I want to start with a couple of different definitions today.
Strength training- using resistance training to improve muscular force
Powerlifting- a sport based around lifting the most weight weight possible once in the bench, squat, and deadlift
Weightlifting (Olympic)- a sport based around lifting the most amount of weight possible once in the snatch and clean and jerk.
Bodybuilding- a sport where participants try to maximize muscular size and minimize bodyfat for a show
Part of my college curriculum was the different resistance training sports. There’s 3 and I have listed them above.
A lot of people do not treat those sports for what they are. A lot of people use them to meet other goals and the confusion spreads like the plague.
Performing a bench press does not make you a powerlifter, as doing bicep curls does not make you ready for the bodybuilding stage.
Resistance/strength training is simply a method to reach a certain goal. How that method is strategized (not sure if that is word so if not, I call dibs) is how we can use the same things to reach different goals.
The important point to remember that nothing exists in a vacuum, either. Look at the nutrition plans of a powerlifter vs a bodybuilder. Powerlifters are not tested for bodyfat so they do not need to be at 3% for their meet. They eat quite a bit more than someone prepping for a show.
I think this is where strength training gets a bad name. In general, no one knows how hard these athletes work to get success in their given sport. It takes years.
No one goes to the gym, does a couple of bench presses, and is all of the sudden an elite powerlifter. That attitude would be similar to going for a run and instantly becoming an Olympic favorite. Its unrealistic.
Golf employs the same attitude. There is an underlying fear of lifting weights. This idea is BS. The best players in the world strength train. They seem to do fine.
Meanwhile, Frank from the local country club doesn’t want to ruin his game with strength training but is unhappy being a high handicapper.
If he added some strength and mobility training he would start to see the strokes come off of his score.
If you are serious about improving your game, you need strength training.
1. It helps you with the ball further
Distance is a function of clubhead speed. The stronger you are, the more force you can produce. More force production will improve clubhead speed and distance off of the club.
Are you sick of watching people out drive you? You can change that very quickly.
But I don’t need to be swinging the club like some of those pro guys…
No shit. We should employ the idea of some is better than none. Improving your clubhead speed somewhat will help you hit further. I am not suggesting swinging at 120 MPH.
2. It can help with accuracy
Accuracy and repeat ability are important for the swing. A lot of people do not have a lot of control during their swing. They are taking baseball type hacks at the ball.
Improving strength will allow you to control the club during the whole swing. This control will make your shots more repeatable and you should know where they are going.
3. It can improve your mobility
Mobility can be restricted by weakness. Stability at the proper joints will unlock the ones that we want to be mobile.
Stable- knee, low back, scapula
Mobile- ankle, hips, upper back, shoulder
If you have no core stability, your hips will lock up to stabilize the low back. To become more mobile you must train for some strength as well.
4. It will allow you to play more
Strength provides durability. You will be able to play more golf within a season and for more seasons as long as you stay strong.
5. You need strong glutes
Strong glutes help with distance and reducing low back pain.
Using exercises like deadlifts, RDLs, bridges, hip thrusts, and lunges will help you accomplish those two things.
6. You need a stable core
This one usually doesn’t require an argument. You need a stable core. It will help control during the swing, reducing back pain, and transfer power from the lower body to the club.
Start with Pallof presses, leg lowers, and side planks. Do them often.
7. You deserve to play pain free
Playing golf through pain is annoying. Actual injuries require the attention of the proper medical pros. If you have non specific, dull, aches. Strength training may be able to help.
Resistance training helps improve the strength of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bone. A good program will usually clear up most of the “hard to define” pains.
Golfers must start to accept fitness to improve their game. You should not train to be ready for one of the resistance training sports. Instead, your program should get you ready to play better golf.
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