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…
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
-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.