Ready, set…

Personal trainer and fitness columnist Shawn O’Neil on taking your training gains into the new season

Having used the winter months effectively and trained your body to improve your golf, let’s look at how we make the most of this on the course in the months ahead.

Done in a structured way, your training will have delivered improvements to your mobility and strength and/or reduced physical limitations to allow you to play and practise more. You may have also been able to increase your speed and will have the chance to drive the ball further and hit less club into the greens.

The worst thing you can do now is take a break and plan to pick your training back up next winter. Research has shown how good the human body is at going into reverse – and you need to continue to use and challenge your new mobility and strength to avoid losing it. Without continuing the good work you’ve done, you’ll reap the benefits for the first few weeks of the season but will find yourself back where you started by about mid-June.

Here are three simple ways to get the most out of the season…

First, plan where and when you can fit in training. Making this part of your routine, fitting it around the bulk of your golf time on the course and practice ground, is the key to maintaining your progress. Small windows before work or at lunchtime – even just 15 or 20 minutes – are good opportunities to do this, but every person will have their own way to fit this into their schedule. Work out when the best time to train is for you as well, as you don’t want to be sore from a Friday session when you’re standing on the first tee on Saturday.

Second, remember you can maintain on a lot less volume than is required to gain, which means preventing going backwards requires much less time and effort than continuing to move forward. This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t progress during the season, but the priority is not to lose your hard won progress.

Finally, when we’re practising and playing more often, we do lots of rotating, so beyond maintaining our range of motion in the hips and thoracic spine, we can reduce our rotational exercises and focus on these more in the off-season. Instead, spend your limited training time where get bang your buck – strength, power and posture.

Enjoy the season, and keep working hard between your rounds – the scoring benefits will come.