The Loop

Fitness Friday: The importance of a well-balanced workout

April 05, 2013

Muscular imbalance is always an issue for those who play "one-sided" sports. By that, I mean any sport that recruits the muscles on one side of the body far more than the other. Golf falls into this category. It's played asymmetrically and, over time, that imbalance could lead to pain and injury unless compensations are made.

I had a recent discussion with Ben Shear on this topic. Ben (@Ben_Shear) trains several players on the PGA Tour and has to deal with the fact that his clients are much more susceptible to these kind of muscular-imbalance issues simply because of the amount of golf swings they make every week. It reminds me of former PGA Tour player Shingo Katayama (above), who used to warm up on the range before tournaments by hitting right-handed and left-handed shots. He knew that the repetitive motion in only one direction would only make certain muscles a lot stronger than their counterparts on the other side of his body. So he tried to fix that.

Shear says balance in muscle groups not only applies from side to side, but also front to back. Think about your quadriceps (thigh muscles). They need to be strong, but the hamstring muscles on the back of the thighs also need to be strong. With that in mind, doing complimentary "push/pull" exercises where you alternate sets between the two movements is always a good idea. If you are training your chest, you also want to train your back.

To hear Ben explain this concept, click on the video below:

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor for Golf Digest*

(Photo by Getty Images)