(FAQ) Will physical exercise improve your game?

(About the Author)

Anyone who says that pool players don’t have to be in good physical condition hasn’t really played much pool. If you know a scofflaw, challenge that person to 100 shots, within one hour. If they’re not in good physical condition, they’ll be huffing, puffing and dripping sweat. The Green Game is a lot more physically demanding that it appears.

The better your physical conditioning, the longer you can play pool. If you are a serious player, you already know how poor physical conditioning affects your game. Your focus and concentration disappears (not to mention your analytic competence) when various body parts protest your intentions to play pool.

If you are not a regular gym attendee, you can still use physical exercise to improve your physical strength. Start your physical exercise with long walks. Carry a 24-32 ounce plastic water bottle in each hand. While walking, swing the stick hand (and the bottle you are holding) up to your shoulder as hard and fast as you can. This strengthens your arm for the break. As your stamina increases, stop about every 100 yards (meters) and do five deep knee bends.

If you are a regular gym attendee, concentrate on physical exercise with machines and routines that improve overall muscle tone and stamina. This will include a stomach cruncher, upper body strengthening, and an elliptical or stair machine. Select other machines as you prefer.

Don’t overdo your efforts. It’s more important to get into a physical exercise routine of showing up then in discovering how many muscles you can strain. The intention is to increase the quantity of reps. Start with enough reps to put a slight strain on your muscles without exhausting yourself. Adjust the weights so that you can do about 50 reps. Slowly increase the number of reps by 1 or 2 each week. Don’t get impatient – slow and steady increases with the same weight are much better.

If weights are a part of your preferred physical program, it's not a good idea to increase your arm dimensions. If you focus on building muscle mass, you tend to lose your ability to manage the very precise movements necessary for cue ball control.

Suddenly increasing stomach muscle strength changes how you get down on a shot. Yes, stronger stomach muscles allow you to shoot more shots without back pains, but it also changes how far you bend over for the shot. Even a half inch difference in your head height (up or down) over the stick will change how you see the lines and angles.

When you are developing a physical exercise workout routine, follow these basic guidelines:

  • Exercise no more than 3 times a week.
  • Perform a maximum of six routines in one exercise session.
  • Only make one small weight increase in a single routine during the entire week.
  • Only make one repetition increase in a single routine during an exercise session.
  • Be consistent week by week with your exercising schedule.
  • Plan on taking a long time to tone your muscles. A year of effort is not too long.
  • Remember that these improvements and physical conditioning is necessary for a lifetime of playing pool.

Follow your regular physical exercise routine on a weekly basis – EXCEPT when you enter an important competition. For the week before, cut back weights and reps by 25%. Keep up the schedule. You do want to stop physical exercise sessions two days before the competition. Put extra time in on the practice table. Work on speed control shots and precise paths and patterns for the cue ball.

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