Like any other sport golf is increasingly using strength training to improve performance.
Tiger works out should you too.
A carefully designed and implemented strength training program, can, over the course of 8-10 weeks result in a 100% strength increase in a previously untrained golfer. Such an increase in strength can quickly improve power, accuracy, and endurance.
During every swing of the golf club, the legs, hips, and core muscles require a certain amount of muscular strength to overcome the external resistance of the club. The stronger you are, the more strength that is left in reserve, and the more you’ll be able to accelerate the club, swing after swing, without exhausting yourself over 18 holes. Even more important is the increased protection against injury the added strength and balance provides.
For the novice golfer, skill practice sessions are enough for developing sport specific strength. As golfing ability improves, the need for supplementary strength training increases. The repetitive nature of golf creates imbalances which a properly designed weight training program can help eliminate.
An interesting phenomenon with golfers is that the young players often ignore the strength and conditioning element of the sport, but with golf it often takes years to develop technical proficiency. So, a golfer may be well over 40 years old by the time he or she has developed a high level of technical expertise, but now, physical conditioning has become an issue.
Health clubs and equipment manufacturers often push exercise machines as the best training tool for strength training, this is not the case, especially for golfers or any other athlete.
Machines do have their place but not in sports performance training programs. One of the major drawbacks with machines is that they are fixed which tends to make machines omnidirectional. The body does not operate independently on a fixed plane which means that the strength developed will not transfer well to an activity like golf, which is multi-jointed and multidirectional.
Machines are often developed to target a single joint or muscle action, “isolating” the muscle being worked. Life does not work this way so why would you you workout this way? Golf requires the coordination of the entire body, it is not an activity which requires isolated movements. Strength training for golf is meant to develop strength within a movement pattern, not train an isolated muscle.
Strengthening the Stabilizers
Stabilizers are muscles which anchor or immobilize one part of the body, allowing another part (usually the limbs) to exert force. The most significant stabilizers are those of the trunk— the abdominals and trunk extensors. If the motor cortex detects that it can’t stabilize the force provided by the prime movers, it simply won’t allow the prime movers to contract with full force. Try doing some med ball work and core training.
It may be time to start seriously considered adopting a strength training program to improve your golf game. Don’t let stereotypical notions of strength training prevent you from taking advantage of this important conditioning element!
Strength Training Suggestions for Golfers
- Seek professional training and programing from a sports conditioning professional. Certified personal trainers who have significant experience working with athletes may also be a good option.
- Don’t start a strength training program for the first time if you have important tournaments pending. Your first visits to the gym may hurt your game. Expect a slight decline in your game as your body begins to adapt to the additional training loads. Don’t worry you will rebound, your game will climb back up and surpass previous levels.
- Expect to spend between 1 and 3 hours a week on your strength training program. Your training time is best spent emphasizing the leg and core musculature.
About The Author
Charles Staley… world-class strength/performance coach…his colleagues call him an iconoclast, a visionary, a rule-breaker. His clients call him “The Secret Weapon” for his ability to see what other coaches miss. Charles calls himself a “geek” who struggled in Phys Ed throughout school. Whatever you call him, Charles’ methods are ahead of their time and quickly produce serious results.