Why the Masters requires special training and preparation
It’s the time of the year we’ve all been waiting for, Masters time! The world’s best players will drive down Magnolia Lane as they head to Augusta National to put the final touches on their game for this year’s Masters.
Behind the scenes, there will be a lot of hard work being put into physical preparation for this event by the players and their teams.
As a strength and conditioning coach, it is my job to ensure my players are physically prepared to perform at their best for any given challenge, and so it is important that we have a good understanding of the conditions the player is likely to face.
Things to consider include:
Major championships are always a gruelling test. There is more pressure to perform, which means the weeks are much more taxing than a regular tour event. Preparation starts early, rounds are long and slow and the focus required results in a high level of physical and mental fatigue come the back nine on Sunday.
Augusta National has its own unique set of challenges in addition to the usual challenges that come with a Major championship. Augusta is extremely hilly, which means uneven lies and the need to have a strong and stable lower-body. The severe undulation means the walk is more physical than most, which requires a good level of muscular endurance in the legs to maintain a high level of performance all week.
Here are a couple of exercises that will help you build lower-body stability, strength and stamina just like the players will be doing leading in to the Masters.
Perform these exercises with 12-15 repetitions and repeat each exercise twice. As always, consult your medical practitioner before participating in any form of exercise.
Equipment: Mini Band or Thera Band
- Place the band around both legs at your ankles.
- Start in golf posture with your arms folded and feet shoulder-width apart.
- Walk laterally maintaining your golf posture, ensuring there is always tension on the band.
Pro tip: To get the most out of your crab walks, apply more pressure to the ground by stomping your feet while you move.
Repeat twice, 12 to 15 steps laterally each way.
Equipment: Golf club, dowel rod, mobility bar
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold your bar with your hands slightly outside hip width.
- Bend your knees slightly and stick your backside out as far as you can as you let your arms reach towards the ground.
- Keeping the bar close to your legs, slowly lower the bar towards the ground, ensuring your back is straight and your neck is neutral to your spine.
- Once you begin to feel the stretch in your hamstrings, return to the start position, fully extending your hips and squeezing your glutes.
Pro tip: As you become more comfortable with this movement, try to gradually increase the depth of your hinge but always ensure your back stays straight.
Repeat twice, 12 to 15 repetitions.
Lunge with rotation
Equipment: Medicine Ball (light weight)
- Standing upright with feet hip-width together, hold your medicine ball close to your torso with your elbows bent at 90 degrees.
- Take a step forward far enough to raise your back heel off the ground.
- With your weight on your front foot, lower your back knee three-quarters of the way to the ground with control. Do not let your front knee go past your shoelaces.
- Holding this position, rotate your torso to the same side as your front leg then return back to your centre.
- Drive up from your front heel into full extension returning back to the start position.
- Repeat the movement on the other leg.
Pro tip: To increase the intensity of the exercise, perform the downward phase of the movement as slowly as possible.
Repeat twice, six repetitions per leg.
*With nearly 20 years’ experience as a player, Oliver Yourn’s interests now lie in helping other golfers achieve their goals through specialist golf fitness programs and training. As a strength and conditioning coach, he has worked with Asian Tour and tier 1 Australasian Tour professionals. See FitGolf.com.au for more.