Weight Training for Women's Golf - As editor of golfgurls.com, I asked my golf fitness guru, Kathy Ekdahl to check out this book. Result: High praise from one fitness trainer to another. Highly recommended.
Golf fitness was just a mere twinkle in the eyes of fitness trainers until Tiger Woods came along. His work ethic and golf specific fitness training helped propel him to the top of the golf world, and helped to create the golf fitness industry as we know it today. Annika Sorenstam was equally responsible for promoting fitness for golf, so it is appropriate that Annika's trainer, Kai Fusser, wrote this detailed golf fitness guide, Weight Training for Women's Golf- The Ultimate Guide. Having just finished writing my own golf fitness ebook, this was a great opportunity for me to read what the experts working with professional golfers say about golf fitness.
Weight Training for Women's Golf is truly an exercise encyclopedia. Kai Fusser covers the basics of exercise science in a very general format so that the golfer first gains an understanding of the basic principles which they need to apply to their workouts. As a trainer, this information is too basic for me, and I wonder if it may be too basic for some readers as well? I guess it all depends on the readers exercise experience. However, Kai gives a lot of great information that is always good to review. This portion of the book takes 86 pages to discuss, so it does comprise almost half the books content.
The main area of interest for me, and I would assume the average golfer, is the exercises themselves. Here, Kai incorporates many of the latest techniques in strength and conditioning that I use with my clients. However, one area of controversy is in how he teaches proper abdominal work. Kai teaches the golfer to "draw in" the abs, also called hollowing. Many trainers feel this technique does not engage the entire core and thus, they will teach another technique called "bracing". This is getting picky- but it is an important distinction when it comes to back health. I also have some issues with the over emphasis on shoulder and arm training. While I understand that women need strengthening of the arms and shoulders, most women I see already OVER train these areas and neglect more important areas like the chest mid back, hips and legs. Readers need to realize that the arms and shoulders get significant work in exercises that work the chest and back as well.
Kai suggests a 4 or 5 day split routine throughout the off season, and this is something that has been proven to be less effective than whole body training or upper and lower body split training. Women need to train every body part 2-3x/week, as we lose muscle strength more rapidly than men. This is why splitting up the body through the week is not necessarily recommended anymore. But, aside from this and a few other exercises which I may not necessarily be fond of, Kai does a great job of skillfully explaining all the exercises, including power and strength exercises, myofascial release work, medicine ball exercises and swing fault exercises.
The scope of this book does not allow for individual programming, so the reader needs to be cautious when choosing the appropriate exercises for their fitness level. Many of the golfers I see have specific areas of weakness, and these areas need to be addressed first, getting them up to speed, before trying some of the more advanced exercises in this book. Without addressing the weaknesses, injuries could occur. But we risk that with any exercise instruction book. It would make sense for the readers to hire a professional trainer to review proper form and technique to compliment what they learn from this excellent book.
I highly recommend this book for any golfer who is serious about getting healthy and improving their golf game.
Kathy Ekdahl, CSCS, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, is the owner of Personal Best Personal Training in Hudson, Massachusetts. She is a former health club owner and has been teaching Yoga since 1997. Kathy is also a TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor and is the Staff Personal Trainer at The International Golf Club, Bolton, MA.