Strength training for golf has become increasingly more prevalent over the last 10-20 years. This is true not only with professionals, but with amateurs and weekend warriors as well. Everyone is beginning realize the importance proper fitness and golf. The intention of this page is to provide the rationale for why improving your strength is necessary.
Even though golf is considered to be a slow paced sport, there is one aspect of it that places a large demand on much of your skeletal muscle system: the golf swing!
This is where strength training for golf is extremely important! There a few key reasons why instituting a golf weight training program is beneficial:
Posture - Maintaining good posture from stance to follow through will help allow for improved range of motion and a smoother swing. Improper posture puts your body in a disadvantaged position, which could contribute to faulty mechanics, muscle breakdown, and injury. Key areas to target with a strength training program would be shoulders, mid back, core, and hips.
Balance - Balance exercises will help improve your stability on uneven surfaces, in addition to helping your weight shift throughout the swing. A strong lower body is essential for good balance. Core exercises also will help. Maintaining good balance throughout the swing will help cut down on poor shots. This also becomes more important as we age, because we are unable to respond as quickly to changes in body position.
Power - Strength training for golf will have a direct relationship to how much power you can develop with your swing. This seems pretty obvious, however, you need to target the right muscles in order to fully take advantage of the benefits of increased strength. This is truly the main intention of this website; To provide you with all of the key areas to target, and specific exercises for each.
Flexibility - Increasing your flexibility needs to be a significant component of your golf weight training program. Whether its basic flexibility exercises, or something more global like yoga stretches, increasing your range of motion will allow your to more effectively use your body during the swing. Main areas to target would be the hips, low back, shoulders, and forearms.
The basic outline for a solid golf fitness program includes a few key elements: corrective exercise, stabilization, strength/endurance, and power.
Corrective exercises are designed to help fix any specific muscle imbalances that you may have. This could be a variety of things, ranging from tightness, weakness, to poor posture. These specific imbalances will be found by a golf fitness specialist through a series of functional assessments performed prior to beginning your program.
The first main portion of strength training for golf should focus primarily on stabilization. This means training multiple muscle groups at once, focusing on maintaining stability, balance, and coordination. These exercises are general in nature, but the outcome will be a body that is fully prepared to take on the rigors of a golf specific program in the future phases. These exercises will also focus on multiple planes of motion to train you specifically for golf related actions.
Next, pure strengthening of golf specific muscles will take place, which could involve a wide variety of devices such as free weights, kettlebells, medicine balls, stability balls, and resistance bands. The amount of stress placed through the body is greater here than in the stabilization phase, as you will be performing slightly fewer repetitions with each exercises, but with increased weight.
Finally comes power training. This is where the exercises focus on quick bursts of energy with high force. The exercises are performed rapidly, with fewer reps. Medicine balls are one of the devices primarily used in this phase, but you also can use any of the others mentioned above in the strengthening phase. Also, plyometric exercises specifically fit in this phase as they are higher level motions.
While these are the main phases of your training regimen, flexibility also plays a huge role, as does cardiovascular training. A well balanced program will include all of these aspects at the appropriate times.
One thing to remember when beginning strength training for golf is that you are trying to increase muscle tone, not bulk! There are no bulky players on the PGA tour! Even the most muscular players are still quite lean. This means that in the gym you generally need to perform more repetitions with each set. Sets of 10, 12, or 15 with less weight are preferred over sets of 4, 6, or 8 with heavy weight. As you progress through the strength training phases, your reps will gradually decrease as the resistance increases, but golfers simply aren't looking for hypertrophy of their muscles. If you are unsure of what you are doing, please consult a fitness professional for answers.
One final thing : Golf fitness is for everyone, whether you are 17 or 70, male or female. Everyone will be able to handle different amounts of stress, and will progress at their own pace. If you are having trouble will your golf fitness program, please consult a specialist! The last thing you want to do is injure yourself!