Fitness Friday: Homebound workout
There are times when the weather is so bad, getting to the gym is not possible or practical. Yet, sitting at home with nothing to do can drive you crazy. With that in mind, here are seven great exercises golfers can do at home that require no equipment:
1. Walking stairs: Got stairs? Then you've got the basics for a good cardio workout that also will improve lower-body strength. It's also the perfect warm-up for the rest of your workout. If you can safely do it, take two stairs at a time on the way up to increase the difficulty. Use the time walking back down the stairs to regain your breath. See how many trips you can make before you are really winded.
2. Planks: Many variations of this core-strengthening exercise are possible including side planks and single-leg planks. All you need is a carpeted floor or mattress to brace yourself against. Turn it into a game by trying to increase the duration you can hold the position by 10 seconds with each rep.
3. Seated-torso rotations: Improving the rotational mobility of your mid back is important to avoiding lower-back pain. Good thoracic spine rotation will also improve your swing. Sit on a bench or the edge of a chair. Cross your arms over each other so your palms are touching your chest and rotate slowly in each direction. A good goal is to try and get your elbow over the opposite thigh.
4. Inverted-hamstring stretches: Good hamstring strength and flexibility is often neglected as we get older. But it's important if you want to play golf effectively and injury free. Balance on one leg that is slightly bent and lean forward with your upper torso. Let your free leg extend up and behind you to counter balance your weight. Return to the standing position and then repeat. Don't forget to do an equal number of repetitions with each leg.
5. Lunges: Hip mobility and strength is important in any change-of-direction sport such as golf. A basic backward lunge is a good way to help improve hip function. Let one knee kiss the ground behind your standing position. Once you can do these with ease, move on to a lateral squat where one leg straightens out to your side as you drop down being supported by one leg only.
6. Ankle rolls: Protecting your knees starts by having good ankle mobility. Without it, the energy required to stop your momentum at the end of a golf swing will be absorbed more by the lead knee and that can eventually cause strains and tears of ligaments. Let the ankle absorb more of that stress. All you have to do is sit down and lift your feet up so only your heels are touching the ground. Then make circular motions and back-and-forth motions with your feet until you start to feel a burn in your calf muscles such as the soleus.
7. Wall slides: Scapular stability and shoulder mobility are also important to swinging a club in control and injury free. Stand with your heels, butt and back against a wall and hold your arms up like someone is robbing you at gunpoint. Your shoulders, arms and hands should also be touching the wall at the same time and remain touching it throughout the exercise. Now slide your arms up and down the wall.
Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor for Golf Digest