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Conditioning Exercising for Golf

Millions of people love golf—the outdoorsy aspects of the sport, the history, the smell of freshly mown green, the intensity of the swing, the drive and sinking that perfect putt.

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But as any golfer can tell you, there's more to golfing than hitting a ball with a stick. Check out these tips for putting your body in the best condition for the sport.

  1. Golf conditioning is about strength and flexibility. If you are strong and flexible, you can increase the power of your drive and the speed of your swing. When you're in training for golf, focus on whole body conditioning before you ever hit the links.  
  2. Get with an expert. You'll want to work with a personal trainer who is conversant with the needs of golfers, because golf puts unusual requirements on the body. A trainer who understands golf will be able to help you target bodily areas and particular exercises to help you maximize your power and build strength to prevent injury. Because golf uses your body in different ways from other sports, it also places you at risk for different injuries. An expert can help you avoid injury and spend more time golfing.  
  3. Stretch, and then stretch again. Do your hamstrings, back, shoulders and rotator cuffs. Don't neglect your rotators; they are prone to injury in golf and you rely on them to do a lot of the work on the links.  
  4. Work out on and off the course. You should stretch and warm up before playing, but also follow a conditioning routine of cardio and strength training even when you aren't playing. We've all heard of someone who dropped dead at the eleventh hole; that's because he only golfed in summer and didn't exercise the rest of the year. Change your workout every three months and work out all year long—not only when you're golfing.  
  5. Golfers tend to get hurt in the back and shoulders, elbows, wrists and hips. A good golf swing puts a lot of stress on the shoulders and the twist in the body can do a serious number on an unlimbered back. Pay attention to the places where people get injured in golf by proper stretching and warm-ups as well as learning the right way to swing from a pro.  
  6. Cardio it. Okay, you don't have to run in golf. But your heart needs conditioning no matter what your sport. Take a brisk walk or do aerobics for at last a half-hour three or more times a week to stay fit all over.  
  7. Build strength through weight lifting. Weight lifting makes for stronger bones and muscles and reduces your potential for injury. Strength train for three, thirty minutes workouts a week when you aren't golfing, and do it twice a week when you are playing.  
  8. Change it up. Both to prevent boredom and to continue to challenge your body to change in positive ways, work with a trainer to create different exercise routines. Vary your sets and reps in strength training, with a new program every three months or so.  
  9. Remember you're not just a golfing machine! Your whole body makes you the golfer you are (and the one you want to be!) Don't skip one type of exercise in favor of another and don't ignore one set of muscles because you think they aren't relevant. Use everything you have to stay strong and fit.  
  10. Don’t mess around. People get in trouble when they try to combine their beloved golf clubs with other exercise. Using a weighted club can lead to trouble as your body tries to adjust to the unusual torque. If you want to do fancy things with golf clubs, pay a pro and work out with him or her.
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