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As the weather turns colder many avid golfers are faced with the fact that Mother Nature does not allow them to maintain their golf games year round. All of the long hours and hard work at the golf course seems to come to a halt until the ground thaws. The good news is there are many things that a golfer can do during this downtime to keep their games conditioned and sharp.
 
For women especially, it becomes easy to lose distance and club head speed during these winter months. I dont want to just single out players that live in northern climates, with the shortened day light hours, it is a great idea for those who live in warmer climates to also use this extra time to better condition their bodies. Golf stores carry all sorts of devices to keep your feel alive. With instructional tools such as swing trainers, hitting nets and putting aids, winter can be the most opportune time to take full advantage and fire up your conditioning.
 
In developing your routine, it is not only important to build muscle and/or strength, keep joints healthy and keep the body flexible, but to also maintain movement patterns conducive to the golf swing. This not only trains muscles that are utilized within the golf swing but also improves your muscle memory. Outside of flexibility issues, many swing faults can be improved through motions that specifically address the problem. It is like teaching or retraining the body through repetitive corrective exercises.
 
How often should swing specific exercises be performed, and how much of those types of exercises should be incorporated within ones workout routine? I use a percentage formula of golf specific exercises with my clients depending on what part of the season it is. But for the avid golfer looking to maintain positive swing habits, these types of exercises can and should be performed daily. The equipment is minimal and these exercises can be done at home. A medicine ball ranging from 4lb-12lb. and band tubing with handles (either red, blue, orange or black). Weight and resistance depends on the strength of the individual. A golf club also can be used.
 
The following are some drills that can be easily performed at home or the gym. They will instill proper muscle memory during the off-season and guarantee that once the course is green, your positive swing habits will not have been forgotten and you will start the season where you left off, moving forwards, not backwards.
 
Standing medicine ball throw
 
Take a position identical to your golf stance, practice throwing the medicine ball rotationally into a solid wall or to a partner. Do sets of 20 repetitions to each side (yes, left handed also); perform three sets increasing the distance between you and the intended object with each set.
 

 
Standing one leg rotation
 
Practice balancing on one leg at a time with this exercise. Shift your weight to one foot, lifting the other behind you. Place a golf club horizontally across your shoulders. Take your golf stance and rotate back and through the upper body golf rotation. Perform 20 full rotations on each leg. Repeat for three sets.
 
Theraband downswing
 
Attach a theraband (some models come with a doorjamb attachment, if not create a knot within the middle) to the upper portion of a door and then close it securing the band. The band should be approximately the height of the top of your golf swing. Take your golf stance and use the resistance of the band to feel the muscles used in the downward portion of the swing. Stop motion at the impact area. When performed in front of a mirror, the aspect of arm and hip motion can be a great visual tool that will also become ingrained within the body.
 

 
Andrea Dodatto is an A.C.E. Certified,C.H.E.K. Golf Biomechanic, and Golf Pilates Specialist. She has been featured on ESPN and the Golf Channel and is a personal trainer to many PGA, LPGA and Futures Tour players and is a GFM Advisory Team Member. To learn more about Andrea, log onto the Golf Fitness Magazine website.
 
EDITORS NOTE: Golf Fitness Magazine is the only national consumer publication dedicated to golf-specific fitness, mental focus, and improving ability, performance and health among all golfers. Our priority is to maximize your potential, lower your scores, reduce your risk of injury, and extend your golfing years. Each issue has departments dedicated to men, women, seniors, and juniors along with tips, advice and simple exercise routines from GFMs team of experts. If you want to improve your golf game, and hit the ball farther, click here for special offers on a subscription so you can have all this and more in-depth advice delivered right to you! Get cutting edge fitness & mental tips sent to your inbox each month with our FREE golf performance eNewsletter, Shape Your Game. To contact our Senior Editor, Publisher or Online Editor with questions or comments, please visit our web site golffitnessmagazine.com for more information.