3 Steps to Better Golf Fitness

tiger-workout

The Evolution of Golf Fitness

Golf fitness as evolved over the past few years.  It was once thought that golfers should not work out, as if they were not high end athletes.  Fitness slowly picked up steam due to players like Tiger Woods and Gary Player who spent time improving their bodies’ performance to help their golf game.  Now, it is widely accepted that golfers are tremendous athletes who put a lot of strain on their body due to a strenuous, unidirectional movement.  Almost every PGA Tour player has a trainer or physical therapist on their team to help keep them at their performance peak.  How does this relate to your game?  I am here to clear that up for you.

Walk Before You Run

Tour players do not wake up one day and jump into a program.  They go through physical screenings performed by a certified and knowledgeable coach.  I emphasize this because, if at all possible, you should find someone in your area to take you through a screen to know exactly where to start.

Here is a break down of the progression.

Step 1: Rehab – Undoing the Damage

A program starts with “rehab” work.  Rehab is designed to make the muscles do their job correctly.  When muscles do not do their job you can develop trigger points – tight and uncomfortable muscle knots surrounded by fascia – or you won’t use them during the swing which can result in swing faults.  This is another reason that screening and rehab are essential: without them you may be trying to fix a swing issue that your body won’t allow you to fix.

The majority of people must start with these prescribed stretches, muscle activations, and movements to get the body back into proper working order.  We must undo all the bad you do during the day, like sitting at a computer with bad posture, slumped shoulders, deactivating the glutes, straining the neck, shortening the hip flexors…. need I go on?  Not to fear, it is all fixable with hard work and a proper program.  I spend the majority of my time working with clients on these exact same things.  In fact, for those who are familiar with my YouTube Channel, the majority of those videos are to fix these very problems.

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Step 2: Golf Movements & Weights

Once you are moving correctly we can progress to adding in weights.  This does not mean we are going to be doing isolated movements like bicep curls or heavy bench press.  We will add weights for resistance to the movements that we want to program into the body: golf movements!  This is where the chops, lifts, upper body stabilization with lower body movements, squat and turns come into play.

This is where golf fitness starts to make more sense and become more enjoyable.  Keep in mind we do not have to go with extremely heavy weights.  We are trying to use the correct weight for each player without having a break down of muscle chains.  Each muscle must do its job and carry its weight, no pun intended, so it does not recruit another muscle to help.

This is golf performance at its best!  A lot of what I do with Justin Thomas is exactly this.  Any given week he has his resistance bands and it is up to me to know what is needed to help keep him firing correctly.  At his high club head speed, a lot of torque is put on the body.  If one muscle group breaks down it can lead to serious issues quickly.

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Step 3: Get Fast!

Finally, we are onto what few players get to spend a lot of time working on, power.  While this what I am known for, I think one of the reasons I am good at developing other players’ power is that I carefully walk them through the needed steps to get there.  There are no short cuts to power, especially if you want to prevent injury.  When you arrive at this stage though, get ready to work very hard.  Here we focus on quick, explosive movements like power cleans.  The body is working properly, so we can load it up and ask everything to fire at full capacity.  I also do a lot of training with players swinging clubs at different times in their workouts, and watching for the proper muscle activation body firing through, and slowing down.

Intrigued?  Start Here

How do you get started?  Make sure your body is working properly, that everything is firing and in working order.  Then it builds to adding in light weights for stability and muscle activation.  Finally, we move quickly and forcefully to build up club head speed and protect the body.

If this sounds like something that interest you, but you do not have someone in your area, please email me and we can discuss an online program.
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Tyler Parsons

Director of Golf Fitness and Head Teaching Professional at Parsons Golf Performance
Tyler started in golf early on, playing in many junior events. He was known for his length and blowing it by his competitors. He contributes a lot of this to always trying to keep up with PGA Tour long hitter and friend, J.B. Holmes, who he grew up playing with on their high school team. Tyler graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.A. in Kinesiology, exercise science. This is the study of the human body's movements and biomechanics, so it was a perfect fit when Parsons started personal training and started looking to help golfers off the course. Upon completion of the Titleist Performance Institute certified golf fitness program, who are the leading company in golf specific training, he then went on to obtain their highest level of certification (TPI CGFI Level 3 FP). After a few years of training other golfers, he connected with childhood friend, Holmes, and started training him helping protect his body and improve performance. This caught the eye of Matt Killen, swing coach for Holmes. Later the two joined up and Tyler moved to Bowling Green, Ky to work alongside Matt with Killen Golf. Since then Tyler has worked with PGA Tour players, Josh Teater, Kenny Perry, Blake Adams, and current rising star, Justin Thomas. Along the way Tyler put his knowledge of golf and body movements to the test and started designing a program to not only increase speed, but test its limits. Spending time working on his body in the gym and performing specific key "speed" movements in the swing, Tyler jumped his club head speed from an impressive 120 mph to 152 mph. He is now teaching this program to all skill levels of players, helping from their game. His results can be seen each week as Justin Thomas tees up and delivers his blistering speed on tour as one of the pound for pound longest hitters.

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5 Comments

  1. Great article. As we get closer to the offseason, I plan to setup a better fitness routine to prepare for the spring. I plan on integrating this into my routine. My question is how will I know when my “rehab” is complete to move on? Thanks.

    • Matt Saternus

      Steven,

      Your coach will let you know. He may also give you benchmarks to work toward so that you can monitor your progress.

      -Matt

  2. Hey Matt,

    Maybe you can outline a list of exercises age specific for an old man like me (46)

    • Matt Saternus

      G,

      Caveat: I’m not the expert, that’s Tyler.

      I don’t think exercises are age specific, I think they need to be specific to your goals and strengths/limitations.

      If you follow Tyler Parsons on Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram, he shows tons of great moves. He’s also posted some great stuff here.

      Best,

      Matt

  3. Pingback: Speed Stik Review - Plugged In Golf

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