Here are five conditioning exercises that target muscles used in golf. They can improve strength and decrease the risk of injury.
1. Toe Lifts: Believe it or not, toes are an important component of every golfer’s game. They receive all of the weight of the golfer’s body and often times the bag as well. To strengthen the toes and prevent cramps and ankle injuries, do toe raises. Find a book or other platform that is 2-3 inches high. Stand with heels on the platform and toes touching the ground. Raise your toes to horizontal while keeping your heels on the platform and hold for a second or two. Repeat 10-20 times for a total of three sets.
2. Hamstrings and Quadriceps: These muscles help to put power into the swing and anchor the body during rotation. Weight training for hamstrings can be accomplished with leg curls while the quads can be conditioned with leg extensions. Alternatively, the quads can be targeted through the use of free weights and steps. Hold the weights at your sides and step up onto the step, hold it, and then step back down with the same leg. Do this for each leg. Remember to do 10-20 reps for three sets.
3. Crunches: Strengthen core muscles by performing these modified sit-ups. Instead of placing feet flat on the floor, tilt your hips so that one leg is on top of the other as if you were laying on your side. Now, do a regular sit-up from the waist up by keeping your shoulders parallel to the floor. Perform one set on the left, then one on the right for a total of three on each side. This will strengthen key core muscles needed for accelerating the club head through swing and impact.
4. Side Lateral Raises: Strengthen shoulders for a better swing, better posture, and less low back pain. With dumbbells in each hand, let your arms hang at your sides. Stand upright and raise your arms out to the sides until they are parallel to the ground, thereby forming a T shape with your body and arms. Hold for a second or two and then lower your arms slowly. Alternate with raising your arms straight out in front of you, again until they are parallel with the ground. Repeat 10 to 20 times for three reps of each type.
5. Grip: Strengthen grip using one of two exercises. You can either buy a specialized grip device, which you squeeze in the palm of your hand, or you can use free weights. With free weights, hold an Olympic type plate in your hand by gripping it with the fingers and thumb. With palms facing inward, straighten your fingers and lower the plate then curl them and raise it again.