Nic DeCaire is the owner and founder of Fusion Fitness Center in Newark, Del. He is an IFPA-certified personal trainer with 12 years experience, and a former, award-winning, competitive bodybuilder and power lifter. DeCaire also started playing golf at an early age. His knowledge of the game and fitness make for a winning combination when working with professional, amateur, and recreational golfers. He currently works with golfers at several clubs throughout Delaware (including Deerfield and Newark Country Club) and at his Fusion Fitness location.
“When I start working with a golfer, I always have to remind them that golf is a sport,” DeCaire says. “When you play a sport you have to train if you want to become better at it. Improper training leads to injury, and injury leads to not being able to play your sport.
“All golfers, no matter at what level, still need to strengthen and work the same muscles.”
The difference between a great golfer and a good golfer is a great golfer practices and plays all the time. They never take a break during the winter,” he says. “Most golfers who take a break during the winter are the ones who end up getting injured during the first couple weeks of the season. If you want to take the game seriously and avoid injury this year, start the season slowly and make sure you are training for your sport all year round.”
Because more injuries occur during the first couple of weeks after the winter layoff, it is the most dangerous time of year to play golf. DeCaire notes that many of these types of injuries can be avoided with a few simple steps.
Step 1 – Never tee up without a proper warm up.
Would you run a 5K without a proper warm-up? Would you pitch a baseball without the proper warm-up? Then why would you swing a club without a proper warm-up? The golf swing involves the shoulders, abdominals, lower back, quadriceps and hamstrings. That seems like a lot of places on the body that could get injured without a proper warm-up. Arrive at the course about 45 minutes before you are going to play and go to the driving range. Hit a bucket of balls and make sure to do some proper stretches. This will help to warm the muscles and avoid injury.
Step 2 – Bend at the knees.
How many times do you think you bend over to tee up and pick up balls during a round of 18 holes? If I had to guess, I would say around 100 times per round. That is a lot of strain on the lower back, especially if you are not bending at the knees. A lower back injury could take you out for the season. A lower back injury is also a very painful and long injury to recover from. Remember when teeing up and picking up your ball to bend at the knees. It could save your lower back and your season. Also include some lower back exercises during your regular workout routine. (See below.)
DeCaire recommends: My team of trainers at Fusion Fitness see more lower back injuries and weak lower backs from golfers, than any other ailments. When golfers lack the muscular strength needed for the golf swing, they also lack the ability to maintain a fixed spine angle, develop power, transfer energy efficiently, and ultimately maintain postural positions of the swing. All of this results in poor club head speed, lower ball speeds, poor ball flight, and developing overcompensations in the swing. All of these factors can lead to injuries of the lower back.
Two exercises that any golfer can benefit from are “Supermans” and Bent Knee Hip Extensions. They will help with strengthening your lower back and core region. You should perform these exercises a couple of times per week. Work up to 2-3 sets of 15-20 repetitions.
Muscles targeted: lower back
1.. Lie facedown on the floor or exercise mat. Your arms should be fully extended in front of you.
2. Simultaneously raise your arms, legs, and chest off the floor and squeeze your lower back muscles (like you are flying).
3. Slowly begin to lower your arms, legs and chest back down to the starting position.
Note: They call this exercise Superman because when holding the contracted position, you should look like superman when he is flying.
Exercise: Bent Knee Hip Extensions
Muscles targeted: core and lower body
1. Lie flat on your back with your heels on a bench or box.
2. Keeping your heels next to each other, bend your knees to 90 degrees. Extend your arms straight for support.
3. Begin raising your hips by pressing your heels into the bench.
4. Continue to raise your hips until they are in line with your knees and shoulders.
5. Squeeze your glutes at the top position for one second, then return to the starting position.
Here are some more exercises you can add to your routine as your core strength increases. More descriptive instructions are available on the Fusion Fitness YouTube link here: youtube.com/user/fusionfitnessDE?feature=mhee#p/u/44/_TJu1YN2hwc
Work that core. Your power comes from your midsection and that is what this exercise will help with. Also this
will strengthen your shoulders, arms and legs at the same time.
Reverse Lunge with Stretch
This exercise is great for strengthening the leg muscles and stretching the abdominal wall.
We all know how important rotation is in your golf swing. This exercise will help build your oblique muscles and improve your rotation.
This exercise will help build strength in your chest, shoulders and triceps. Build these muscles and start
out-driving your friends in no time.