As we enter the festive period, our golf fitness expert Sam Mellor explains how he keeps off the holiday weight and stays in shape ready to go hard in 2018. Scroll down to discover his favourite golf specific exercises which will hopefully encourage you to try something different next time you're in the gym.
Golf Specific Exercises | Sam Mellor PGA
So, for most of us, the Christmas holiday season normally means indulging on food & drink, relaxing in front of the TV and spending valuable time with our families. Perhaps you might enjoy few glasses of your favourite wine and a couple of mince pies while watching your favourite festive sports? Whatever it may be, we all know that our routines typically go straight out of the window and over indulgence occurs with those fatal words...“why not? It's Christmas after all!”.
Well, here's a stat that might surprise you. On Christmas Day alone, the average person in the UK will consume almost 6,000 calories in one day!
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With this in mind, I wanted to focus on five of my favourite golf specific exercises which you can add to your routine once you start back at the gym in 2018 - or maybe even to encourage you to burn off some of those extra calories over the festive period itself!
These exercises are great for improving your overall fitness but equally so for strengthening the key areas required for power and stability within the golf swing. Please remember, I always recommend a solid warm up before partaking in any of these exercises - including plenty of stretches to avoid any injuries.
Golf Specific Exercises | Crab Walks
Find some space in your local gym & grab a 4/6kg medicine ball (whichever you are most comfortable with) and a small rubber resistance band. Place the band just above the knee area (pictured) with enough resistance and tension when you have your feet positioned shoulder width apart. Set up in a typical golf posture, keeping the tension on the band, and then hold the medicine ball in front of you.
Now that you're in position, take small steps to the left, just like a crab, concentrating on holding your golf posture and engaging your core. You should feel this working your glutes, quads and core - remembering to keep lots of tension the band. Make 8-10 steps to the left, then try moving to right in the same way. Repeat 3 times.
Golf Specific Exercises | Backward Lunges
More specifically - this is a backward lunge with dumbbell rotation and this really is one of my favourites. It helps to improve your lower body stability, while also creating weighted dissociation.
Grab a 6/8kg dumbbell and stand tall, keeping your feet together and holding the dumbbell vertically in two hands. Make a slow, backward lunge with your right leg and take your time to ensure that you are as stable as possible. Once stable, put your hands straight out in front of you and slowly rotate your arms to the left (pictured) while trying to keep everything stable - especially your legs. Try 8 reps with your right leg going backwards then repeat this with your left leg going backwards (rotating your arms to the right). Repeat 3 times.
Golf Specific Exercises | Box Jumps
I absolutely love this exercise as it’s a superb way of creating explosive power which is key to those long 300 yard drives! Find the plyometric boxes and/or a large stepper and find a suitable height which you are comfortable with; I would recommend between 1-3 ft high to start but you can build yourself upwards over time (check out my personal best in the Instagram video atop this page!).
Get yourself within 1 foot of the box, again in your golf posture, with your arms hanging in front of you. Squat as low as you can and jump onto the box - but remember to control your landing just like a gymnast. The quieter the landing means the better quality of jump. Do 10 jumps, rest and then repeat the process 3 times. Once you feel comfortable doing one height, try using a box which is a little higher and then maybe even add a rotational jump to test yourself further. This will also really help you create that rotational speed you need for a powerful swing.
Golf Specific Exercises | Battle Ropes
Please note, this is one of the hardest functional pieces of equipment in the gym but so worthwhile once you get used to the motion. I like to call these the killer ropes!
Take one rope in each hand and make sure you can feel enough tension in both of them. Stand in your golf posture with your feet parted slightly wider - almost more like a driver set up. Now, you want to throw the ropes up and down with your arms - almost like you are banging a drum. Remember to keep your back straight and maintain good posture whilst engaging your core.
Count to 10 seconds and then stop for a 30 second rest, then go again for 15 seconds. Take another 30 second rest then go again for 20 seconds. Repeat this sequence three times and you should definitely be sweating by the end of it!
Golf Specific Exercises | Deadlifts
Now, when performing a deadlift, your form and technique is very important. Having the correct form/technique will not only ensure that you avoid injury, but it will also allow you to lift heavier weight and thus, be more powerful. I would recommend asking your local gym PT to run through deadlift technique with you, if you are unsure. Remember to keep the weight low to begin with, concentrating more on your technique without letting your ego get in the way.
Proper deadlift form starts with the weights stationary on the floor; I would recommend 15 or 20kg on either side for beginners. Before lifting, remember that you must lift with a neutral lower back – maintaining the natural inward curve of your lower spine. Starting in a slightly squatted position with your shins reasonably close to the bar, grab the bar itself with your hands at about shoulder width apart.
Now stand up, also keeping your arms straight. The bar should reach your mid-thighs (where your hands would normally come to rest) and you can then lock your hips and knees. Return the weight to the floor by moving your hips back, while bending your legs back into the same squat position. Rest for a second or two, then repeat 5 times.
Please be aware that rounding your back during heavy deadlifts is dangerous for your spine. It puts uneven pressure on your spinal discs and can result in injury. Again, the fastest way to increase your deadlift ability is to improve your form. By pulling more efficiently, you can use more muscles and deadlift heavier weights. This results in more strength in the lower body, which helps you maintain great posture in the golf swing and generate power from the ground up.
Golf Specific Exercises | TPI Certified Trainers
These exercises will all help to get your body get "golf fit" if you include them in your routine over a substantial period of time. Remember that there are many TPI certified instructors, just like myself, who I would highly recommend if you want more advice or if you want to generate a workout specifically tailored to you. You can find a list of the TPI Certified trainers via this link.
I hope you all enjoy getting your sweat on during the festive period and wish you a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. I look forward to seeing you all in 2018, as we have many more exciting eMAG articles coming your way!