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No matter what sport they play, just about any athlete can benefit from adding cross-training to their routine.
While it’s essential for athletes who want to level up and continue to excel, most people are neglecting cross-training and instead focus solely on the skills most closely related to their sport of choice.
Of all the athletes out there who are opting out of cross-training, golfers are particularly prone to skipping strengthening and stretching workouts and prioritizing specific elements of the game instead. What these golfers may not realize, though, is that by refusing to perform other types of exercise, they could actually be holding themselves back.
Benefits of Cross-training and the Best Strengthening and Stretching Exercises for Golfers
Read on to learn more about the benefits of cross-training and the best strengthening and stretching exercises for golfers.
Benefits of Cross-Training
There are a number of benefits that come with cross-training for golf — or any other sport, for that matter. Some of the most well-known benefits include:
- Reduced injury risk
- Correct muscle imbalances
- Increased strength and power
- Greater endurance
- Improved mental focus and clarity
- Reduced risk of burnout
If any of these benefits sound appealing to you, then it’s time to start adding some cross-training to your routine. Even implementing just two non-sport-specific workouts a week could make a huge difference to your performance.
The Strength Exercises for Golfers
Listed below are three strength exercises that are great for golfers of all skill levels. They require limited space and can be done with minimal equipment, so they’re perfect for people who don’t have access to a gym.
Lateral step-ups strengthen the gluteus medius, which helps stabilize the hips. When the hips are more stable, it’s easier to transfer energy from the legs up into the upper body and head of the golf club. This, in turn, will help you have both proper golf swing rotation and a more powerful swing.
Lunges with Trunk Rotation
These also strengthen the lower body, which allows for a more powerful swing. But, they also help you create a sense of separation between your upper and lower body. This helps you achieve greater distance when you hit the ball. It’s also a great way to improve mobility in your thoracic spine, which can help prevent twisting-related injuries.
A strong core is also essential for golfers who want to avoid back injuries when they swing their clubs. Russian twists work all of the muscles that make up the abdominals, which are a major part of the entire core.
Stretches for Golfers
There are a number of yoga poses that are also beneficial for golfers, who tend to struggle with tense shoulders, hips, and arms. These poses are great to do after a match, or on an off-day after completing your practice.
Wide-Legged Forward Fold
This is great for loosening up the legs after a lot of walking or lower body strengthening. Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Open them up so they’re about five feet apart. Your toes should be flexed and pointing up toward the ceiling. If you need more of a stretch, slowly walk your hands forward and stop when your toes start to roll inward.
This pose helps relieve tight shoulders and gives the legs a good stretch as well. It’s great for loosening up the whole body after a workout or game.
To do this pose, stand up straight, then extend your right leg and cross it over your left. If possible, continue wrapping until your right foot is wrapped around your left ankle. Extend your arms to the side and cross your left elbow over your right. If possible, continue wrapping until your palms touch.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a weekend hacker, you know that swinging a golf club can put a lot of strain on your lower arm. Reverse prayer is a great stretch that helps loosen up the muscles in the wrists and forearms. This, in turn, relieves stress on the wrist and elbow joints.
To do this stretch, extend your arms out to the side, then wrap them around your back so your palms touch. If you can’t reach, you can press your fists together instead.
The Bottom Line
The benefits of cross-training are many, and as you’ve learned in this article, cross-training can help you take your athletic performance to a new octave. This is especially true for all of you golfers. Go ahead and incorporate the exercises and stretches covered in this article into your overall fitness routine and take your performance next level!