Making Your Program Golf Specific
"Golf-Specific" means different things to different people. One of the things I have learned from my education and experience in working with elite trainers and golfers is that in order to improve someone's performance you must know where their strengths and weaknesses currently exist. This is, of course, the real value of assessments. If you look at the requirements of the golf swing itself, a golfer needs adequate spinal rotation, hip rotation, shoulder rotation, core engagement, some degree of cardiovascular endurance, and some degree of strength and stability.
You don't need to be a bodybuilder or powerlifter for golf, just enough strength to produce a powerful swing. So, in evaluating a golfer you simply look at the rotational ability of the joints that most affect the golf swing. It is also helpful to look at a golfer's current level of strength and stability or muscular imbalances which have the potential to create injury.
But then what? Well, if you are assessing a golfer who always complains about lack of distance and you find out they have very limited spinal rotation then you just found out a potential reason "why." If a golfer lacks adequate spinal rotation, then its virtually impossible to produce respectable distance because you are not able to move your body freely through this motion, at least without finding another way to compensate in the body like excessive hip rotation or other variation.
The good news is that if this is discovered in an assessment, then a few simple stretches which focus entirely on improving spinal rotation will likely yield distance you have never experienced.
This brings us back to the meaning of "golf specific". If we understand the biomechanics of the swing, then we can look at an individual and determine where they need improvement. With some golfers, a few stretches will produce results they've never seen before. With other golfers, they need considerably more strength. Some golfers are very strong, yet can't move through a full range of motion or lack proper core engagement to keep their backs protected. Each golfer is different and therefore has different needs.
Susan Hill is a CHEK Golf Biomechanic,sports nutrition specialist and golf fitness columnist for Golf Illustrated. For exercises and stretches based on your individual strengths and weaknesses,visit http://www.fitnessforgolf.com
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