Why is golf-specific training relevant to you, even if you’ve never picked up a club (or have any plans to)?

Golf, much like your daily routine, is single-sided. We swing a golf club the same direction, sit in the same position at our desk, sit in the same seat on an airplane…the list goes on.

This isn’t unique to golf - baseball players throw with the same arm and bat from the same side of the plate. Basketball players favor one side and (for a majority of the time) shoot with the same hand.

This is exactly the reason we train. We fix imbalances, correct our weaknesses, and become well-rounded athletes (and, humans). If you golf regularly, these imbalances may be very tangible. You may feel tightness in one shoulder, low-back pain, or have trouble carrying a bag for 18 holes.

If nothing else, you don’t swing left-handed to balance out the number of swings you take right-handed. Compound this the number of times a professional golfer swings per year, and you’ll quickly realize the value of physical training for golfers.

A golf swing through the full range of motion displays an amazing translation of power through the kinetic chain. Strong legs, stability in the core, and flexibility through the hips, back and shoulders are vitally important, all while remaining in balance. It’s being able to generate club-head speed with good posture (no Happy Gilmore hacks) that generates a repeatable long ball.

Consider the last time you didn’t warm up before you hit the links. You woke up late, rushed to the first tee, took a couple BS half swings, and ripped it into somebody’s pool just off the first fairway. You don’t get a breakfast ball when it counts - start preparing the way you should, even when it’s just for fun. Physically and mentally.

It’s longevity to your golf game we’re looking for - can you carry a bag for 18 holes, swing the bat 65 to (120?) times, and come away pain free in your low back? Can you mentally let go of the last shot you pulled into the creek and stick the dropped ball inside 10 feet?

We’re going to discuss a few strategies to take your training to the next level (even if that’s Level 1).

Physical Training - Mobility

The first aspect to your training is mobility. What would a longer, smoother, restriction-free swing do to your game? Obviously, improve it. Mobility, for the purposes of this conversation, is the intersection of flexibility and strength. Too “Susie-bend-and-stretch” (thanks, @JogaJana) and you lose distance. Too “Arnold” and you lose range of motion.

Self-Myofascial Release

Use a foam roller or Hypersphere at home before your round to release tension from muscles, restore range of motion, and bring blood flow to key areas of the body pre-stretch.

Routine Length: 5 minutes (two minutes each area, one minute each side)

Areas of Release:

  • TFL (Hips)
  • Piriformis
  • Glutes
  • Back
  • Lats

Stretching Exercises:

It’s time to warm up the body mimicking the demands of the golf swing.

Routine Length: 10 minutes

Child’s Pose

Cat & Cow

Figure-4 Stretch

Shoulder Sweeps

Dislocates (use an exercise band)

Movement Preparation

Before the round starts, the goal is to establish a mind-body connection between the brain and the muscles you want to activate during a golf swing. If your core isn’t working properly it’s tough to initiate a strong, balanced rotation - this means more use of the hands, and more sliced or pulls shots.

Routine Length: 10 minutes

Glute Bridges

Forearm Plank

Hip Hinges (Note: this is your stance at address over the ball)

Side Shuffle

World’s Greatest Stretch

Warrior III

Shoulder Circles

Physical Training - Strength

The second aspect to your training (on off-days) is strength. We explained why training is important to your golf life - more years, less pain, better swing. The perfect example of great strength in golf is Rory McIlroy. His transformation in just a few years is incredible. Rory added muscle and power to his swing, one in which length is vitally important to an increasingly longer game.

For the “desk-to-course” (or “couch-to-course”) golfer, the main concern here is posture. Consider the position you sit in at work, checking emails, etc - slouched over, legs and shoulders tight, and limited room to breathe properly.

Combine that with leaning over 30-40-ish putts a round and violently swinging a club in the same direction and it’s easy to arrive at some low-back pain.

First, planks, in every variation I can try. Remove a hand, lift a leg, add instability to the foundation you’re working on. Anything to get the core to brace (this function of the core keeps you upright, in good posture) - this is your insurance policy for the low-back.

Second, rotations. Any time you can add a medicine ball toss, use the cable machine in a gym, or simply mimic the demands of golf swing with resistance, do it.

Bodyweight Exercises:

Forearm Plank

Side Planks

Push-ups

Bodyweight Squats

Assisted Single-leg squats

Forward Lunge (add rotations with your 9-iron)

Reverse Lunge

Lateral Lunge

Single-leg deadlift (unweighted)

High Plank Shoulder Taps

(For weight-training exercises, send us a message!).

Key Areas of Physical Training Focus:

  1. Mobility
  2. Balance/Stability
  3. Flexibility
  4. Strength
  5. Power

 

 

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