Smart Strength Training for Golfers

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This past week was probably not on many golf radars.

The tournament was in Kuala Lumpur and aired on TV late at night Wed-Sat for us on the east coast.

The odd time for coverage of the event and going up against football probably made for a decrease in viewers.

Pat Perez won and it looks like he strung together 4 really solid rounds of golf. His post round interview was an interesting one. He was asked about how his goals change for this year. He answered about how still wasn’t going to work out, change his diet, or not enjoy himself.

Personally, I think he’s full of crap and click here to read about his workouts. This link is from 2014 and he was clearly working out then.

This isn’t going to be about whether or not he should workout but instead about how to do it the right way. His attitude after winning diminishes the importance of training.

Other, more successful golfers conversely praise fitness training. I know it works but we still fight the battle.

Smart Strength Training for Golf

One of the biggest points of contention for golf is strength training. For some reason the sport is so resistant to strength and also distance.

The stronger you are, the further you will hit the ball. Strength alone does not predict golf performance but it is easy to realize a stronger golfer will get more distance.

This picture was posted on Twitter by Andrew Rice. You wouldn’t believe the uproar it caused.

The comments on this post just will not accept that distance matters.

Improving strength does not have to be a daunting task and it can be done in a safe, effective way. The following categories will help with good training.

Upper Body Push

The first exercise category I am discussing is pushing. This happens any time a resistance is being pushed away from the body.

Typical pushing exercises are bench, cable, landmine, and DB presses.

Upper body pushing is usually not an issue in programs. Most gym goers over do it with pushing. This can lead to imbalance and pain in the upper body. To create balance we need to look to…

Upper Body Pull

Pulls are more important than pushes in terms of health with training. The pulling muscles are typically weaker to begin with, before we add on a poor ratio of push to pull.

Pulls can be done horizontally and vertically, pulling towards the body. Horizontal pulling is any type of row using any equipment. Vertical pulls are from up high, towards the body. Chinups, lat pulldowns, and straight arm are all options.

Aim to have 2-3x as many rows than presses in a program. Each rep counts. If you are doing 30 pushes then you need 60-90 to provide balance.

Hip Dominant Movements

Hip dominant movements target the glutes and hamstrings. Common exercises are deadlifts, bridges, hip thrusts, RDLs, hamstring curls, etc.

I think this is the most important category for golfers.

Having a strong posterior chain is essential for generating power. We start in the ground and power is transferred into the upper body. The strength comes from the glutes and hamstrings.

Strength in hip dominant movements also helps reduce back pain. Producing power from the hips takes some force off of the low back. The spine is a lot healthier when it is not under as much load.

Knee Dominant Movements

Lunging and squatting are knee dominant movements. There are a ton of variations within those two categories.

It is also easy to become imbalanced in favor of knee dominant moves. Some days at the gym could be squats, lunges, and step ups. Those are all good exercises but what about the posterior chain?

Balance is important between knee and hip movements. A 1:1:1 ratio is usually good here. Balance between knee dominant, hamstring, and glute exercises is a really solid strategy for leg strength.

Loaded Carries

The last category I want to discuss is loaded carries. These are so simple and really effective. Pick up something heavy and carry it for a while.

We can carry in two hands, one, overhead, in a front rack, and combinations of those.

Carries are good for core stability, grip strength, and overall durability. The tendons and ligaments in the body will be under load when carrying, making them stronger as a result.

These exercises are also self limiting. You tend to drop the weight when you can’t hold it any more.