Training Tips

How to Improve Your Golf Game with Kettlebell Training

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As trainers, we know how important kettlebell exercises are for athletes and how much they can impact overall performance. Kettlebell training provides a different way to train and can benefit many areas of fitness. This includes increasing strength, and also speed and endurance. In addition, kettlebell exercises promote muscle growth along with cardiovascular improvements. It is not common for exercises to provide all these benefits at the same time, which is what makes kettlebell training so great. Let’s explore the benefits of kettlebell exercises and how they can help with golf.

Purpose of Kettlebell Exercises

Kettlebell exercises are used to help all clients reach different goals. Two common goals of kettlebell training are to increase power and target cardiovascular endurance. The purpose of kettlebell training goes beyond just these two goals. As clients can use kettlebell exercises to increase the following:

  • Strength and power
  • Muscle mass
  • Balance and stability
  • Flexibility and mobility
  • Coordination

One of the most important components of golf is for athletes to possess the ability to transfer force through the trunk. In many cases, golfers either experience an excessive anterior or posterior pelvic tilt. This influences hip movement and golf swing. Kettlebell training helps your client build a strong core and improve rotation and hip movement. This can help correct a pelvic tilt.

On the other hand, flexibility issues affect spine rotation and hip mobility. These are both essential for weight distribution when swinging a golf club. This is why flexibility and mobility improve golf swing efficiency and shot accuracy. Most clients looking to improve grip, forearm, and shoulder strength can benefit from kettlebell training. 

It is important to use kettlebell exercises to build more strength in the muscles surrounding the shoulder and elbow joint. Athletes who do so end up using more of the appropriate muscle groups and take stress off the joints. This helps improve performance and prevent injury. Check out these focus areas to train to help minimize golf injuries.

How Basic Kettlebell Exercises Improve Golf Game

Golf is a low-impact and low-intensity sport where athletes may not need to train as intensely as for other sports. The sport requires attention to detail and a focus on abilities that demand muscle stimulation in specific body parts. Golf uses all muscle groups in the body, but the primary muscles used during a golf swing include core, back, shoulder, and glute muscles. Even though golf is a low-intensity sport, it still requires cardiovascular endurance. Kettlebell exercises help improve heart and lung stamina on the course. 

Lack of stamina leads to decreased performance during a match. Kettlebell exercises provide clients with low-impact workouts that still increase endurance. They require large muscle groups but use momentum to execute the movements. Clients do not have to jump or move intensely on joints that lifting or running might require. They can perform exercises for time and use heavy loads without risking injury. Results take time but following a kettlebell training program for one month will allow clients to see improvements. This includes changes in cardio, strength, and performance. 

Muscle Groups Used in Golf

Ab muscles like the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, internal obliques, and external obliques are important. They control sideways bending, spinal flexion, and trunk rotation. Back muscles include the erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, and multifidus muscles. These hold the body in an upright position and promote twisting and bending in many different directions. 

The shoulder muscles include the trapezius muscle, which influences movement at the scapula. This supports arm movement during the forward swing. Lastly, the glutes are the largest muscle in the body and include the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. The glute medius and minimus are found on the side of the hip, while the gluteus maximus is found on the backside. 

During a golf swing, the glutes help generate a source of power. A swing starts by driving the legs into the ground and transfers energy to the body, which the glutes help produce. This leads to what is called ground reaction force. The force produced through the glute muscles is used in the backswing, transition, and downswing for power. The stability of a golf athlete and swing path is influenced by ground reaction force. This is the transfer of energy through the ground up through the kinetic chain.

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Golf-Related Kettlebell Exercises

Kettlebell exercises for golfers increase control of swing path and hitting distance. They increase fitness and performance all while lowering the risk for injury. The glutes, hamstrings, core, and shoulders are important areas for golfers to focus on with kettlebell training. Let’s take a look at effective exercises for golf. 

Kettlebell Swings

The kettlebell swing is a popular exercise for improving athletic performance. This exercise strengthens the core, glutes, hamstrings, quads, back, shoulders, and arms. Golf athletes must be explosive and maintain powerful hips to help reduce stress on the lower back. 

