Golfers are obsessed with the long ball. In a given round they will find water, other fairways, and the doorstep to a squirrel’s home in the woods.
When you really get a hold of one, though, it becomes the talk of the round.
Balls, clubs, and even tees are all marketed to get more distance for more of your paycheck. Every Pro V1 that you hit into the lake just cost you $4.
Even with all of this equipment no golfer ever hits the ball as far as they want (or sometimes think).
There is a simple solution to hitting the golf ball farther, though.
With the never ending search of new drivers, practice drills, balls, etc. we are forgetting a key component: Strength.
Newer, fancier equipment makes the average golfer’s mistakes look 20 times worse.
If that same person was to take the time to get stronger they would add yardage to their drives with what they already have.
I have read a number of research articles on the muscular activity on golf and they all provide similar conclusions. Just about every major muscle is active during some aspect of the golf swing.
This is good news because if we work on total body strength, the entire swing will be enhanced. Strength also provides control that can keep the swing from becoming something reminiscent of Sir Charles Barkley.
Here are 5 exercises that are important for developing total body strength and power.
1. Med Ball Slams
Start with a med ball overhead. Slam it into the ground without rounding the back. Avoid getting hit in the face on the rebound.
This exercise is great for those who want to let out some aggression. I always coach the person doing the exercise to try and break the med ball with every throw. That way they actually try instead of dribbling the ball.
This exercise develops power starting in the low body and transferring through the upper body. If your arms are sore after this then they were too involved.
Throw with the abs and sink the hips back when slamming it.
Most people in today’s society do not even know that their glutes are missing. There is something on the backside but the muscles are neglected.
Deadlifts are one of the best exercises for developing glute strength. On top of just the glutes, the muscles of the lower, middle, and upper back are used to stabilize the torso. Deadlifts also incorporate the calves, quads, and hamstrings.
Glute strength has been shown as a predictor of further drives and better control of the hips. If the hips are moving, your ball is probably going into the woods.
I also like the deadlift because there is a variation for everybody.
They can be done with a kettlebell, dumbbell, barbell, or hex bar. They can also be done in conventional stance or sumo stance. Those with tight hips/taller can also elevate the chosen method to keep the spine in neutral when hinging the hips.
I rarely get more moans and groans than when it is time to do chin-ups or pull-ups.
They are a great exercise for creating upper body strength. Keep the body in a straight line and do not cheat to get above the bar. Do not turn them into a momentum exercise.
You can also hang bands from the pull-up bar if some assistance is necessary.
The hidden reason that I like these is because it gets the average person into extension. A lot of golfers work at a desk all day and thus live in flexion.
Chin-ups work the muscles of the back through and extended posture. That is a double win for a population waiting to shoot a vertebral disk into the 4th fairway at any given time.
This bodyweight exercise that has a great divide; those that are good at pushups love them and those that are not good at them do not share the enthusiasm.
The truth is that they are an awesome exercise that cannot be ignored. They work on the front of the upper body but are friendly on the shoulder.
The scapula is allowed to move and since the hands are fixed to the ground, there is stability built into the shoulder joint.
Keep practicing the pushup to become proficient at it.
5. Bulgarian Split Squat
This is more of an advanced exercise and I will provide options for regressions.
Start with one foot on the ground and one foot up on a flat bench or box (laces down). From here, drop the back knee towards the ground. The front knee should not move towards the center of the body or fly out forward over the toes.
A long stance is necessary here and it will really work the quads and glutes. The hip flexors on the back leg also get a stretch that will help people that sit too much.
A simpler version of this is to put both feet on the ground but assume the same position and just do a split squat. Same benefits, just in an easier package.
These five exercises are going to work on some qualities necessary for dominance on the links. If you want to add length to your shots, getting stronger will pay huge dividends.
It is too bad that strength does not make the ball go straight. So you will still have to fix your mechanics on that end.
Just remember that the ball that does stay in the fairway will be absolutely crushed, leaving you for an easier second shot.