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Strength Training

Strength Training to Improve Your Golf Game

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Strength Training to Improve Your Golf Game

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Golf fitness training can vary based on each athlete's strengths and weaknesses. But every golf fitness program should include some form of weight training. Combining golf-specific practices with strength training programs requires attention to detail, but that dedication will reflect favorably on your client’s golf game. 

Throughout golf fitness programming you must consider all the movement patterns that golf uses. If you are a golfer or are at least familiar with golf, you know that to perform better you need to have flexibility and mobility in many areas. Here we’ll break down the essentials of fitness and strength training specific to golf. 

Golf Fitness Training Essentials

Golf training can last 3-4 hours. The practice duration is like that of a golf game. To maintain and improve golf performance, an athlete practices 3-4 days each week. You focus on a variety of skills including, clubhead speed, swing speed, upper body movement, and more. Swing mechanics are the most important thing for a golfer. Swing faults interrupt golf performance. 

Driving Range

Practices can be held at different places each day. Let’s look at a driving range first. To dial in on technique training at a driving range, athletes can pick a target each hit. Instead of only driving the ball as far as they can, hold them accountable for hitting a target. Constantly switch up the target and have them call out where they are aiming.

To advance the training, switch the type of club. Set a goal of how many hits you want to get using different clubs. Don’t use the same club every time and just aimlessly drive the ball. Before an athlete begins, have them warm up with wedge shots and practice their swing with different clubs. If you don't plan accordingly, driving ranges can build bad habits.

Motor Programming

Golf is an extremely repetitive sport. The same motion is performed over and over. Because golf is so repetitive it is important to build the right blueprints in your body. Practice with intent and focus on the quality of play, not quantity.

Motor programming is all about building motor skills that the body can repeat over and over without having to think about it. The form and technique are practiced so diligently and so much that it becomes natural. An athlete shouldn’t have to think about the movement, they just execute it.

This takes time to build. And in many cases, you see golf practices that have a goal of hitting a certain amount of balls. When really, it’s better to hit fewer balls and focus on the quality of each one. To emphasize this, encourage athletes to work with a smaller bucket of balls and take their time with each hit. Also, take adequate rest in between versus trying to burn through a certain amount of balls.

Taking breaks in between each shot allows muscle groups and the nervous system to recover and rejuvenate. This induces peak performance on the next hit. And eliminates training or practicing with poor technique. You don’t want to teach the body the wrong motor skills.

Fitness professionals are knowledgeable about the human body and how it functions. You can never learn enough though. Check out Dan Weller and his thoughts on adding more knowledge to your current expertise. 

Sample Practice Schedule

During the golf training, work on weaknesses and maintain your strengths. Stay in a routine with objectives for each day. A sample program could be as follows.

Monday – Chips focus

Tuesday – Putts focus

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Driving range

Friday – Technique-driven day and swing mechanics with no ball

Saturday and Sunday – Rest or matches

Strength Training for Golf

To optimize your client’s golf fitness training, try implementing strength training sessions with practices. Building strength in key areas will help prevent injury, refine movements, and add power to their swings. 

Intertwine at least two days of strength training into a golf exercise routine. Two total body workouts a week will help athletes build and maintain strength. Important muscle groups to target in golf fitness training are the shoulders, back, legs, and core.

Shoulders

A gold swing, especially the backswing requires shoulder strength and mobility. This is where force production is either at its highest or lowest. To generate enough force, build muscle and strength with these exercises.

  • I’s, Y’s, and T’s
  • Wall slides
  • Mini band wall walks
  • Lateral raises
  • Plank walks

Plyometric exercises also help improve power development.

Back

Posture is an important component of golf strength training. Building upper back strength is good for posture. While lower back strength supports rotational movement. These both improve spine mobility and flexibility. These strength exercises can translate to helping improve swing mechanics. 

  • Bent over rows
  • Reverse flys
  • T-spine rotations
  • Back extensions
  • Pull-ups
  • Deadlifts

Learn how to stress the importance of sitting and posture in athletes outside of the gym.

Legs

The legs and glutes especially are most used during the transition phase. Glute strength provides stabilization in the hips and knees. Having strength in this muscle allows hip mobility to increase, leading to an athlete’s ability to produce more force in their golf swing.

Effective strength training exercises include:

  • Single-leg squats
  • Single-leg glute bridges
  • Single-leg deadlifts
  • Reverse lunges

The lower body is the base of support for the entire movement of a golf swing. Don’t neglect lower body training. In fact, during each total body workout, start with leg exercises first.

Core

The core is the midline of the body and responsible for all movement and rotation. If it is not strong enough to support the entire body, you will encounter swing faults that can lead to injury.

Train the core with rotational exercises:

  • Russian twists
  • Cable rotations or woodchoppers
  • Planks
  • Medicine ball rotational throws
  • Landmine hip to hip rotations

Passionate about sports and want to work with athletes? Become an ISSA Strength and Conditioning Coach today. Help clients increase total body strength that can translate directly to the sport of golf and other athletic achievements.

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