Weight Training For Golf

Upper Body Golf Strength Training Program

Proper weight training for golf has become increasingly important over the past 2 decades. Much of it can be attributed to Tiger Woods' dominance of golf in the later 90s and early to mid 2000s. When he came onto the golf scene, people realized that they needed to improve their golf fitness and strength training programs in order to be competitive.

Now practically every golfer has a golf strength training program!

Take a sample of some of the best golfers in the world: Tiger, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, etc. Judging solely on physical appearance, what similarities do you see? Every single one is in tip top shape! The age of the out of shape golfer is over!

This page, and the pages linked in it, all focus on upper body strengthening. Much of the force generated during the golf swing will come from the upper body.

If you have looked under the Golf Research page of this site, you will find a review of an article that broke down which muscles were involved the most during the golf swing. In the upper body, this includes the pectoralis muscles, mid back, and the rotator cuff.

Proper weight training for golf will need to target all of these muscle groups. The intention of having golfers perform resistance exercises is not for them to become bulky! This could actually hamper your performance! Instead, we want to build lean, yet strong, muscles that do not fatigue. This way, your muscles can stand up to performing the golf swing over and over again without breaking down. The belief that golfers should not weight train because it will have a negative effect on their performance is absurd.

Despite what you may see from the surface, golf can be a demanding sport. You are performing essentially the same motion a few hundred times over the course of a few hours. What would you expect to happen to those areas of the body that are being used? They become fatigued! Golf is an extremely repetitive sport, and with that in mind, your body needs to be trained appropriately to be able to handle the rigors or performing similar motions over and over again. For those who are serious about golf, this is the reason why golf fitness is so important.

One of the areas of the body that will be most affected by the repetitive nature of the golf swing is the rotator cuff. Simply, the rotator cuff is a group of four small muscles that connect to your shoulder and act as the primary muscular restraint of that shoulder. Developing strength in this group is essential, but it is often overlooked by the average golfer. I will show you many of best rotator cuff exercises because I feel very strongly about the importance of these muscles.

Modified push ups with pilates chair

I have examined many golf training programs and one thing that I see lacking in the vast majority of them is rotator cuff strengthening! This is such an important muscle group not only for shoulder stability and strength, but for injury prevention as well. If you only train the larger muscle like the pecs, lats, and deltoid, these muscles will simply overpower the much smaller cuff muscles and will lean to injury. I have an entire page dedicated solely to rotator cuff exercises, so please check it out!

With the repetitive nature of the golf swing in mind, weight training for the upper extremities is very important for preventing injuries. Looking specifically at the upper body, the main areas that will be affected are the shoulders and elbows. Common injuries are tendinitis, bursitis, and even muscle tears. There are many factors that contribute to golf injuries (which are discussed here), but it is undeniable that weight training for golf will help reduce the risk.

So what equipment do you need to properly perform these exercises?

For those unfamiliar with exercising or working out, free weights are not the only way to build up strength in your arms. You can use resistance bands, your own body weight, and exercise balls all to accomplish similar results.

Resistance bands are great because they actually provide increased resistance throughout the range of motion. Exercise balls will add the element of instability to your workout and can add a core component to anything that you do.

If you don't have access to a gym, you will need to investigate purchases some Bands or Free Weights.

In addition to bands, there are a few other great devices to add to your golf strength training program. These include a BOSU ball, and kettlebells. There are many different BOSU ball exercises for the upper body, with the key advantage being the instability that a BOSU ball provides. Kettlebell exercises are more advanced, but will provide those more comfortable with weight training a new challenge.

I do not think that your training program should rely solely on these training aids, but they are a great way to pose a new challenge once you find that traditional exercises are getting easy.

Weight training for golf should be fun! Remember, you are simply trying to improve your golf game through fitness, don't go overboard! If done properly, you can look forward to increased power, more distance, improved control, and reduced injury risk.

Do You Want More Strength, Power, and Endurance for Golf?

My comprehensive e-book, "Better Fitness, Better Golf", will show you exactly, step-by-step, which exercises to perform and when! It's a complete training regimen leading you through all phases of the golf season.

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Golf Fitness Program

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Outside Resources

*Looking for a great general workout, but don't have tons of time? Please check out Golden Workout Routines and their 10 Minute Workout Page for some quick exercise routines!

*Also check out:

Briody Fitness & Health
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  • Weight management to intense sports specific training
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