Avoid Holiday Pounds and Improve Your Golf Game

It is easy to skip your workouts during the holidays, let alone get in some golf practice. But you can avoid those unwanted holiday pounds if you just spend a few minutes everyday working on your golf game and get some needed exercise at the same time.  Check out my Cardiogolf program.  It is a program to help build muscle and strength specific to golf.

Which muscles and joints are used in the golf swing?

A lot of my students ask me which muscles and joints are used in the golf swing so they can target those musclses in the gym.  Well, it is safe to say that all muscles and joints are used to swing a club, so you can’t target specific muscles.  Besides, you use muscles in groups when you swing, so you want to do compound exercises (exercises involving two or more muscles) instead of isolating one muscle at a time.

The Backswing

The Backswing requires movement of a variety of muscles.

To complete your backswing, your body should feel like a coil. From the address position, you should swing the club back using your arms as if to sweep away a second ball.  As your arms rise, your wrists hinge and the torso rotates followed by the pelvis (hips) until the club reaches parallel. So you can see that there are numerous biomechanical requirements of the body using a variety of muscles.

Woodchop Exercise for Better Golf

This exercise has been adapted for strength-training purposes from real life movement patterns.  It uses an upper-body diagonal pattern that is functional for real-life activities. It mimics the ancient chore of chopping wood, something that a 21st-century golfer doesn’t often have the opportunity to do. But doing so, will help build strength in abs and obliques from pulling the heavy weight down across the body. The wood chop closely imitates the actions of a golf swing and builds strength in the rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus and oblique muscles just in case you wanted to know.

  • Using a small hand weight or medicine ball between 4 to 10 lbs.
  • Stand tall holding medicine ball with both hands.
  • Start with ball to the left about waist high.
  • Move ball from a low position to a high position, from left to right crossing the  body and upwards, like chopping wood.
  • Move the weight up and down smoothly, increasing the pace gradually.
  • Do 8 to 10 repetitions.
  • Repeat on opposite side.
Woodchop down
Woodchop Up

This exercise will help you improve your range of motion and strengthen your abs and obliques.


As many of you know, I am a finalist for The Golf Channel Instructor Search.  The winner gets their own show.  I would appreciate your vote if you think I am worthy.  Vote today.

Thanks for your support.

Karen Palacios-Jansen


Don’t Take a Holiday From Golf Fitness

Use it, or lose it. Don’t take a break from golf fitness this holiday season. It is fine to take short breaks to relax and recover, but if you go too long without exercising your golf muscles, you’ll lose strength and flexibility and it may take longer to return to your peak condition.

Do something everyday to keep your muscles and joints loose. Cardiogolf is the perfect way to help you exercise and maintain your golf swing technique at the same time.

Why Golf Conditioning and Fitness?

If you play golf regularly, you should consider adding some golf-specific conditioning into your daily routine because:

* playing golf takes anywhere from 4 to 5 hours

* you may play 36 holes in one day

* you have to walk in and out of traps, stand on sidehill lies and walk on uneven ground

* you are bending over to tee up a ball or get it out of the hole 80 to 90 times

* you are set up in a squat position to hit the ball 80 to 90 times

* you may have to deal with hot and cold weather, wind and rain

* you need to keep your blood sugar levels balanced to keep energy up for 4 to 5 hours

* you are constantly twisting, turning, squatting and bending, the repetitive motions take a toll on joints, tendons and muscles

* you need to stay loose and relax to assure you can achieve full range of motion to get the most out of your swing

It takes 200 days working out to reach your peak physical condition.  If you start a program this week, you will be in prime condition by this summer, just in time for the club championship.  Don’t delay, start a golf fitness program today.



As many of you know, I am a finalist for The Golf Channel Instructor Search.  The winner gets their own show.  I would appreciate your vote, if you think I am worthy.  Vote today.

Thanks for your support.

Karen Palacios-Jansen


Karen Palacios-Jansen Finalist for The Golf Channel Instructor Search

A Note from KPJ

Dear Readers,

As many of you know, I was selected as a Finalist for The Golf Channel Instructor Search.  The winner gets their own instructional show that starts in January. What happens now is that each finalist makes their own 1/2 hour instructional pilot show and then the public votes on who gets their own show for next year. My pilot show airs on December 5.  Check out the link the below and vote if you think that I am worthy. Thanks for your support.

Click to vote: The Golf Channel Instructor Search

Cardiogolf Holiday Game Improvement Program

With the Holiday Season approaching, your golf game may go by the wayside.  Don’t throw all the work you have done this summer down the drain by neglecting your body and game these next couple of months.  Don’t wait for the New Year to start to get in shape and improve your golf game. Start Cardiogolf today…

Cardiogolf is a great way to exercise and work on your golf game

Create Your Own Home Gym

So you have decided it is time to get into the best golf shape of your life.  But, finding time to make it to the gym may be difficult.   No more excuses! We now have a solution to your problem. To prevent weight gain during the next couple of months, consider creating your own golf specific gym in the comforts of your own home.

