After shedding a few unwanted pounds, Phil Mickelson went on to shed the title of the best golfer in the world not to have won a major when he captured the 2004 Masters. But after a few years, Mickelson, who readily admits he regularly indulged in fried food and let his fitness regimen slide, recommitted himself to fitness and a healthier diet, resulting in a lighter, healthier, happier Phil with the start of the 2007 golf season.
At the end of the 2006 season, I know he was quoted as saying that he got away from his golf fitness training to a degree during the year, and that may have affected his play as the year progressed, says Sean Cochran, Mickelsons fitness trainer.
The world's No. 2 player returned to action 20 pounds lighter with the help of Cochran, who devised a specific program for Mickelson to help him increase flexibility, balance, muscular strength and power for more clubhead speed, and to combat fatigue. 'Once the younger players started to come on Tour, Phil realized that he had to start working out to maintain longevity in his career,' Cochran explains.
Mickelsons fitness regime is based on a periodization system in which Cochran divides the year into three different training stages. We have an off-season program where the intensity and volume of his training is high, a pre-season program where the volume and intensity is moderate, and an in-season program where the volume is low and intensity moderate, explains Cochran.
Mickelsons commitment to fitness helps him increase flexibility for greater range of motion in the golf swing, strengthen the lower body and core to help maintain proper posture and swing positions, and increase power for more distance.
Along with exercise, Mickelson changed his diet, which helped speed up his metabolism, resulting in weight loss. Mickelson now eats four to five small meals of protein and vegetables during the day, and has cut out junk food.
During the off-season, a typical week of training will consist of four to five days of aerobic conditioning for 30 to 45 minutes, and a one-hour strength training session.
Here are a few simple golf-fitness training exercises recommended by Cochran to help you with your golf fitness training:
Begin by placing feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended overhead, hands clasped together, and eyes looking forward. Slowly extend the hands toward the top of your feet. Extend downward to a level where a stretch is felt in either your hamstrings or lower back.
Pause for one second and return to the starting position of the exercise. Rotate your torso, shoulders, arms and head to the right. Extend your hands downward to the outside of the right foot. Pause for one second and return to the starting position of the exercise. Repeat the same exercise sequence to your left. Perform 10-15 repetitions.
Physio-Ball Russian Twist
Place your head and shoulders on top of the ball. Elevate the hips to a position horizontally in line with your knees and shoulders. Place your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor, extend the arms straight, and clasp your hands together.
Begin rotating to the left, allowing the ball to roll underneath your shoulders. Allow the eyes to follow your hands during the rotation. Continue to rotate to the left to a position at which your left upper arm is resting on top of the ball. Return to the starting position and repeat the rotation to your right. Alternate the rotation left and right for 15-20 repetitions.
Single Leg Airplane Rotation
Place feet together, bend at the hips so the back is flat and chest is parallel to the floor. Extend your arms straight out from the shoulders. Lift the right foot off the floor and balance on your left foot. Keep the right foot off the floor the entire exercise.
Begin the exercise by rotating your left arm downward toward the left foot. Simultaneously rotate the right arm upward. Create the rotation in the torso of your body. Continue to rotate to a position where the left hand is directly above your left foot, and the right hand is pointing up. Return to the starting position of the exercise and repeat for 10-15 repetitions. Repeat the exercise sequence, balancing on your right foot.
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