If you happen to live and golf somewhere that experiences (gasp) seasons, then you’ve likely experienced the dread of putting away your golf clubs for the off season, wondering whether the progress you’ve made on your game is going to fade away over the next six months as the temperature struggles to rise above freezing. This can be frustrating to the golfer intent on improving, as it seems like every spring, you’re starting over simply because you can’t play. Even for those golfers who live in more temperate climates, time out on the course often dwindles during December through February – so how do we keep up with our game?
An easy way to keep up with your body and your golf game during the off-season is to improve your game off the course. Focus on strengthening the muscles used in your swing, and you’ll be surprised how much it’ll show in the spring. Here are a few quick ways to strengthen your body and golf game in the off-season.
Chest / Back (Lats)
The upper back helps control the backswing and follow-through of a club, so toning the pectorals helps create shoulder abductors that bring the arms across the body and up into the air. The bench press and push-ups are traditional favorites for building the chest, while pull-downs, pull-ups, and almost any workout involving raising the arms over the head will strengthen your lats.
The core works as the middleman in your golf swing, transferring force from the legs to the upper body when the club is in motion. Some would consider a strong core the most important aspect of a golf swing, especially as your core also assists torso rotation. Sit-ups, oblique crunches, air bicycles, and barbell pullovers will work all the different parts of the core.
Forearms / Grip
A strong grip and forearms will help the golfer through the impact zone as he strikes the ball, keeping the wrist flat at contact and releasing afterward. The forearms and grip control all the force transmitted in the lower and upper body as it is transferred to the ball. Strong forearms and grip can help in difficult lies like sand or in the rough. Hammer curls, straight curls, reverse wrist curls, and finger curls will help develop strength to control the club.
Strengthening the glutes is important because they essentially control the hips, which in golf are used extensively for the backswing and downswing, and for balance as you finish the swing. Squats, lunges, dead lifts, and hip thrusts are great ways to improve this part of the body.
These areas are key in keeping the off-season golfer fit and ready to return to the course come spring. The majority of these exercises are simple and can be completed indoors, without even the use of a gym. It is important to note that while developing strength is important for your off-season regimen, so too is improving your flexibility and range of motion. Regular dynamic stretching or use of a foam roller on your body (especially your back and lats) can have just as much improvement on your golf game as adding muscle. So remember to warm up your body before you work out, and cool down afterwards as well.