Health & FitnessSeptember 1, 2011

Fitness Friday: Your questions answered

*Editor's note: Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. He gives you an unbeatable health and fitness tip or an exercise or stretch to get your body warmed up for the weekend. This week he answers some of your most pressing questions. Remember to follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.

Roger Schiffman

Managing Editor

Golf Digest*

Here's Ron: I get a lot of questions on Twitter (@RonKaspriske) that take more than 140 characters to answer adequately. So this week, I'm going to answer some of them here. I'll do this from time to time, so don't hesitate to ask. If I don't know the answer to one of your questions, I'll find someone who does.

Here's one from Brett Warren:* *

"How can someone improve a deep overhead squat?"

Answer: If you lack full range of motion in your squat (your butt should almost hit the floor), it's likely one of two problems, or both, says strength coach Mike Boyle. Either you lack stability in your core, or you have limited mobility in your hips. You need core stability or your body will prevent you from tapping into your full range of motion. It's like a shut-off valve. You need hip mobility to allow the lower body to bend while the upper body remains upright. Boyle suggests tackling the problem from both ends. That means doing more core exercises such as planks. And doing more hip mobility exercises. Back lunges will help. Click here for some other hip exercises.

From Charles Greene:

"What is the best offseason, golf-exercise program to follow (one hour, five times a week)?

Answer: The good news is that you don't need an hour, five times a week. How about 20 minutes four or five times a week? Sounds good doesn't it? You should focus on improving mobility and stability in the following areas: hips, glutes, hamstrings, thoracic spine, abs, lats and shoulders. My "20 in 20" workout is perfect for you because it also gives you a cardio boost while training the muscle groups. Essentially, you're doing two sets of 10 different exercises in 20 minutes. Click here.*

From Bill Berhle: "If golfers had to focus on one of the following, which is the most important? Cardio, stretching or weight training?"

*** Answer: Weight training, no contest. Fitness expert Alwyn Cosgrove blew me away when I first heard him speak on the subject. Strong, pliable muscles allow you to increase your range of motion, swing the club faster, stave off fatigue longer and avoid injuries. Flexibility comes as a result of stronger muscles. Remember, stability yields flexibility. As far as cardio training, your game won't benefit from endurance activities like running or rowing as much as other sports because it's a "burst sport." That means it's played with a lot of activity over a short period of time, followed by a period of rest, and so on. Interval training, a form of cardio, would certainly help your game, but it still falls short of what a stronger body can do. Plus, studies have proven that strength training is actually more effective than cardio in losing weight (diet is even more effective).

From Bhrett McCabe:

"What about CrossFit for golf-fitness training (with obvious modifications)?"

Answer: If you're asking me if CrossFit will help your golf game, my answer is yes. However (there's always a however), the exercises and routines prescribed are recommended by any number of top fitness trainers. It's not like they reinvented the wheel. They just did a nice job of packaging and marketing--especially appealing to those who think there's some "secret" to getting fit. I love that it focuses on strength training and "explosive power" moves. If you can do CrossFit for free, I say go for it. It will make you stronger, more flexible and leaner. If it costs money, then I say it's not worth your cash. There are many other exercises/routines you can do that are free and will give you similar results.

From Alison Minor:

"I've wondered about all those fitness products you see on late-night TV. Do any of them have merit?"

*Answer: Merit? Kinda. Worth your money? No way. Of all the ones I've seen--and some are outright laughable--the best might be the ab wheel that has two handles on it. I can't call it an "ab roller" since there is another product on the market with that name and I don't want to confuse anyone. Studies have shown the wheel with handles actually does a good job of strengthening your core. Its only downside is it puts too much stress on your lumbar spine region. Otherwise, it would be worth the $20. I still say planks are better. Here's a refresher. *

*Ron Kaspriske

Fitness Editor

Golf Digest *

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