Golf Exercises that Work
It is important to perform exercises specific to golf. Did you know there can be a big difference? Here’s why…
There are many exercises which are extremely beneficial for golf! However, quality will always override quantity and the specific benefit of an exercise should always be considered.
In golf fitness training, it is common to evaluate each exercise on a ‘risk-reward’ basis. Some exercises provide good benefits, but they pose equal risk which makes them unfavorable. Other exercises have great reward with little to no risk. These are staples you should have as part of your exercise program. The goal with any golf fitness training program is to maximize the benefits or ‘rewards’ to your golf game while minimizing any ‘risks’.
So, which exercises pose the most risk while providing the least benefit? Here are 3 exercises you can do without.
1. Lat pull-down behind the head and neck. Would you believe this exercise is one of the leading causes of injuries in the gym? Ironically, it is one of the most used exercises as well. This exercise is performed while sitting on a machine with a weighted, cable bar overhead. Many gym rats then pull it down behind their head and neck as they pull their head forward.
This awkward position places a golfer’s shoulders at risk by putting them in excessive external rotation which often causes shoulder impingement or tears to the rotator cuff. Forget the ‘behind the neck’ move and keep things simple. The lat pull down is a great exercise for your back muscles, but there’s no need to thrust the bar behind your head and neck. For a safer and more effective position, lean back a few degrees and bring the bar down in front of your body to the clavicle. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and back together. Don’t forget to contract your ab muscles to stabilize the body.
2. Military press behind the head and neck. This exercise is very similar to the ‘behind the neck pull down’ in that you are lifting dumbbells over your head and then back behind your head and neck in the down position. The goal is to work the shoulder muscles, but the risk to the external rotators of the shoulders is very serious. Keep in mind, there are many ways to exercise the shoulders and not put them in the same risk category. It’s okay to press dumbbells above your head while sitting with good posture, but bring them back down to a position just above your shoulder joints and not behind your neck.
3. All exercises where the body is using poor posture to execute movement. A famous strength and conditioning coach once claimed that it would be better to not perform weight training at all than to place a high load on a body with poor posture. For those of us who have subscribed to the belief, ‘something is always better than nothing’, it was difficult to understand the rationale behind his thoughts. However, it proves an important point in golf fitness training. It is risky to your body and your game when you take a dumbbell, barbell or any other external load and then place your body in a stretch, a bend or improper alignment and give it extra stress. In worst case scenarios, you create injuries. At best, you compromise your ability to play to your potential and limit your improvement capabilities.
Continue evaluating the effectiveness of exercises and stretches as you expand your workouts. Keep your focus on a risk-reward scenario and you’ll likely see the results you seek with your game.