Weight training for golf has become essential for anyone looking to take their golf game to the next level!
The PGA pros have all realized that in order to play at their maximum level, they need to keep up with a golf fitness program. Golf strength training has blossomed within the last 20 years, and now there are full-time fitness stations that accompany the PGA tour. If the pros have realized the importance of proper strength and endurance training, then what are you waiting for? Jump on the bandwagon and get moving!
One misconception about golfers and weight training is that you are going to become bulky and that it will have adverse effects on your golf swing. If you perform your training program properly, this will not be the case!
Golfers need lean, flexible, yet strong muscles. You can
have great flexibility and strength at the same time, they are not
mutually exclusive! Ideally, most phases of a golf fitness program focuses on lesser
resistance and more repetitions in order to get results (this is not true of power specific exercises, however). We are simply
trying to train the specific muscles that are active during the swing
in order to maximize your potential.
Golfers of all ages can benefit from a resistance training program. However, age will have an effect on the specific types of exercises that you can perform. For example, someone that is in their 20s could likely perform more advanced strength training such as kettlebells or medicine ball drills, whereas those specific exercises would be challenging for many older golfers. In this instance, the older golfers would benefit much more from a flexibility program and some light resistance with bands or free weights.
A golf fitness program involves a few different aspects, but this
page will focus solely on lower body strengthening. The lower body includes the
hips, knees, and ankles plus all of the muscles associated with those
joints. Strengthening your legs will not only provide your swing a
strong base, but it will also help provide balance. These muscles also will help develop a more powerful golf swing through weight shifting.
Being the closest joint to the ground, your ankles will be one of the most important areas to target with exercise. Improving medial/lateral stability of the joints that comprise your ankles will allow your to properly weight shift during the golf swing. If you are weak here, you will be off balance and your swing will likely result in a poor shot. Developing ankle strength via a golf strength training program will also help with bunker shots as well as with uneven lies.
Moving up the leg, you will need to target both knee and hip musculature. At the knee, strengthening and improving the endurance of your quadriceps is key because you will be repetitively standing with your knees bent with each golf swing. Moving to the back side of you thigh, the hamstrings also will need to be strengthened. These will come in handy when weight shifting and developing power through impact with the ball.
The hip muscles, specifically the gluteals, are important for developing force during the downswing. They help contribute to a strong base and will contribute to knee stability by controlling femoral motion. In addition to your ankles, they also play a large role with balance, especially if you are on an uneven surface.
Weight training for golf needs include all of the major lower extremity muscles. There are many different ways to target these areas other than the standard machines that you would find at a gym. In fact, I would actually prefer that you do not use very many machines. The reason is that machines simply do not translate to a functional activity or motion.
In terms of sport specific training, many of the best exercises will mimic that motions performed in that sport. In many cases, machines are unable to accomplish that.
In addition to traditional weight bearing leg exercises, I also have included some more advanced exercises and routines using various training aids. I don't think a golf strength training program should only utilize these devices, but they are a nice way to further progress yourself and pose a new challenge.
The main components of your program should be stabilization, strengthening, and then power development. Stabilization exercises are general in nature, typically involve higher repetitions, but are designed to hit multiple muscle groups at once. Examples of these exercises would be exercises based around single leg balance, light plyometrics, or even wall squats while using an exercise ball.
Strengthening exercises are designed to increase not only muscle tone, but endurance and efficiency in the primary muscles used throughout the golf swing. During the swing your legs are very important for stabilization, but they also help create power through the weight shift. Examples of exercises that fall under this category would be lunges, kettlebell squats, or side stepping with a band around your ankles.
Finally, power specific exercises focus on quick bursts of strength and muscle contractions. One of he primary way to develop power is through plyometric exercise. Many of these exercises involve jumping, so they fall under the "advanced" heading. Plyometrics are definitely not for beginners but they are a great way to mix up your normal routine.
A comprehensive golf fitness program will target all of the key areas mentioned above. Also, it will include creative ways to target the main muscles involved in the golf swing. When you are ready to learn more about weight training for golf, please refer to the links below for specific exercises to target the lower body.
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