This weeks article comes from our physical developement professional Jon Hughes of Carbon Conditioning.
As we approach the busy schedule of summer golf you will often be bombarded with information in the magazines on the right fitness programme to give you extra distance on your drives. Often this information, whilst helpful, can often lead to false hope and even lead to the club golfer dismissing it as not being beneficial to their game. To me the best thing to develop is the ability to not feel tired or sore at the end of a round of golf.
Being a novice golfer myself I find the biggest limitation to my golf comes during the last 5 holes when I start to tighten up and my shots become hurried and ‘stiff’, particularly in the posterior portion of the body (shoulders, upper and lower back, hamstrings and calves). The best way to prevent this is to work on the mobility of the body. When I use the term mobility I don’t mean hours of yoga like poses and excruciating stretching. The problem is that stretching doesn’t create the lasting improvements that people believe it will. However, mobility exercises should be able to increase the quality of your movement and therefore your golf.
So what is mobility? and why should you the golfer be including more of this into your usual golfing preparation and daily life? And possibly the million-pound question is what to do and more importantly when? The quickest and easiest place to start working on this element of your development would be to include any exercises into your warm ups and practice sessions. This is because mobility is where control meet flexibility or:
Mobility = flexibility + control
Take the following as an example (and try it for yourself as a mini experiment) if you pull your fingers back toward your elbow using their other hand as far as they can, this is your passive range of motion (technically your level of flexibility). Now if you release your hand and see how far you can get your fingers back toward your elbow without the use of the other hand, this is what we call their active range of control (technically your mobility). We can only move to a position that we can activate and control the muscle through…therefore if we can’t move far we limit our performance. This means that how we move and warm up needs to change to incorporate more training principles that will actually lead to increases in performance.
The following exercises should help to develop your movement capabilities specifically as it relates to mobility. The programmme is designed to improve tolerance to practicing for and playing lots of golf and to increase active ranges of motion that ensure all of the joints in the body work to their maximum ability. The exercises are designed to last for no more than 10-15min as part of your warm up routine prior to practice or playing, and therefore could even be performed on a daily basis.
Straight leg deadlift
To perform this exercise, use your club and ‘sit it’ at pocket level of your thighs. Then begin to slide it down your thighs till you feel a pull in the muscles on the back of your thighs. Don’t let this hurt though. Once you reach your limit then slowly return to the start position by sliding the club back up your thighs. Perform 6 of these then relax for 30s and perform 6 more.
Place your club across your shoulders then cross your arms to keep it there. This will also keep you upright during the movement. Place your feet shoulder width apart then taking a deep breath in proceed to squat down as far as you can before you lean forward. During the descent keep your weight towards your heels. Then when at the bottom proceed to move back to the start breathing out as you raise up. Perform 6 of these then relax for 30s and perform 6 more.
Straight Arm Raise
As with the first exercise place you club at pocket level. This time keeping your arms straight yet relaxed proceed to raise the club overhead keeping the arms straight yet relaxed all the way up. You should end with your arms in line with your ears. Then slowly return the club to pocket level with arms staying straight all the way though. During the exercise focus on keeping your shoulder blades pulled together, imagine you are holding a £20 note between them and not wanting to drop it during the exercise. Perform 6 of these then relax for 30s and perform 6 more.
I Y T W
Starting with your arms in line with your ears and hands above your head, pull your shoulder blades together (imagine the £20 note again). From there (keeping the shoulder blades together) move your arms into a position that makes a Y with them. Hold for 2 seconds then move your arms to make a T hold for 2 seconds. Finally flex your elbows to make a W shape and hold for 2 seconds. Once you have done this drop them to your side and relax them, repeat this 6 times then rest for 30seconds and perform again.