The most revolutionary advance in athletic training methods in recent years has been the increased use of isometric exercises that build up specific muscles by exerting them against an immovable object. One of the country's foremost authorities on the application of isometric principles to athletics is Jay A. Bender, head of the laboratory of applied physiology at Southern Illinois University (Oct. 30, 1961). Here he and Edward Shea, chairman of men's physical education at the university, present a unique combination of isometric and movement exercises designed especially to improve the condition of the muscles most used—and most likely to be strained—by golfers. It is not necessary to do all of these. Each corrects a specific weakness; the golfer can choose the ones he feels are the most important in his individual case.
FOR THE WRISTS AND FOREARMS
Rest both arms across the corner of a table. Cock the right wrist downward as far as possible. Place the left hand over the right palm, holding it firm. Then push up with the right hand for a count of six. Relax one second. Repeat twice more. Do the same exercise for the left wrist.
Bend the right wrist upward as far as possible. With the left hand gripping the right palm, push down with the right hand. Relax one second. Repeat twice, then reverse hands. In the first exercise tension must be felt on the thumb side of forearm; in the second, on the little finger side.
Hold an iron in the right hand. Grasp the right wrist with the left hand, immobilizing the forearm. Keeping the right elbow straight, slowly raise the club high behind the back, then slowly lower it to the floor. Repeat 10 times, then use the left wrist. The tension should be felt in the forearm and wrist, as indicated by the red area. Now hold the club in the right hand, using a standard golf grip (not shown). Grasp the wrist with the left hand. Slowly raise the club forward as high as possible, then lower it. Repeat 10 times and then do the same with the left hand.
FOR THE ARMS AND THE SHOULDERS
To strengthen the mid-shoulder area, that part of the body used as a stabilizer for the arms during the swing, sit on a stool placed flush against a wall, back touching the wall, feet planted firmly on the floor. Squeeze the shoulder blades firmly together. Then, with the arms straight, press the palms hard against the wall for a count of six. Relax for one second and repeat twice more. Now move the stool six inches from the wall. Contract the shoulder blades, press palms against the wall and repeat as before.
This mid-shoulder muscle exercise is designed to prevent the soreness that sometimes develops in that area after a game. Stand with the arms outstretched at shoulder height in front of the body, palms in. With shoulder blades drawn tightly together, slowly move the arms backward, keeping them parallel to the floor. After the arms have been brought back as far as possible, slowly return them to the original position. The shoulder blades remain contracted throughout. Repeat the exercise ten times.
This series of exercises will strengthen the left arm for the right-handed golfer and also make it easier to keep that arm straight during the backswing and downswing. Standing with the back tightly against a wall, raise the left arm up across the body past shoulder height, as shown in the drawing at left. The elbow is straight, the palm faces backward, the fingers are extended. The left wrist is grasped by the right hand, thumb up. The left arm is now pressed downward as hard as possible, with the left elbow remaining straight, while the right arm furnishes firm resistance. Tension should be felt in the under part of the upper left arm and in the little finger side of the left forearm. Hold the position for six seconds. After one second of relaxation, repeat twice more. Now strong tension should be felt in the area marked in red. The left arm is then dropped about eight inches and the same procedure is followed. The arm is dropped another eight inches, then a final eight inches. After completing this series, the left arm should be swung in an easy arc to relax the muscles.
FOR THE TRUNK AND THE LOWER BACK