The pros understand the importance of consulting with a golf fitness professional as you’ll regularly hear credit being given to them during a victory speech.
The release of workout videos by Tiger Woods, Rory McIlory, Jordan Spieth, Billy Horschel, Lexi Thompson, and Stacey Lewis have made most amateur golfers realize that fitness is essential if they want to improve their game.
A few years ago golf fitness was only for the professional, as incremental improvements are important in the more competitive professional game. Where one stroke lower in each tournament played could mean the difference between being safe on the money list or below the 125th position earning themselves a trip back to Q-school.
Now many serious amateur golfers are looking to improve their game by adding regular fitness workouts to their practice schedule.
Many golf fitness books have been published and golf fitness articles are a regular occurrence in the monthly magazines.
This abundance of information has led golfers to develop self-programmed workouts instead of working with a qualified golf fitness professional.
Often these workouts are unproductive, and I would say many could be detrimental to their long term golf performance. Especially when they end up looking like the workout below.
Golf Fitness Professional is Important
Even people that have fitness backgrounds can build poor programs because of misconceptions about golf fitness or lack of knowledge of new advancements and research.
It is important to be able to have at least some communication with a golf fitness professional to make sure a program will meet your needs, help areas of the body that need work, and won’t cause long-term detrimental effects on your body.
Notice in Billy’s workout below that there is a mix of mobility, rotational, core, strength, and power work in the exercise program.
6 Reasons Why
There are 6 main reasons why you should consult with a golf fitness professional to develop a workout program.
The reasons are to fix the most common problems in self-developed golf fitness programs. These 6 problems are:
- Lack of assessment
- Improper techniques
- Lack of exercise progression
- Adding weight too early
- Lack of multiple joint exercises
- Lack of proper nutrition & breathing advice
I will explain each of these problems, and the reasons why consulting with a golf fitness professional would eliminate the issues.
In my opinion is is always better to have a golf fitness professional evaluate the athlete, develop the workout program, and oversee the progress. But, I won’t kid myself into thinking this is always possible.
I do however believe that a golfer should consult with a golf fitness professional before starting a program.
To help provide you with some guidance as to what is involved in a golf fitness program, and the steps that a good program should take, I have created a free PDF guide for you. It is called 11 Steps to a Successful Golf Fitness Program.
Click the button the button below to have the free guide, 11 Steps to a Successful Golf Fitness Program, delivered to your inbox.
Lack of Assessment
This is the biggest problem in my mind. Golfers see an exercise in a magazine, or maybe a Facebook post and the author says “Great exercise” and the golfer adds it their workout program.
Without being assessed, no one knows if that exercise is right for that golfer.
If you’re not assessing, you’re just guessing
Every golfer should have a movement screen completed on them before any exercise program is developed. This is very important. In fact, many times doing a corrective exercise will eliminate a movement dysfunction and the golfer will gain yardage and stop exhibiting a negative swing characteristic.
All before a weight-bearing exercise was put into use.
You need to be able to move like a human before any weight is applied to the body.
After the assessment, corrective exercises should be recommended to the golfer, the first exercise program most golfers receive is a corrective exercise program.
A golf fitness professional will always perform some variation of a mobility assessment on their golfers.
Improper techniques cover a whole host of issues. From adding exercises that could be harmful to the spine to stretching muscles that already have enough flexibility, to swinging paddles with fins on them like they are golf clubs.
There are many exercises that are good when completed with proper form, but if the golfer is not careful it is easy to lose form and end up hurting themselves.
I see golfers getting ready for a workout session, and the first thing they do is a stretch. Stretching cold muscles is not ideal, and should occur after the workout when the muscles are warm.
If you’ve been stretching that hamstring for 30-years and it hasn’t become more flexible why keep doing it? If I were you, I would try something else.
Most people are confusing lack of mobility for lack of flexibility, stretching joints isn’t going to work.
Stability and Bosu balls have their place, but standing on a Bosu ball on one leg and faux swinging a golf club is not going to help you.
Training devices with fins and weights aren’t going to make you swing faster. It may seem so after swinging so slow with the trainer, but that isn’t the case. Grab a lighter swing aid and practice your swings.
After using a light swing trainer, you will be able to swing your golf club faster than you could in the beginning. Train for speed with speed, not resistance.
A golf fitness profession will teach you a proper warm-up before your workout session. He will tell you to stretch out your muscles after they are warm, and when your joints have gained more range of motion after your workout.
A golf fitness professional will recommend exercises that won’t need supervision. Balancing on stability and Bosu balls will be saved until you can balance on the ground for several minutes. A golf fitness professional will keep you from injuring yourself and exclude advanced exercises until the time is right.
Lack of Progression
There are groups of exercises that should be given to golfers in a progression. The second exercise builds on the effects of the first, the third on the second, and so on.
Many of the first exercises in the progressions are not the sexiest. So the magazines, websites, videos, and books may not show the whole progression leaving the golfer to do a more advanced form of the exercise.
Vital steps are left out of the progression, and more beneficial movements aren’t shown by media.
Progression exercises are great to train with, you learn the basics only once, and after that initial step, little changes are added one at a time. The golfer can make greater strides at a quicker pace using these progressions.
Do-it-for-yourself fitness programs rarely include progressions. Here is where the golf fitness professional can make training easier and allow you to reach your goals quicker by adding progressions to the workouts.
The lack of movement in all planes of motion is also lacking in self-made workouts.There are three planes of motion. These are important to know moving forward with your training so I will include the technical terms here.
