss of stability in the golf swing affecting every phase of the swing from taking away to finish.

A second component of the aging process relative to the golf swing is mobility and flexibility. Mobility is a combination of both joint range of motion and flexibility. Joint range of motion concerns itself with the actual articular structure of the joint (i.e. skeletal structures), and flexibility has to do with extensibility of muscle tissue surrounding the joint.

The aging process decreases the extensibility of muscular tissues thus causing tightness in the muscular system and decreased mobility in the joint system. Both of these conditions are detrimental to the golf swing. The mechanics of the swing requires mobility within the joint system and flexibility within the muscular system. This allows for the requirement of drawing the club through a large range motion to be met by the body. If mobility is limited and “tightness” exists within the muscular system compensations within the swing will occur in an attempt to execute the mechanics of the golf swing correctly.

It is unfortunate the aging process results in the aforementioned negative affects on the golf swing, but as stated previously, steps can be taken to address such situations and prevent decreased performances on the golf course. These steps on the “physical side” of the equation are contained within a golf fitness program.

A golf fitness program for the mature player will address the negative affects of the aging process through the development of the required levels of mobility, flexibility, stability, strength, and power required to execute the mechanics of the golf swing correctly.

Dissection of this formula for performance improvement through golf fitness training for the mature player breaks down the process into the development of “five physical pillars” within the body. The pillars are as follows: flexibility, balance, strength, endurance, and power. The cohesive development of these physical parameters creates the opportunity of developing sound swing mechanics.

To improve performance, remove physical years from the body, and prevent injury in your game, it is necessary to develop the “five physical pillars” of the swing. Additionally, the golfer must address them on order: beginning with flexibility, moving onto balance, and completing the sequence with power training. Following this suggested progression allows for the …

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