*Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. This week he shows you how to keep your golf muscles in proper balance so you can stay injury-free. Look for Weekend Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman**.
Here's Ron:Remember Shingo Katayama? He's the diminutive golfer with the funny cowboy hat who won 26 times on the Japan Golf Tour and has played in many PGA Tour events over the past decade. The first time I saw Katayama on the range at a PGA Tour event, I watched him hit shots right-handed and then flip around and hit shots left-handed. At first I thought he might be doing it as part of some bizarre drill or as a goof. He was actually pretty good at it. But then I was told he did it to maintain body balance.
Katayama knows that golf is a one-sided sport and if he doesn't train muscles on the right side of his body the same way he uses the muscles on the left side of his body, it could lead to pain and injury. While I don't think it's necessary for you to make right-handed and left-handed swings to achieve body balance, your workout routine should always include exercises that move the body in one direction and then the opposite direction. In other words, train as if you could play golf either left-handed or right-handed. For obvious reasons, exercises that focus on the transverse (rotational) plane of motion are great, but you should also consider ones that isolate specific muscle groups on one side of the body. Just remember to train the opposite group of muscles, too.
Dr. Craig Davies, a PGA Tour trainer and author of Golf Anatomy, says in our June issue that the pain you feel after a round is often a result of asymmetrical strength. To check if you have asymmetries, do any one-sided exercise to the point of exhaustion with the left side of your body and then do it with the right. You should be able to get within 90 percent of the reps on one side that you can do on the other.
For more information on achieving body balance, see Davies' article in our June issue here: