Golf Digest editors picks
Fitness

Bursts Of Energy

September 2010

A round of golf might take more than four hours, but only a fraction of that time is spent hitting the ball. If you're interested in improving your stamina when you play, the cardiovascular portion of your fitness routine should mimic a similar stop-and-go action.

"Successful golf requires short periods of intense focus and the ability to repeatedly execute fine motor skills during that time," says trainer Mark Verstegen, founder of the Athletes' Performance Institute and fitness centers. Improving your ability to activate and deactivate your concentration will better regulate your levels of energy, from the opening tee shot to the last putt.

HOW TO INTERVAL TRAIN
Steady cardio training -- like running at a consistent pace on a treadmill -- could be counterproductive if you're trying to enhance your focus. Instead, take your current cardio activities and apply interval training to them (bursts of high-intensity action followed by performing the same activity at a slower rate). This should increase your cardiovascular power and improve your brain's ability to focus and relax on command.

"You want to be able to work intensely, then drop all the way down in an instant," says Verstegen. In the pool, for example, swim aggressively for a minute, then tread water or swim slower for a minute. This works with any activity -- even strength training. You can build the muscles in your legs -- the key to a more powerful golf swing -- while making your heart pump, Verstegen says. To do this, line up a series of three exercises (see below), and complete one set of each without a break. Drink some water, rest a minute and repeat the series. This can work with your current fitness routine or with the routine Verstegen recommends here.

SAMPLE WORKOUT: FIRST SERIES

Mini-band hip rotation

(6 reps each)

Starting Position:
• Standing in athletic base position with mini band above knees

Procedure:
• Keeping left leg stationary, move right knee in and out for the prescribed number of repetitions
• Switch legs and repeat for prescribed number of repetitions

Pillar bridge with diagonal arm lift

Pillar bridge with diagonal arm lift

(6 reps each)

Starting Position:
• Pushup position with feet wider than shoulder width apart

Procedure:
• Without moving torso, lift left arm up and slightly to the left and hold for 1 -2 seconds
• Return to start position and repeat with right arm
• Repeat for prescribed number of repetitions

Standing Ys and Ws

Standing Ys and Ws

(6 reps each)

Starting Position
• Standing hinged over at the waist with the back flat and chest up

Procedure: Y
• Glide your shoulder blades back and down and then raise your arms over your head to form a "Y"
• Return to start position and repeat for prescribed number of repetitions

Procedure: W
• Glide your shoulder blades back and down, bend your elbows at 90 degrees and position your arms toward so they form a "W"
• As your elbows reach shoulder height, rotate your forearms upward until the backs of your hands face the ceiling
• Reverse this pattern back to the starting position and repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions

SECOND SERIES

Knee hug (in place)

Knee hug (in place)

(6 reps each)

Starting Position:
• Stand with your back straight and your arms at your sides

Procedure:
• Lift your right knee to your chest and grab below the knee with your hands
• Pull your right knee as close to your chest as you can while contracting your left glute
• Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side
• Continue, alternating sides, for the prescribed number of reps

Inverted hamstring stretch (in place)

Inverted hamstring stretch (in place)

(6 reps each)

Starting Position:
• Standing on one leg with arms raised to 90 degrees and shoulder blades pinched together

Procedure:
• Bend over at waist and kick opposite heel to sky
• When stretch is felt, return to standing position
• Repeat on same leg for prescribed number of repetitions and then switch legs

Lateral squat

Lateral squat

(6 reps each)

Starting Position:
• Standing on one leg with arms raised to 90 degrees and shoulder blades pinched together

Procedure:
• Standing with your feet wider than shoulder width apart, shift your hips to the left and down by bending your left knee and keeping your right leg straight.
• Your feet should be straight ahead and flat on the ground.
• Push through your left hip, returning to the starting position.
• Alternate sides and repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

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