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Fitness Friday: Rage against the machine

*Editor's note: Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. This week he shows you six simple exercises that are great for golf and tells you why they are superior to using standard machines found in most gyms. Look for Saturday Morning Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.

Roger Schiffman

Managing Editor

Golf Digest*

Here's Ron: A few years ago, I joined a brand-new fitness center built by a well-known commercial gym company. Within a month, I cancelled my membership. Why? Despite the facility having a monstrous frame (48,000 square feet), there was simply no room to do my workout. I'm not joking. This gym was loaded with cardio equipment and various exercise machines, but it had only 500 square feet of open space to stretch, or work out with free weights, stretch tubing, etc.

It's a classic marketing move. The reason commercial gyms mostly look the same is because that's what people who don't work out expect to see when they sign up for a membership. In short, gyms are designed to impress people who don't know how to work out. Imagine walking into a big commercial gym and seeing nothing but wide-open floor space with minimal equipment. If you knew nothing about getting in shape, you'd ask yourself, "Why would I pay $30-a-month to spend time in a warehouse?"

The truth is, you don't need a big commercial gym to get in shape, and you certainly don't need to use the machines that crowd them. Most machines do a poor job of training the body--especially for golf--for these reasons: (1) Machines hinder stability. Once you're locked into a machine, your body no longer has to balance itself to perform an exercise. Stability is crucial to swinging properly. (2) Machines isolate muscles. Name one activity in golf, or in life, where only one muscle group is used to complete the task. Muscles are meant to work in harmony as a team, not individually. (3) Machines restrict your range of motion. Your body moves in three different planes, but most machines limit your movement to one plane. Think of the coordinated lateral, rotary and linear moves involved in swinging a club.

In Golf Digest's July issue, Mark Verstegen, one of the top fitness trainers in the world and owner of Athletes' Performance in Scottsdale, offers exercises that should take the place of six common gym machines. You can get an advanced look at this article by clicking on this link.

Golf Digest's July issue (Adam Scott is on the cover) will be on newsstands starting June 7.

*Ron Kaspriske

Fitness Editor

Golf Digest*