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Fitness 'Fore' Golfers

Posted by Alexa Pozniak  March 17, 2013 11:46 PM

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Regular workouts keep me in decent shape. But I’m always looking for ways to get faster, stronger, and more flexible. There are a myriad of options out there, which can be overwhelming for beginners and seasoned athletes alike. I’ll play the role of guinea pig and review some of the new and unusual exercise classes being offered around the region, with the hope you’ll find one that appeals to you and gets you moving. If you would like to suggest a workout for me to try, tweet me @apoztv.


It’s a game of ups and downs, frustration and elation. But this roller-coaster of emotions doesn’t stop many of us from counting down the days until golf season begins. With spring right around the corner, it’s almost time to get back into the swing of things. But after a long off-season, picking up those clubs again can lead to pain…both physically and mentally, depending on how you play.

Mass General’s Sports Performance Center in Foxborough claims to have just the right prescription. Their golf program aims to fine-tune your swing and better condition your body in order to become a better player.

The first step is to undergo a total body fitness assessment by a physical therapist whose specialty is golf. He measured my strength, posture, balance, and range of motion, focusing primarily on the hips, shoulders, back, and core…all crucial components to any golf swing. This provided him with a baseline of where I’m at, physically.

Next, I was outfitted with sixty digital markers that were placed strategically all over my body. I’m certain I looked funny…but I felt like a character out of an action film. Then I was led over to a golf simulator, which was surrounded by nearly two-dozen infrared motion cameras. They work to produce a 3D biomechanical analysis, capturing precise measurements of motion as I hit golf balls. With all “eyes” on me, I completely missed the ball on my first two swing attempts. Talk about performance anxiety.

The result was a wealth of data about each and every aspect of my swing. The video revealed stressors and pressures on various parts of my body that I wasn’t aware of. In general, it can identify weaknesses, instabilities, or quite simply, bad form, which can potentially lead to injury…and just plain aggravation on the golf course.

The next step is to take this information and translate it into a conditioning program. You can opt for an individualized training regimen or enroll in what’s called “C-School.” This 12-week program incorporates exercises that focus on strength, flexibility, power, and balance. The goal is to prevent injury and improve your game. I consider myself to be in pretty decent shape, but some of the exercises we were doing definitely targeted those smaller muscles that maybe don’t get as much attention as they should.

At the beginning of the season, I typically hit bucket after bucket of balls at the driving range. If my swing fails to improve, I vow never to play again. That declaration lasts for about a week before I’m back out there. It’s a vicious cycle. I am confident that the 3-D analysis and conditioning program could dramatically improve my game. It’s also available for runners and baseball players. But the drawback to all of this is the price tag. It is relatively expensive. But if you can swing it, then this approach, which could potentially make the game less frustrating and more fun, just may be worth its weight in gold. Fore!

Mass General Sports Performance Center, www.massgeneralsportsperformance.org, “C-School,” 4-week session $320, Premium 3D detailed biomechanical analysis and fitness screen, $545

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.

CONTRIBUTORS

Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at Boston.com. She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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