It’s been a while since I’ve posted an article in this series. I thought it was about time to get another one up.
If I had to pick the athlete that I’d most like to have the traits of, it would be a gymnast. Gymnasts are extraordinarily strong, but they balance that with explosive speed and incredible flexibility. That combination is a huge advantage in disc golf. Their strength gives them precise control over their movements, their flexibility allows them to position their body to exert power, and their speed and quickness would work perfectly to impart that power onto a disc.
I also admire gymnasts because they train for functional strength. They train to move their body through space with grace and ease. They do not train to move inert weight through space in an effort to get “swole up” as the kids these days say. I train to get better at disc golf and to stay healthy. The training that gymnasts do is perfect for both.
I’m not saying we should all expand the space in our disc golf home gym and put in a pommel horse. I’m also not saying that tumbling runs are in your near future. There are no triple flip dismounts from the high bar in my recommendations. I am, however, going to recommend a piece of gymnastic equipment as one of the favorite things I’ve ever started working out on. The rings.
Suspension training has become very popular as of late. The TRX suspension system is probably the most widely used. It’s also the most versatile. As cool as the TRX system is (and I would never try to talk you out of it), I still went with traditional gymnast rings. There is something analog about them. They just seem simpler and simple has been an increasing focus in my life for the last couple of years. Both will work. You could even use this rope system very effectively too.
In my last post in this series, I spent some time talking about body weight training. Rings/suspension training is one of the best ways to supplement your body weight workout. They don’t take up much room at all, they fit in your disc golf home gym, and there are a ton of benefits. Here’s a short list of the benefits of adding ring workouts to your disc golf training:
1. They are easy on your joints and help to prevent injury. Doing exercises on the rings allows your joints to move freely through their preferred range of motion. You are not restricted a static hand planted on the floor, grasping a pull up bar, or holding on to a dip station. My shoulders, wrists, and elbows feel infinitely better and less sore when using rings over static implements. Keeping these joints healthy is huge when it comes to successful disc golf.
2. They are versatile. While I’d still recommend a sandbag and a jump rope as part of your gym, if I could only have one implement in my gym, rings would be a serious contender. Moving your body with complete control is important in disc golf. Rings directly train that. You can do a huge variety of training with them and can get a complete full body workout using just your body weight and a suspension system.
3. They incorporate all of the little stabilizer muscles involved in each movement. Push ups, pull ups, dips, and all other ring exercises make use of all of the muscles needed to perform a particular movement. A big part of training for disc golf is introducing stability. It’s introducing total and precise control over each of your body parts. These stabilizer muscles play a huge part in that.
4. Speaking of stability, using the rings as a variant to traditional body weight movements significantly activates your core. The first few times I did suspension training circuits, I didn’t do any specific core work. The next day, however, felt like I had done a couple hours of core work. Part of stabilizing the movement of the rings as you perform exercises on them is a total tightening of the core. Strengthening your core is critical when training for disc golf.
5. Suspension training improves balance and coordination. Not a lot extra needs to be said here. Balance and coordination contribute directly to your timing. Correct timing is what makes the disc go BOOM!
For all those reasons and more, several times a week, I’m using my rings. I don’t do anything fancy, but I rarely do a body weight workout without using them. Pushups, dips, inverted rows, and pull ups are the most common movements. There are a ton of variations you can do with just those four. It’s easy to make each particular movement easier or harder in order to match your current fitness level.
It takes a little bit of work to get them hung safely (and please, make sure you do it safely – falling when you are upside down would not be good for your disc golf game), but it’s totally worth it. If you aren’t a free weight or implement person, this is the perfect way to make the most out of your body weight work outs.
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