For the first Nextgengolf fitness post, who better to start with than the man who revolutionized modern fitness in the golf industry: Tiger Woods. Tiger's fitness evolution is extraordinary not only because of the the influence it has had in changing the way the majority of professional and college golfers now hit the gym, but also because Tiger is not naturally cut or big as we all remember from his Amateur days at Stanford.
So for those of you who think that making big gains in the gym is impossible, it's not unlikely that you are stronger than Tiger was before he changed his body and the golf industry in doing so. In preparation for the upcoming season, here are some fitness tips.
Want to be Cut or Bulky?
Having a plan of what you want to achieve in the gym is paramount for long-term success. So knowing whether you want smaller, more defined and "cut" muscles--which is certainly better for golf I may add--or more the more bulky muscles you would see on a football player, will help you define (as always, pun intended) your own strategy. In a previous Men's Fitness Article, Tiger exposed some of his secrets and part of his program features including a focus on higher reps (often 25-50 per set) using low weight for someone of his strength to purely build mass. If you are trying to really bulk up, 3-9 rep sets with heavier "max out" weight capacity should be your focus. It's important to note, however, that Tiger is already pretty big (borderline bulky for a golfer) at this point and adding any more size might actually become restrictive to his swing in preventing flexibility and turning so it makes sense that he would focus on high reps at this point in his fitness evolution.
What Muscle Groups Does Tiger Focus On?
The entire body, but in his own words:
- Legs - "the platform for everything"
- Back and Shoulders - "Because we're always hunched over and we need our back muscles to support our posture and our swing"
- Chest - "Yes [I bench-press], but I don't like it. I do it to change it up, to shock the muscles. I just do it to get that muscle group stronger. I'll hit 'em from different angles with different types of machines or free weights. I do different things so the muscles don't get accustomed to doing the same thing all the time."
Doing exactly what the pro's do is not always best for amateurs (think about Bridgestone's Golf Ball Marketing Campagins - "Tour performance for Amateur swing speeds" as they say). So while rather than cranking out 50 rep sets like Tiger (that is, unless you're already so jacked that any more bench presses will just making you lose distance off the tee at this point), here are some action plans to get you started:
- Develop your own plan and fitness goals for the summer - If you want to look good on the beach, than hitting the bench press and doing hammer bicep curls may be the trick. If you want to add 15 yards off the tee, consider strengthening your core, back, and leg muscle groups.
- 12 reps per set - this supports nice medium between building size and definition
- Only wait ~30 seconds between sets
- Go for a "circuit workout" - do a set of 12 pull ups, wait 30 seconds, and then do a set of 12 squats. The concept of a circuit workout is to alternate between muscle groups to get a cardio workout while you are building muscle. If you push yourself on 12 rep sets in a circuit workout fashion, you'll get a sweat going and burn fat (which will help you get cut and defined) while also adding some size.