Fitness: Introducing athleticism to build golf-specific endurance

Trevor Anderson shares golf-specific fitness workouts Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Fitness: Introducing athleticism to build golf-specific endurance

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Fitness: Introducing athleticism to build golf-specific endurance

(Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the January, 2017 issue of Golfweek.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Kevin Hall won the 2004 Big Ten Championship by 11 strokes as a collegian at Ohio State. But when he visited strength and conditioning specialist Trevor Anderson before turning pro, Hall’s physical fitness was lacking. Anderson had trained athletes involved in several sports, but never in golf. In working with Hall, Anderson realized he could take some of the same elements he used training NBA, NFL, MLB and USA Track and Field athletes and apply them to the sport.

“What I found was that as I got engaged with it, the (golf) industry didn’t think like that,” Anderson said. “They didn’t think about the entire athlete at the time. They thought about flexibility and strength to hit it farther, but I realized quickly it was much more
than that.”

Anderson has since worked with dozens of pros including Lydia Ko, Hee Young Park, Karine Icher, Michelle Wie, Ryan Blaum and 2016 Web.com Tour Q-School winner Jim Renner. He developed his GOLFleticism training regimen out of the Better Every Day Performance Institute and serves as director of golf performance for the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.

While the pros often make it look easy, Anderson has often seen amateur golfers struggle to reach peak form and find their comfort zone after even a short offseason. But the transition doesn’t have to be so arduous. By focusing on the right body movements for as little as 10 minutes each day, golfers can put themselves in much better positions.

“What people lose right off the bat more than anything is their endurance, their muscle and power endurance,” said Anderson, who figures even a casual golfer could take between 200-400 swings per round including practice cuts and swings on the range. “If your body is not prepared to deal with that endurance-wise and it doesn’t have the durability, compensation will occur, bad habits will occur, and sometimes even injury.”

Through a series of stretches and movements related to three categories – stability, mobility and coordination – golfers can begin to activate key muscles and body parts.

“You can’t expect to go out there, not warm up, take two swings and say, ‘All right, fellas,’ then tee it up,” Anderson said. “You’ve got to give yourself an opportunity not just to perform better but also reduce the risk for injury.”

STABILITY

“Your ability to stay in balance and under control is the key. Single-leg balances are so key, because your brain has to have an awareness of where it is in space, and weight-shifting and transferring of energy from the back side to the front side is so important in golf. If the body doesn’t have a good baseline understanding of it, then it’s going to be hard for it to understand how to replicate a swing that’s going to help you be successful.”

Lunge to single-leg balance

Step 1: Stand tall in a single-leg position, balancing on your right leg.

Step 2: Step back with the left leg, using your arms as if you’re in a running motion, coming to a kneeling position with the right knee
directly over the right heel and your left knee back and almost touching the floor.

Step 3: Once fully balanced in the kneeling position, stand yourself back up using the right (front) leg and re-establish balance in the single-leg position. Repeat once the body is fully balanced.

Opposite hand-toe touch

Step 1: Stand tall in a single-leg position, balancing on your right leg.

Step 2: Lean forward and touch your right toe with your left hand.

Step 3: Return to the single-leg position without letting your left foot touch the ground.

MOBILITY

“You want to have good shoulder mobility, which is a very important factor – (it’s) not just torso mobility – and you want to have great hip mobility. These exercises are going to help you tap into the mobility that you’re going to need when you start swinging the golf club.”

Single-leg rotations and golf posture

Step 1: Get in your regular pre-swing golf posture.

Step 2: Bring your left foot off the ground, balancing on your right leg with the left leg up and slightly behind you.

Step 3: Put your arms across your chest and rotate your upper body as far as you can toward your right leg, without moving your lower body. This exercise allows you to understand how to get loaded into the side of your hip and maintain that position at the top of the backswing.

Backswing with club or heavy bar

Step 1: Hold a golf club or heavy bar with your right hand on top and your left hand farther down. Get in your regular pre-swing golf posture holding the club or bar parallel to the floor.

Step 2: Use a normal backswing motion and hold the bar or club at the top of the backswing for as long as possible. The ability to hold a 9-pound bar or club at the top will emphasize the need to hold yourself in a stable position throughout the backswing.

COORDINATION

“You can have all the stability and mobility in the world, but if you don’t have the coordination to move in the right sequence it’s going to be hard for you to not only generate power but to have a nice, repeating golf swing you can depend on.”

Step to impact with elastic band

Step 1: Wrap an elastic band around a pole or support beam.

Step 2: Get in your pre-swing posture, holding the end of the band with both hands in front of your waist.

Step 3: Step out with your left leg and rotate, firing to your left side, first bringing your hips through followed by the torso and arms. The resistance from the band will demand attention from the front end
and help allow you to remain stable through impact in your golf swing.

Rotational squat

Step 1: Get in your regular pre-swing posture, holding a club or heavy bar behind your neck and atop your shoulders.

Step 2: Squat down, rotating your upper body toward your right side while keeping your lower body balanced.

Step 3: Stand up and rotate your upper body toward your left side as if you were finishing your golf swing.

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