Ditch The Treadmill: Here's A Better Cardio Routine For Golf
Photos by Shadi Perez
Apologies if you're reading this after buying a $2,000 piece of cardio equipment. The reality is, your money could have been better spent. If you're serious about exercising in ways that can help your golf performance, I've designed a simple cardio routine that requires little more than a pair of sneakers—and your commitment. Best part, you can even use it as a proper warm-up before a round. Start by doing forward skips like I am here. March in place, raising the left arm with the right knee and vice versa. Push yourself forward, knees and arms high and feet straight. This move primes the lower body and improves coordination—both essential to making a good swing. Do three sets of skips for 30 seconds, resting for 30 between them. Then do the other cardio exercises I demonstrate below. You can vary sets and duration based on your fitness level, but be prepared to sweat. — With Ron Kaspriske
Golfers need to train in all three planes of motion, but often lateral movement is neglected. This exercise improves side-to-side coordination and function in the lower body. Start marching in place with the opposite arm over the opposite leg. Feel like you're hopping a little. As you push off a foot, drive the body laterally in the opposite direction. Keep the knees high and the arms moving from your pockets to your chin. Do three sets, each for 30 seconds with 30 seconds of rest between. Remember, you can vary the duration of exercise and rest based on your fitness level.
CARDIO ROUTINES DON’T HAVE TO SEEM ROUTINE. MIX IT UP AND HAVE FUN.
LUNGES WITH ROTATION
Golfers need to keep their lower body stable as the upper body rotates. This exercise trains that part of the swing while raising your heart rate. From a standing position, lunge forward with your left leg, lowering your body until the right knee is hovering just above the ground. Squeeze the glute (butt) muscles on the right side of your body while feeling your body weight firmly planted in the left heel. Place your right hand on the left knee and rotate to the left, reaching out with your left arm behind you. Return to a standing position. Do two sets of eight reps, rest for 15 seconds; then do two sets of eight reps with the opposite leg and body rotation.
If there's one muscle group that really matters for golf, it's the glutes. They can provide power and stability in a swing if functioning properly. They also work in harmony with the muscles of the hips and the inner and outer thighs to provide lower-body rotation. Train them by starting in a standing position, and lift one leg until the knee is at abdomen height. Holding the knee up with one hand, pull your shin inward until it's at a 45-degree angle in relation to the supporting leg. Hold for a second and return to standing. Do two sets of eight reps with each leg.
Hip flexion plays a big role in making solid contact with a golf ball. This exercise trains the flexors of the pelvis and strengthens the quadriceps and hamstrings by relying on one leg to support body weight. From a standing position, lift one leg until you can clasp your hands around its knee. Then pull the knee up to your chest and come off the heel of the supporting foot. Hold for a second and return it to the ground. Do two sets of 10 reps with each leg.
FOLLOW ALONG WITH KAITLYN
Like this workout? We also asked golf-fitness professional Kaitlyn Pimentel, a former college golfer at Methodist University, to create total-body exercise programs within time frames to meet the needs of those on the go. In the video series, "Follow-Along Golf: Total Body Workouts," Pimentel takes you through 15-, 30- and 45-minute sessions that boost flexibility, strength, power and cardiovascular health, and are designed to improve your swing. The series is only $9.99. Go to golfdigest.com/totalbody