With golf and tennis season upon us its important to make sure that you are diversifying your physical activity to compliment and improve upon your weekly games. Here are three things you can do to keep your game strong, your body injury free, and your season successful.
Both golf and tennis require quick muscular power and recoil, both of which are influenced by the strength of the muscles at rest. Think of a metal spring – when you pull the spring long it builds up a certain amount of tension that then dictates the force that comes with the recoil once it’s released. Now, imagine that the muscles of your shoulders, hips, back, and torso are all like those springs, winding up and creating tension to then release with speed and strength when it comes time to swing and serve. How do we change the strength of muscle tissue at rest? Train consistently with load (i.e. weights, cables, bands, etc.) and then provide enough time for muscle tissue to recover and grow stronger fibers before the next bout of training. A comprehensive and total body strength and conditioning program can be the key to improving your game.
Roll it out!
Foam rollers and tennis balls are your best friends in maintaining good mobility and preventing the repetitive use injuries that are so common with golf and tennis. A successful swing or serve requires a delicate balance of strength and mobility of the joints and muscle tissue. As we build strength with exercise we must also insure that our muscles stay pliable and are moving at optimal lengths. An unbalanced exercise program can create short and tight muscles, leading to poor movement mechanics, compromised joint motion, and inevitable injuries. Rolling out is overlooked as being an essential component to a well-rounded exercise program, and is quite helpful in keeping your body pain free. There aren’t many rules to rolling out so get down on the floor with your tool of choice, be creative, and do what feels good.
Move Well and Move More
The gym is not the only place to practice healthy and controlled movement. The way you use your body outside of the gym has a far greater influence on your alignment and muscular imbalances, which then affect your game. Reconsider daily activities, like the way you stand, sit, and walk. When you are standing, find opportunities to gently draw in your abdominals to support your lower back, and shift your weight so you aren’t passively sitting into one hip. Every time you sit into a chair, practice a perfect squat. When in front of your computer, cycle through positions and postures, without keeping the same leg crossed, your dominant hand forward on the keyboard, or a hunched back. Throughout your day take movement breaks and stand up, stretch it out, use a roller, do a few squats or twists and then return to your work.