In a lot of parts of the country, the golf season ends right about the time you're finishing the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers. Depending on your winter plans and travel restrictions, you may get in a few rounds in Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head, but for the most part, once the calendar gets flipped to December, your golf season is over.
But just because you're not out playing, it doesn't mean you can't be improving your game. In fact, the off-season is when some of the most significant gains can be made. You're finally free to improve your game with a golf fitness program or training program without the distraction of -- well -- actually playing the game.
If your season is only seven or eight months long, the last thing you want to be doing on a beautiful summer day is assessing proper range-of-motion around the shoulders or working on optimizing hip rotation. But when it's 29 degrees out and the forecast calls for three straight days of sleet, this is when you can be optimizing your body for a more powerful, accurate, and consistent golf swing.
Optimize -- don't winterize -- your game!
Most golfers play the game despite their bodies. They make on-the-fly corrections based on what their body may -- or may not -- be able to do on a particular day. And as the season goes on, these corrections and compensations get more and more extreme as their bodies wear down. The off-season is when you can actually break this cycle. By focusing on where your body is too tight, not strong enough, or slightly out of balance, you can make the subtle corrections that will let you play compensation-free once Mother Nature lets you back on the course.
My book, Fix Your Body, Fix Your Swing is designed to help golfers realize where they may have physical issues that are preventing them from playing their best. You're only going to be able to swing the club as well as your body will allow, and the winter is the perfect time to concentrate on that body that's going to be swinging those golf clubs. The book puts you through a series of assessments that measure how well your body can perform specific movements vital to the golf swing. For each golf-specific assessment, there are prescriptive exercises to do if you were unable to perform the assessment movement sufficiently and comfortably.
These assessments and prescriptive exercises aren't just designed for the casual player; these are the same assessments that our coaches and fitness professionals do here at the Joey D Golf Sports Training Center with top pros like Dustin Johnson, Lexi Thompson, Justin Thomas, Jessica Korda, Joaquin Niemann, and more.
Here's a quick example to check for proper rotation at the shoulder:
Stand with your back against a wall with your arms straight out to the sides. Bend both your arms at the elbow so that your upper arm is still connected to the wall, but your forearms are facing forward and parallel to the ground with your palms facing down toward the floor. Keeping your body and upper arms against the wall, rotate your right forearm up -- as if you were trying to point your fingers toward the ceiling. You should feel like you're about to testify in court!
Can you get the wrist and the back of your right hand to comfortably touch the wall? Can you do it without your lower back coming away from the wall?
Now, try the same movement with your left arm.
If you can't externally rotate your arms sufficiently on both sides, your swing is going to suffer. Your takeaway will be limited and this will affect your ability to generate strength and power. (And if you think you're getting a deep takeaway, you may inadvertently be chicken-winging your arm, which will affect accuracy.) On the other side of your swing, lack of shoulder rotation will limit your follow-through forcing you to decrease your clubhead speed before impact, which will also decrease power and distance.
So, what can you do about it? Add this move to your strength training workout a couple of times a week and you'll be amazed how loose, strong, and stable your shoulders -- and your entire upper body -- will feel.
External Shoulder Rotation with Bands
Anchor a very light resistance band to a solid object between waist and chest height. Stand sideways to the anchor point so that your left side is facing the anchor point. Grab the band handle in your right hand with your upper right arm tight against your body and your right forearm facing forward and parallel to the floor. The palm of your right hand should be facing to the left toward the anchor point. This is the starting position.
Keeping your hips, chest, and shoulders squared forward and your upper arm against your body, rotate your forearm away from the anchor point as if your forearm was a door opening. Hold this position for a two-count and then slowly reverse the move and return to the starting position in a controlled manner with your forearm staying parallel to the floor. Be very aware not to let your hips, chest, or shoulders rotate to the right and away from the anchor point. Do three sets of ten reps with each arm.
And that's just one example!
Take a look out your window. If the skies are a depressing gray and there's an inch -- or a few inches -- of snow on the ground, consider yourself lucky. For the next few months, you have the luxury of being able to fully dedicate yourself to improving your golf game. And you can do it all without the distraction of having to worry about tee times, bunkers, wind direction, and club selection.
Optimize -- don't winterize -- your game! Let a strong off-season golf workout program help make this your most productive winter ever!
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