Fitness Friday: Is cardio good for your golf?
Here's Ron: I recently visited with Annika Sorenstam's longtime fitness trainer, Kai Fusser. He has a new book called Weight Training for Women's Golf, The Ultimate Guide ($16.95, Price World Publishing). Fusser thinks differently about fitness than many of his peers, but I was still slightly surprised at his response when I asked him how much cardio he recommends.
"It's not a big part of what we do," he said. "Spending 30 minutes on a treadmill is a waste of time." In his book, he continues, "I'm not saying that doing slow and long cardio is all bad and that you should never do it. I know many people feel they get a great deal of mental stress relief [from it], and I can't argue with that. But from a purely physical standpoint, it is not at all efficient and might harm you more than it will do you good."
Fusser is not the only trainer who steers his clients away from the elliptical, the stationary bike and the treadmill. Chris Noss, who trains many tour pros, including Camilo Villegas and Zach Johnson, combines a cardio workout with his strength-training sessions simply by shortening the rest between sets. I've seen Chris' workout up close and I can assure you, it will turn you into a pile of goo.
Whether you want to try high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or Noss' strength-training speed circuit, the bottom line is that you're using your time in the gym more efficiently and training your heart and muscles to function properly under duress. Let's not forget, golf is a "burst sport," meaning you're asked to alternate between generating a lot of energy in a short period of time and then resting for longer periods. You need to prepare your body to be on alert at all times, and steady-state cardio simply won't do that.
I know that some of you simply love the treadmill. So if you must keep that in your workout regimen, click on the video below to see how too use it and get a better workout.
Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor
Related: A golfer's guide to the treadmill