WINTER GOLF CONDITIONING TIPS by Coach Jim Massaro
Now that the golf season has come to an end, it’s time to turn your focus on your winter conditioning program. As you take a step back and evaluate your season, look into all aspects of your game. How consistent were my tee shots? Were they straight? Average the same distance? How was my short game and putting? How was my mental focus and toughness? The big question to ask is were any of these areas of your game affected by your conditioning? Did you have the same stamina form the first hole to the eighteenth? Did you experience lower back pain during or after a round of golf? Were you driving the ball with your hip or muscling it with your upper body? I can continue to ask questions but I’m sure you all know what I am talking about. As you continue to take indoor golf lessons over the winter, it would also be a great time to add in a conditioning program. If you don’t have time for a complete program, I have come up with five basic exercises you can do in your home at your convenience two to three days a week. So when Spring rolls in you will see great improvement in your strength, flexibility and stability.
Exercise #1: 6 Iron Overhead Squat:
This exercise is one of the most effective. With this one exercise you will work leg and back strength, and flexibility throughout your ankles, hips, knees and thoracic spine, and shoulders, all essential in a consistent golf swing.
Set Up: Standing, feet shoulder width apart, grab your 6 iron, one hand by the club, the other at the far end of the shaft. Now hold the club straight-armed behind your head. Keeping you head up squeeze you shoulder blades together which creates what I call a proud chest. Pushing you buttocks backward as if you were going to sit on a chair, squat down until you reach parallel. Make sure your knees do not go past your toes. If your knees are going past your toes you are not pushing you buttocks back on your first movement. Once you hit parallel, stand back up. If you don’t reach parallel or you can’t keep the 6 iron behind your head don’t be alarmed, in time, by being consistent with the workout you will get there.
Exercise #2: 6 Iron Side Chop:
This exercise will help strengthen your oblique muscles, and also help with transfer of power from legs to hips to upper body, which in turn will help in your back swing and follow through. Set Up: Standing, feet shoulder width apart, grab your 6 iron, one hand by the club, the other at the far end of the shaft. Keeping your head up, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold the club out in front of you on a diagonal and rotate down to left knee. Then drive left leg into the ground and rotate to right shoulder. Remember to always follow the rotation with your head, if not, only your shoulders will be turning not your obliques. Rotate as far as your body allows you do at first. When done repeat on the other side.
Exercise #3: Rear Lunge to a Kick
This exercise will help with hip-mobility, hamstring strength, and explosion, which will help you to drive the ball further, decrease hip injuries, and keep your legs strong from the first hole to the last.
Set Up: Standing, feet shoulder width apart, head high, shoulders squeezed back, and now push one leg backwards. As you are doing this you will be dropping your hips to the ground, your lead leg will be bent as if you are squatting (don’t let your knee go past your toes). Bend your back leg as you push it back, do not touch the ground with your knee. Now drive your lead leg into the ground and kick through with your back leg.
Exercise #4: 6 Iron Russian Twist
This exercise will help with core strength, rotation, and shoulder flexibility. This will help you in your swing, and also help to keep you in correct postural alignment throughout the round. Set Up: Sitting on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor (for more advanced, keep feet off floor), grab your 6 iron one hand by the club, the other at the far end of shaft. Hold it out in front of your body and rotate from side to side always remember to follow rotation with your head so you are turning from your core and not just your shoulders.
Exercise #5: Push Ups
The push up is the basic of all exercises but will accomplish the most results. This is a total upper body workout, strengthening the chest, shoulders, back, wrist, forearms and triceps, all essential in the golf swing.
Set Up: Lie on the floor face down with palms a little past shoulder width, abdominals contracted, stay on your toes and keep your head straight while pushing your body up. Now lower yourself to the ground getting your chest about a fist width from the ground, then push back up. At first if you need to modify it, start by kneeling, then progress to lying down. You can also change arm placement to change the movement and how it affects your muscles.
6 Iron Overhead Squat: 5 sets x 10 repetitions
6 Iron Side Chops: 5 sets x 10 repetitions (each side)
Rear Lunge to Kick: 5 sets x 10 repetitions (each side)
6 Iron Russian Twist: 5 sets x 10 repetitions (each side)
Push Ups: 5 Sets x 10 repetitions
Now is the time to start your strength & conditioning program so when next golf season starts up you will be physically ready to play. Any questions feel free to contact me.
Coach Jim Massaro, SSC