Phil Mickelson Wins British Open – Is it His Workout Regimen?

I’ve been a Phil Mickelson fan since college because my roommate was  a HUGE Phil fan and he got me on board.  This was during the time Tiger Woods hit the scene and started cleaning up.  My roommate wasn’t too pleased because while Phil still did well, the spotlight and lion’s share of tournament wins went to Tiger.

Tiger’s inclusion of working out as part of his overall training is well known.  Tiger is lean, flexible and powerful.  Match that to his skill and the results are … well we know the results.

Once Tiger hit the scene, many other pros were forced to step up fitness-wise or opt for quitting the tour and cutting ribbons for new golf courses.  Phil Mickelson faced this issue and he stepped up big time.

Phil MickelsonWhile Phil doesn’t have the most athletic build on the planet, it’s undeniable that his working out over the last several years has helped his game and garnered him big victories.  Most recently the Masters in 2010, the Open Championship and now the British Open in 2013 (awesome).

His recent big wins are more notable given his diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis which I learned about from his commercial in which he endorses Enbrel, a drug to treat his condition.

 What are Phil’s workouts?

His work outs are designed by a personal trainer to improve his golf swing and endurance (it’s not easy walking that much week-in and week-out … often in brutal heat).

Phil’s workouts focus on improving his twisting motion which includes improving flexibility and strengthening his core.

In addition to specific exercises designed to improve his golf swing, he does aerobic activity daily.[1]

What about weight training?

According to his trainer, Phil doesn’t do weight training because it’s too isolating.  Instead, he performs strength/endurance exercises that work multiple muscles at the same time such as medicine balls, physio balls, resistance bands.

What about specific workout regimen?

Phil isn’t going to spill the beans about what he does day-in-and-day-out as his fitness regimen.  I mean this guy is a golfing phenom and still killing it at age 43.

The gist of his workout regimen is as follows:

  • Strengthen core (pretty much a must-do for any athlete).
  • Improve rotation speed and injury prevention:  makes sense for a golfer.  
  • Multi-muscle endurance/resistance training using medicine balls and resistance bands.  While I’m not really into resistance bands, I can understand why they’re perfect for golfers because of the wide range of exercises you can do with them and the constant tension they provide.
  • Cardio:  It might seem easy to walk a golf course, but it gets taxing day-in-and-day-out, especially when it’s hot.

Phil Mickelson’s workout vs. Tiger Woods’ workout

Their objectives are similar of course, but interestingly, Tiger incorporates weight-training using very high reps (25 to 50 reps) for muscle endurance instead of size.  He also does isometric training.[2]

Are supersets good for golfers?

This website focuses a lot on supersets because I do them a lot and love them.  Supersets, put together in a creative manner could be a good workout option for golfers because they improve endurance, strength and flexibility at the same time.  I cover a wide variety of superset formats in my book that you can get on the right of this website.

In my view, a good superset approach would be pairing endurance, flexibility and rotational training exercises together to create a comprehensive workout.  The workouts could definitely vary from day-to-day … basically putting together a week-long regimen.

Is P90X type of workouts good for golfers?

I’m singling out P90X because (a) I’ve done it, (b) it’s decent (c) it’s hugely popular and you’ve likely heard of it (especially if you watch late-night TV and got roped into watching an infomercial) and (d) in my view, it’s a decent workout program for golfers (but not perfect).

I’ve done P90X.  I liked it for the most part and burned off some fat.  If you’re a golfer, is this workout, probably the most popular workout program on the planet, good for golfers?

Yes, it’s quite good if you aren’t going to hire a personal trainer who has extensive experience training golfers.

P90X is not designed to build huge muscle mass.  Instead, it’s a “lean machine” program that really does improve core (ab ripper workout is good), flexibility (via yoga and stretching), strength endurance (via resistance bands and high reps) and cardio

That said, both Phil and Tiger do multi-muscle exercises with medicine ball training, which is not included in P90X.  All strength training with P90X is done with resistance bands.  Moreover, the resistance band exercises target specific muscles.  For example, when training biceps, the program does bicep curls with the bands.

Also, P90X is NOT a golf-training specific program.  There isn’t any rotational exercises specifically.  Instead, it’s a full body workout program that will get you more fit.

On the plus side, the plyometrics (one of my favorite DVDs) is a great cardio, endurance, lower body power and explosion, and athletic performance training video.  The first time I did plyometrics, I felt like an idiot.  I was clumsy … but after doing it several times, I really did improve my cat-like abilities and even looked pretty cool doing the various hopping exercises.

While I haven’t tried every workout on the planet, I believe P90X would be a decent program for anyone looking to improve

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[1]  Tim McDonald.  Mickelson’s trainer: Hard work pays off with PGA victory.

[2]  Workout Regimen.