THE main difference between a casual golfer and a senior golfer, from a lifestyle point of view, is that the latter normally has a lot more time to play and practice, which is definitely a positive.
A potential negative is that it allows them more time to repeat and ingrain poor movements that are less than ideal.
When combined with the following physical limitations that normally affect seniors it can mean that a senior golfer’s game can actually go into decline despite having all that time to practice.
Reduction in mobility: Joints become stiffer and muscles shorter
Muscle Atrophy: Less testosterone in the body leads to a wasting of muscle tissue
Reduction in bone density: Bone diseases such as osteopenia and osteoporosis lead to increased fragility in the skeletal system.
So what do we prescribe in order to help with these typical conditions?
Reduction in Mobility: A combination of spiky ball drills and dynamic stretching often targeting the following muscles: pectorals, hip flexors, glutes and erector spinae.
What I call soft stretching activities such as yoga can be extremely beneficial for senior golfers too.
Here is a mini program for gently increasing hip mobility:
Muscle Atrophy and Bone Density Reduction: These two issues can both be targeted with the same approach – that of lifting weights.
Contrary to popular belief, strength training is neither dangerous nor detrimental for people of advancing age. Strength training in senior citizens has been proven to actually stimulate bone re-growth and significantly reduce the rate of muscular atrophy or wastage.
The best type is closed chain, load-bearing exercises such as squats, lunges and push-ups. However when injury or lack of mobility restricts the participant from making big movements then open chain, seated exercises such as seated row, chest and shoulder press and leg press will also help.
Poor Movement Patterns: What about those swing faults that just seem to be so deeply ingrained that there is no hope of changing?
Well to begin with, increased strength and mobility will make it easier to get the body and the club head into a new position. To help break down old movement patterns and learn new ones we prescribe activation and movement drills that “switch on” the correct muscles and mimic the movement that we want them to make in the golf swing.
This is generally done using the Ramsay Posture Belt amongst other posture and movement training aids.
Here’s a basic set of exercises than helps to promote better posture and begin the journey towards more dynamic rotation:
We also encourage the player to hit a few less balls and do more drills, thereby practicing less of the old movement and more of the new.
A 5-1 ball to drill ratio is recommended, forcing the player to stop after 5 shots and practice the new movement pattern, in context, right there on the practice fairway.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nick Randall is a qualified Strength and Conditioning Coach, Presenter, Rehab Expert and Therapist.
Nick works with a number of professionals on multiple tours and is also contracted by Golf Australia and Golf Queensland to work with their elite amateur players.
Nick also works on an individual and group basis with club level golfers of all ages and abilities.
Based in Brisbane, Queensland, Nick trains and treats golfers at his private facility in the suburb of Milton.
He also has a range of online services including the world leading golf fitness app "Golf Fit Pro". Click here for more info.
Nick's passion for golf started at age 13 and quickly developed into a complete obsession that only seems to be getting stronger with age.
He began his strong interest in fitness aged 20, pursued the relevant qualifications, decided to mix his two passions to form a career in 2010 and hasn't looked back!
To keep up to date with Nick's social media activity, click here.
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