A balanced golf fitness program includes strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, and flexibility exercises. But you do not need to buy expensive equipment or remodel a room to reach your fitness goals. In a space as small as 6 x 6 square feet, you can easily create a golf specific gym. Armed with a fitness plan and a few relatively inexpensive items, you can begin to transform your body and improve your game.

Claim Some Space

Determine an area in your home that has enough room for you to swing a golf club safely. Be realistic. Maybe it’s time to clear out the room you are using for storage. If you will be working out by yourself, a 6 x 6 square foot area will do, but if you will be working out with a partner consider a larger area. The ideal ceiling height is 9 feet high to swing a full length club, but even if you do not have high ceilings, you can use a short practice club.  My Cardiogolf program available on DVD is specifically for indoor use. For more information and to order Cardiogolf visitwww.cardiogolf.com

Consider installing a floor length mirror so you can see yourself swing and keep an eye on your posture and technique during exercise.  Most importantly, make sure you are creating your gym in an area of the home where you want to spend time. A ceiling fan will keep you comfortable as you workout and help keep the room ventilated. Buy a small refrigerate to hold bottled water, fruit and protein drinks and add shelving to hold clean towels.
Be creative, decorate one side of the wall with your favorite family photos or better yet, cut out swing sequences of professional golfers from magazines and tape them to the wall.  Try to emulate their swing positions while you rest in between sets of your exercises.

Tone up your technology: install a small television and DVD player. This gives you the option to play golf instructional and exercise DVDs or watch your favorite TV program while you workout.  Adding speakers to your I-Pod or MP3 player allows you to listen to your favorite music. Having entertainment options will help to motivate you and keep you working out longer.

Outfitting Your Gym

You do not need to go out and buy large pieces of equipment or spend a lot of money to transform your area into a golf specific gym. With inexpensive fitness accessories available at your local sporting goods store you can create a gym that will rival that of the PGA Tour fitness van.

Set of Dumbbells
It is important to get a good range of dumbbells – 3 pounds, 5, 8, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, etc. As you begin to work out, you are going to get stronger and you will need to challenge your muscles by adding more resistance. There are several models that offer adjustable weights that help save space and eliminate clutter in your room.

For an overall golf specific workout, you will want to develop upper body strength.  With dumbbells, you can do a battery of exercises to develop your chest, back, biceps, triceps, shoulders, wrists and forearms. Weakness to these muscles may cause pain and instability in the golf swing; lifting weights will help ward off common golf injuries.

Regular Gym Bench or Step Bench

An adjustable bench lays flat, inclines, and can straighten upright to help you isolate specific muscles. A step bench is ideal for cardiovascular training and lower body exercises and can be used as a regular gym bench as well.

With a bench that inclines, you will be able to focus on developing certain muscles. For example in a good golf swing, muscles in the upper and lower arm provide the strength needed to swing the club to the top on the correct plane. Chest press exercises on an incline bench isolate pectoral and shoulder muscles more when done on an incline bench than on a flat bench, so you are able to adjust your workout to target specific muscles used in the golf swing.

Balance Ball
Also known as a Swiss ball, fit ball or stability ball. This training aid will be one of your most used fitness accessories. The balance ball will help you work on your core body muscles-the abdominals and back muscles.  A primary benefit of exercising with a balance ball as opposed to exercising directly on a hard flat surface is that the body responds to the instability of the ball to remain balanced, engaging many more muscles to do so. Balance balls can also double as a gym bench or a chair and is easy to move and store and can challenge your body’s balance in ways that a stable bench cannot.

Core stabilization is crucial to your overall golf performance. Your core or torso which encompasses your hips, abdominals, back and legs are the stabilizing muscles during a golf swing; these muscles hold a position while other parts of the body are at work.  A balance ball is effective in strengthening your core muscles, as well as increasing your flexibility, range of motion and improving balance.  In my opinion, it is the single most important golf specific accessory you will own. Balance balls can be used in conjunction with dumbbells, medicine balls and resistance bands.

Medicine Ball
One of the most effective ways to train your core for a powerful golf swing is with weighted medicine balls. You can do many rotary movements that mimic the golf swing, but with the added benefit of resistance from the weight of the medicine ball.  You can also perform many traditional gym exercises with a medicine ball as well. Medicine balls come in different weights and sizes.

Training your body with a medicine ball will not only develop dynamic power, but coordination, body awareness, and overall stability. Medicine balls provide functional, multi-dimensional training including the three planes of movement; forward to back, side to side, and rotational. You can do medicine ball chops over your head, diagonal chops across your body and rotational chops from side to side for a complete golf specific workout.