- Sagittal = front to back motion
- Frontal = side to side motion
- Transverse – rotational motion
Golf is often considered a pure rotational sport. There is no doubt that rotation is a large part of the swing, but in reality, the swing moves in all three planes.
Yet, most of the “golf fitness” exercises you see are all transverse exercises. The standard strength exercises such as push-ups, lunges, and presses occur in the sagittal plane.
Very few programs take advantage of frontal plane exercises. These side-to-side exercises are very important for the golfer.
A golf fitness professional will incorporate movement in all three planes of motion into the golf fitness workout, often with compound exercises that include multiple planes all in one exercise.
Adding Strength to Dysfunction
As the old saying goes you need to crawl before you walk and walk before you run.
In fitness, the statement should be you need mobility & stability before strength and strength before speed or power.
You are probably sick of me saying it, but don’t add strength to dysfunction. It will only lead to greater dysfunction and pain.
I understand everyone wants to grab some weights and build up the muscles. Patience will pay off, give it some time before you lift weights.
There are some strength exercises you can do during your corrections phase. Most are bodyweight but don’t worry they will make your muscles burn.
Even during the corrections phase, you can always work on the core. Planks, Palloff presses, stir the pot, deadbugs are all great exercises that will help transfer power from the lower body to the upper body and eventually to the golf club.
Body weight exercises are good too, like the pushup, pullup, inverted rows, and farmer carries.
As a final comment on adding strength to a workout, putting a load on a mobility limitation can cause pain or injury to other parts of your body. If there are limitations in the ankles or hips your knees will most likely have to compensate for those limitations.
The same for stability, if the joints aren’t properly supported the addition of weight, especially over your head, can cause injuries.
The advantage of consulting with a golf fitness professional is their oversight will find exercises in your workout program that may injury you and change up the program before the injury occurs.
The professional will know when you are ready to add load-bearing exercises to your program. They can save you pain, injury, and time.
Too Many Isolation Exercises
Many common exercises use only one muscle group or work on one area of the body, think curls, squats, leg presses, etc.
In the golf swing, the only time a single muscle group is used is at the start of the backswing. After that initial movement, the body is bustling with activity.
So should your exercises.
Maybe not in the beginning, but as I mentioned in the progression section of this article, many of the exercises can progress into multiple joint exercises.
For example, in a lunge progression, the first step might be a reverse lunge with a furniture slide under your foot so you don’t even have to lift the trailing foot. The progression would be to a normal reverse lunge, followed by a forward lunge, into a walking lunge, and then a twist is added to the walking lunge. Eventually, side lunges are added to the progression.
A golf fitness program should have a good mix of isolation and multiple joint exercises.
Bodybuilders like to train one area of the body each day.
As much as I like the body builders model of an arms day, a back day, and a legs day because it makes it easier to track what parts of the body have been exercised, that is not how our normal everyday activities work.
Since we are training the golfer as an athlete, and not trying to bulk up muscles groups, it is best to train multiple regions of the body on the same day.
A golf fitness professional will make sure that all body parts are being worked, and when possible, incorporating multiple joint progressions when the golfer is ready for them.
The purpose of the golf fitness professional is to make sure the golfer does not injure themselves or cause a dysfunction to become worst. It is hard for an individual involved in the exercises to take a step back and see a progression or know when is the right time to add more difficulty to the workout.
Especially someone that is not trained to observe body movements. That is the job of a golf fitness professional.
Incorporating Nutrition & Breathing
Two of the most overlooked techniques in golf fitness training is nutrition and breathing.
You are what you eat
That old saying is so true, not literally of course, but in a more general way, I think these statements are more to the point.
Eat crap feel like crap
Eat healthy to feel healthy
When I changed my diet and stopped eating foods that caused inflammation, the pain I endured for several years went away. Besides stopping pain, reducing inflammation can also do wonders for your mobility.
If you want to improve your golf performance, it will most likely involve changing how you eat.
I know it is hard to change your diet, sometimes changing cold-turkey works other times it takes slow modifications with a good dose of accountability for a person to change. The best way for me was to quit cold-turkey with accountability. I needed the support of people doing the same as me to stop consuming sugar and foods cooked in seed oils. I couldn’t do it consistently without support.
A golf fitness professional could be that person and accountability you need to change your habits. For me, it was also the money I was spending on the professional. To try their methods I had to have some skin in the game before I could change.
I will admit I’m not even close to being an expert on breathing techniques. I’m learning it myself from Dana Santas and Radius Yoga. What I have learned and incorporated into my fitness workout has helped quite a bit.
Improving your breathing is going to be helpful to golf performance, both physically and mentally, and with tournament pressures.
Although Todd Marsh Fitness doesn’t have much of anything on breathing techniques yet, I will be adding some articles to the site soon.
A golf fitness professional is helpful to golfers by staying current with the new trends, topics, and research. Most golfers don’t have the time to stay current with all these topics. It is the fitness professionals job to do that for you.
Help From a Golf Fitness Professional
I hope I convinced you that getting help from a golf fitness professional has many added benefits.
It is unrealistic to think that every golfer that wants to improve their fitness will sign-up and see a fitness professional in person. It won’t happen.
However, many of these people could consult with a golf fitness professional via the internet through Skype or Google Hangouts. Even the golfer sends the professional a video recorded from their smartphone to look at is better than not having any input.
Do yourself a favor and connect a golf fitness professional to see how they can help you with your golf fitness program. If you contact one and they weren’t much help keep trying until you find one that is willing to help. You might be surprised at the response you get, and the improvements you will see in your fitness and health.
Don’t forget to download your free 11 Steps to a Successful Golf Fitness Program guide.