Before Your Next Golf Round, Incorporate Cardio in Three New Ways
By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Cardiovascular conditioning — or cardio, for short — is one area that is not often talked about enough in regards to golf fitness.
However, that doesn’t make it any less important.
As a youth golf coach, I find cardio to be particularly important, especially for golfers who are transitioning to walking in tournaments or going from playing 9 holes to 18 holes. For some juniors, that is even stretched out more, going from a one day, 18-hole event to two or three day 36- and 54-hole events.
In looking to the experts to touch on this subject, I reached out to David Donatucci, the General Manager of Arise Center for Athletic Development in Jupiter, Florida, who is a nationally recognized speaker in the field of strength and conditioning. He has made several appearances on Golf Channel, been featured in Golf Digest, GOLF magazine, PGA Magazine, and discussed the topic on ESPN Radio and SiriusXM.
In talking with David, I wanted to first know what exactly cardiovascular conditioning is, and how it relates to golf.
“Cardiovascular conditioning, by definition, is a continuous exercise or activity for longer than five minutes, like riding a bike or walking for 10 minutes,” says Donatucci. “In golf, this rarely applies because it’s a power sport, and the duration of the swing is around one second. Yes, you are walking to your next shot throughout a round, but this is still primarily a short duration of less than one minute.”
“The misconception is that golf is a long-duration activity. The duration of the game may be three to four hours, but the actual activity is more short-burst.”
So what are some good ways to train for better endurance during those “short-burst” moments in a round? Donatucci has three ideas:
- Walk and play 9-18 holes, if able. “This is classified as specificity of training,” says Donatucci. “If you want to improve your 100 yard dash time, what’d you do? You practice running the 100-yard dash.” Same thing goes for golf, and by walking your round, you’re establishing a good foundational endurance.
- Move between exercises in the gym. Adds Donatucci: “Try doing a move or exercise for 10 reps, then walk/move for 15-30 seconds. Repeat six times.” Incorporating some light cardio work on gym days keeps your heart rate up and increases your calorie burn, as well.
- Try some cardio on the range. Replicating playing a course on the range can be a good way to get some cardio work in, too. “Plan out a 9- or 18-hole course, hit your tee shot, walk the length of the range and back, then hit your second shot, walk 1/2 the distance of the range and continue until you putt out,” says Donatucci. “Then repeat, play the next hole, and so on.”
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