Resistance Bands
An alternative to cable pulley systems that are staples in most gyms are resistance bands. Made out of a variety of elastics and rubber, resistance bands provide both positive and negative force on the muscles, improving strength, range of motion and cooperation of muscles groups. Available in different resistance levels, these bands can increase the variety of your golf specific workout. They can be tied to a pillar or fixed in a closed door, are inexpensive and easy to store.  Not only do they help increase strength and speed for a more powerful golf swing but help increase flexibility at the same time.

Like the medicine ball, you can do many rotary movements that mimic the golf swing. Placing the resistance band under your left foot and holding the other end as if you were griping a club, you can pull the band back to work on your backswing. Change feet and you can now work on the downswing and follow through of your swing.  The resistance from the bands will help you increase strength, range of motion, and speed.

Exercise Mat

Exercise mats can be used for sit-ups, stretching, yoga and Pilates as well as simple calisthenics like jumping jacks and running in place. Exercise mats reduce aerobic impact, provide cushion and help prevent slipping while exercising. You will want to always use a mat while you stretch at the end of your workout. The importance of flexibility cannot be underestimated in the golf swing. Increasing flexibility may help reduce risk of injury while you play golf. Inflexibility inhibits your range of motion and renders your swing less efficient and creates compensations. Your neck, shoulders, back, hips, knees, ankles, and all soft tissue in between are involved in the golf swing and need to move freely to reduce compensatory movements. Stretching regularly will help you increase your flexibility and reduce the chance of injury.

Optimal flexibility makes it easier to maintain your posture and hold the club in the correct positions. With an exercise mat you can perform a variety of golf specific stretches, Pilates and yoga routines to keep your swing fluid and loose.

Practice Clubs and Swing Trainers
You will want to keep a variety of golf clubs handy in your gym to practice your swing in between sets of exercise.  Swinging two clubs or a weighted club before you workout is a great way to warm up and keep your swing fluid.  There are numerous swing training aides designed to help you build strength and help get you into the correct swing positions that are ideal for home use. Some clubs are equipped with a training grip to help put your hands in the correct position.  Practicing daily with swing training aides can help you groove your swing and correct swing faults without having to go to the driving range.

Home gyms are convenient, always open, there is no waiting to use machines and you can watch the TV programs or listen to the music of your choice. If your goal is to get in the best golf shape of your life, you don’t have to spend a fortune. You can increase your power and flexibility by selecting the right fitness accessories and formulating a program of your own. Here are some guidelines for designing an effective workout:

Always warm up for five to ten minutes. It’s best to perform movements that
work the major muscle groups and are similar to those you’ll doing more
vigorously later on.

Perform at least twenty minutes of aerobic exercise. Jumping rope, riding a
stationary bike, or walking vigorously are examples of aerobic exercise.
Aerobic exercise uses the major muscles of the body continuously over an
extended period of time.

Do resistance training at least twice a week. This can be done in
combination with an aerobic workout or separately. Seek balance in your
program, working the various muscles of your upper and lower body equally.

Include flexibility exercises in your workouts. It is best to stretch near the
end of your workout when your muscles are warm and most receptive.

Finish with a five minute cool-down that allows your heart rate to ease
gently back to its resting pace.

Buyer’s Guide
-Dumbbells, exercise bands, gym benches, mats and medicine balls available
at your local sporting goods store.

-Cardiogolf available at www.cardiogolf.com.

-Balance ball available at www.krtotalfitness.com.

Cardiogolf Holiday Game Improvement Program

With the Holiday Season approaching, your golf game may go by the wayside.  Don’t throw all the work you have done this summer down the drain by neglecting your body and game these next couple of months.  Don’t wait for the New Year to start to get in shape and improve your golf game. Start Cardiogolf today…

This FREE program is designed for anyone who wants to improve their golf game and kick-start their golf fitness. Simply sign up for my blog and receive weekly golf and fitness tips that will guide you through a 6-week game improvement program. You can subscribe to my blog on this page, simple type in your email address in the box in the right-hand column of this page.

For the complete program, you will want to order my Cardiogolf fitness program available at www.cardiogolf.com.

The program officially begins on November 15, 2010.  Sign up for my blog to start improving your game.

The 6-Week Program

During the following 6-week plan you will work on and develop all the key aspects of your game. I will include exercises that can be done indoors as well as practice tips for the driving range. Starting with a full review of the basic fundamentals, you will progress to learning the basic swing motion and then target the areas of the game that will enable you to make the most immediate and noticeable improvement to your scoring. I will also include basic golf fitness exercises that will help accelerate your game improvement.

Each week of the program focuses on a different aspect of the game. I will give you an overview of the technique and then ask you to commit to practicing the exercises and drills during the week.

It is important that you try to perform the recommended exercises on a regular basis.  Consistency is the key to game improvement.

For the complete program, you will want to order my Cardiogolf fitness program available at www.cardiogolf.com.

For specific question please email me at KPJ@swingbladegolf.com.


I teach Golf and Pilates. I am a LPGA Master Professional and Certified Personal and Pilates Trainer