To perform the kettlebell swing, start with feet shoulder-width apart. With one kettlebell out in front of you on the ground, bend at the waist to grip the kettlebell with both hands. Pull the shoulders down and back and lift the kettlebell off the ground. 

Allow the weight to swing back in between your legs keeping your knees slightly bent. With a neutral spine, drive your hips forward and send the kettlebell into the air. The kettlebell should have momentum and reach no higher than shoulder height. Allow it to swing back down through your legs and, using hip extension, continue the kettlebell’s momentum back up.

Kettlebell Halos

Golf requires athletes to have strong and mobile shoulders. The kettlebell halo strengthens muscles around the shoulder joint. It also helps improve core stability. It does target the upper chest and back muscles too. 

Start by gripping the kettlebell in a bottoms up position. Bring the kettlebell around your head all the way to the starting position. Keep your shoulder blades down and back while keeping the kettlebell as close to your head as possible. Repeat for the desired reps on each side. If your client needs more exercises to help strengthen their back, check out these exercises

Kettlebell Goblet Squat

It is common for barbell squats to limit an athlete due to lack of mobility. This is why the kettlebell goblet squat is such an effective exercise. It allows athletes to load the squat without forcing them into a fixed position. It still requires mobility, but the athlete can strengthen the quads, glutes, and core without as many limitations. 

To perform the kettlebell goblet squat, hold the kettlebell in front of your chest. With both hands supporting the kettlebell, squat down pushing your hips back. Once your thighs are parallel with the ground, keep the pressure in the heels and return to the starting position.

Kettlebell Single-Leg Deadlift

The kettlebell single-leg deadlift targets mainly the posterior chain muscles. This includes the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. It improves movement at the trunk for golfers and increases stability at the ankles and core. 

Hold a kettlebell in one hand and lift the opposite foot off the ground. Maintain a straight back and bend at the hips, raising your leg up and keeping it in line with the body. At the same time, the kettlebell will lower to the ground. Stand back up driving your hips forward and maintaining stability. Repeat on each side for reps.

Core Specific Kettlebell Exercises to Help With Golf

Consider adding these exercises to your client’s programming to improve core strength and stability.

Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up

This exercise improves movement and dynamic strength throughout the shoulders and core. To start, lie flat on your back with a kettlebell directly over the shoulder joint. Keep the kettlebell over the shoulder joint throughout the entire motion. Begin with one knee up and one leg straight. The side that the kettlebell is on is the same side that the knee should be bent. From here, on the side without the kettlebell, roll up onto the elbow and then the hand. In this position, lift the hips off the ground, keeping your eyes on the kettlebell. Bring your straight leg underneath the body, placing it next to the hand on the ground. With one knee pointing straight ahead and the other pointing at the hand on the floor, stand up from the lunge position. Descend back into the lunge position and return to the starting position reversing the same steps. 

Kettlebell Windmill

This exercise improves core strength and increases hamstring flexibility. It also leads to stronger hip hinge movements, targets shoulder stability, and decreases back pain. 

Start with your feet outside of hip-width and pointing 45 degrees in one direction. Push one side of the hips out and load that same heel. Raise the rear hand keeping it straight in the air with a kettlebell. Be sure to look at the top hand and keep both legs straight. Lower down the bottom hand towards the ground and stand back up to the starting position. 

Kettlebell Suitcase Carry

The suitcase carry is an effective kettlebell exercise for golfers. It helps improve posture and increases core strength, lower body strength, and forearm strength. Grip is an important part of golf and the suitcase carry can help improve shoulder mobility and increase grip strength. 

Start by grabbing one kettlebell and hold it directly on the side of the body. Maintain posture while you walk with the weight to your side. Avoid leaning in any direction. Continue walking for a set distance and then switch sides.

Are you ready to help athletes improve overall performance? The ISSA’s Performance Enhancement course teaches you everything you need to know. This includes how to improve strength, speed, agility, and coordination for athletes. Using kettlebell training is an effective way to improve one’s golf game. Being able to identify techniques that assist athletes in achieving optimal performance is crucial.