20 for 20: 20 fitness tips that helped you play your best in 2020
As 2020 comes to a close and we turn the page to 2021, GOLF staffers are taking a minute to reflect on…whatever they want. Welcome to 20 for 20.
By all accounts 2020 was a weird year. I’ll never forget where I was or what I was doing when I watched the sports world go dark. What felt like an inevitable toppling of dominos, the NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL, NCAA, LPGA, PGA and more all paused their seasons, leaving me to wonder what I would do with myself for god knows how long.
Then lockdown hit New York City, and gyms closed. My one tried and true coping mechanism had just disappeared and I, along with millions of others across the country, had to get creative.
In times of stress, I always worked it out. Literally. So I wasn’t about to let a lockdown stop me. Or you. In 2020, I threw myself into working out, eating well and bringing the best workout, nutrition, mobility and wellness tips to you, GOLF’s readers.
Whether you’ve already started your wellness journey or are planning to get stared January 1, 2021, these 20 tips will get you and your game in great shape.
1. Do you even lift bro?
One of the most common misconceptions about training for golf is that you shouldn’t strength train because you will bulk up and lose your mobility. Bryson DeChambeau is the most obvious argument against this long held myth. Justin Thomas, John Rahm, Lexi Thompson, Mel Reid and almost every professional golfer alive is living-proof that strength training is actually *really* good for your golf game.
2. Drop it like it’s squat
A strong, stable lower body is integral to sending it off the tee. So how do you build that strength and stability? Squats! Every LPGA and PGA Tour player does some variation of a squat regularly. Whether they’re lifting heavy or doing body-weight squats, they don’t skip leg day and neither should you.
3. Rotational strength for a rotational movement
The golf swing is a rotational movement through and through. So why would you not train rotational exercises? Not only is it a chance for you to improve your body’s ability to rotate well, but it’s also a great way to build rotational strength. You know what comes from rotational strength? Faster club speed, faster ball speed, more distance. It’s as simple as that.
4. Don’t overlook your obliques
Having a six-pack isn’t necessary for golf, but having a strong core and strong obliques in particular is. When you talk about rotational power and creating that stretch across your torso many coaches refer to as the “X factor,” they’re talking in large part about your ability to relax and contract your obliques through the golf swing. The stronger your obliques are, the less likely you will be to get injured and the better able you will be to rotate powerfully through your swing.
5. Strength and mobility go together
Having strength without mobility is no good for your swing. If you can lift 1,000 pounds but can’t get your body in a position to swing a golf club, all of that strength means nothing. This personal-trainer approved gym routine will help you build strength and mobility, ensuring you get the most out of your body and golf swing.
6. Treat your lower back right
As mentioned, mobility is imperative to a good golf swing. Given that most of us sit at a desk or on a couch upwards of 40 hours a week, it’s important to treat our bodies right. This doctor-approved stretch went viral on Tik Tok and is one of our most-read fitness pieces of the year for good reason. It’s a super simple way to loosen up your lower back and help you swing a club pain free.
7. It’s all in the hips
Your hips are one of the biggest power generators in your golf swing. That means you need to take care of them and keep them mobile if you hope to impress your buddies off the tee. Luckily, it only takes about ten minutes a day to loosen up your hips for a more fluid swing.
8. Stretch your way to a better swing
Flexibility is also incredibly important to the golf swing. You wouldn’t be able to contort your body into the correct positions without it. In order to keep your game tight, you’ve got to loosen up and this routine is all you need.
9. Unleash the beast
Flexibility is no good if your muscles are still tight. To take full advantage of your mobility and flexibility work, you need to release the fascia, a thin sheath of connective tissue covering your muscles. It might sound daunting, but all you need is a lacrosse ball and this routine to get your body right.
10. Mobility, mobility, mobility
Everyone could benefit from a good mobility routine, especially golfers. If you’re not sure where to start, try this personal trainer-approved routine.
11. Listen to your body
Soreness is part of playing golf, but pain is not. Making sure you listen to your body and understand the difference between soreness and pain caused by injury will keep you on the course playing the game you love for a lifetime.
12. Stay hydrated
Whether you’re working out or playing a round, staying hydrated will help you stay healthy. Unsure how much water you need to drink to achieve optimal hydration? This guide can help.
13. Speaking of hydration…
If you’re like me and struggle to guzzle enough water every day to keep your body going, these tips can help. So can starting your day off with one or two glasses of water.
14. Eat more snacks
If you’re not drinking enough fluids on the course, you’re probably not eating enough either. Take one Tiger Woods’ advice and eat something every four to five holes, every two to three holes if it’s cold outside. You burn a lot more calories during a round than you think, so fuel up properly.
15. Speaking of snacks…
Unsure of what to eat on the course? Well these Tour pros have a few suggestions, including almonds, jerky, and peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Just make sure your snack has carbs, fat and protein to help you make it through the round without getting too hangry.
16. Drinking on the course
If you insist on drinking the night before or during a round, make sure you do it the right way. Clear alcohols are best for avoiding the dreaded hangover. Adjusting your sleep schedule before and after a big night out combined with proper hydration can also help you pound more drives instead of feeling the pounding in your head.
17. Make time for a warm up
Rolling up to the 1st tee and spending all of two minutes cracking your back and stretching will not help you shoot better scores. However, a proper warm up will. Getting your body prepped and ready for 18 is more important than you think, so much so that Tour pros often spend 30-60 minutes warming up before they even hit the range.
18. A little yoga never hurt
You might not think yoga can help your game, but boy are you wrong! Yoga requires the same level of core strength and flexibility needed for the golf swing. Try this seven-minute yoga routine from Amanda Balionis, and then tell us we’re wrong.
19. Your workouts don’t have to last forever
Nobody has hours to spend in the gym, not even Joel Dahmen. Luckily, you can get in a quality workout in just ten minutes using his recommended workout routine.
20. You don’t need a gym membership to get in shape
Joining a gym is not required to get in shape. Try this simple workout routine to get your body in golf shape from the comfort of your own home — no equipment required!