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In the 1930s, golfers were told to avoid gyms until Tiger Woods turned Pro in 1996. Back then, there was a belief that a strength training program for golfers would ‘tighten’ the body. Golfers were instead told that walking five to six miles per round was enough to maintain fitness.

Then, in 1996, Tiger Woods turned the world of golf on its head. Within 11 years of turning pro, through a combination of flexibility and weight training, Tiger Woods gained 30 pounds of muscle, and his waist size went from 29 to 31 inches as he dominated the world of golf. Then, everyone wanted to be like Tiger.

More players today are physically fit like Tiger than those who look like, say, John Daly. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional player or a weekend hacker because strength training will improve your golf game.

But don’t just take my word for it.

Kathy Ekdahl, athletic coach, a Titleist Performance Institute Golf Fitness Trainer, and the author of “Getting Golf Ready- An Introduction to Golf Fitness,” chimes in along with Dan Swinscoe. Dan Swinscoe MPT, CSCS, who has over 30 years of experience helping golfers of all levels and Level 3 Golf Medical Professionals through the Titleist Performance Institute.

If you like to strength train and play golf, you’re in for a real treat with our two day strength training program for golfers.  But it will not stop you from shanking it. Sorry, that part’s on you.

Strength Training Benefits For Golfers

There are always vanity benefits from pumping iron, but that’s not the focus. Sensibly programmed strength training has significant performance benefits; here are four of them, according to Swinscoe and Ekdahl.

Peter Drew/Unsplash

Power Production

“Contrary to what many golfers believe, golf is a game of well-controlled power, which means that each golf swing necessitates the proper transference of power from the lower to upper body. Power is built on strength, the fundamental principle that creates clubhead speed and distance. If you want the distance you deserve from your clubs, creating a powerful, efficient swing depends on strength training.” explains Ekdahl. The Faculty of Sports Science at the University of Leon conducted an 18-week strength training program on low handicap golfers. They most increased their explosive and maximal strength after the first six weeks and their golf driving performance after 12 weeks.

Golfer in the sand bunker using his sand wedge to get outPhoto by Peter Drew on Unsplash

Injury Prevention

“Golf is a repetitive, asymmetrical sport where you exert power and speed from zero, swinging nearly 100 times each round. This can lead to overuse injuries. The body needs tissue resiliency to weather golf’s asymmetry and repetitive nature. Strength training creates resilient

muscles that can withstand both acceleration and deceleration. Proper strength training also helps maintain flexibility for the golfer.” explains Ekdahl. This 2006 study concludes that strength training is needed for injury reduction and an improved golf swing.

Old men playing golf and setting up their putting linePhoto by Gene Gallin on Unsplash

Longevity & Performance

“There are many reasons golfers should strength train, but the most significant to me is longevity in the game and life. Muscle mass equates to a life span. Strength training puts more years in your life and more life in your years! Secondly, golf requires power. You cannot be powerful if you are not strong. Stronger, more powerful swings hit the ball further, increasing the fun level.” explains Swinscoe.

Main playing solo on the golf coursePhoto by Matt Aylward on Unsplash

Muscle and Movements Needed For Golf

Swinscoe and Ekdahl say the golf game’s foundation is built on your glutes, core, and fundamental human movements. While many golfers know this, many still don’t train these crucial muscles and movements, which is a big mistake. The core must be trained in anti-rotation and rotation, and the glutes must be trained bilaterally and unilaterally.

The movement patterns we train golfers with are fundamental to all human movements. These are to hinge, squat, push, pull, lunge, and rotate. By training these, we affect all the major muscle groups. The training magic as it relates to golf happens when we train these patterns in a fashion that connects the hips and shoulders through the core in what is referred to as cross-body patterns.

Cross-body patterns (opposite arm/opposite leg movements) will have maximum carryover to what you do on the course.

Furthermore, the rotator cuffs and upper- and mid-back muscles are necessary to keep shoulders healthy and help maintain better golf posture. Rows, cable chops, reverse fly, and shoulder external rotation are fantastic exercises to improve your golf game. Women, in particular, need to train forearms and grip strength, but men who strength train regularly most likely do not need more grip strength.

The 2-Day Strength Training Program For Golfers

It is now the time to put all this information into action. If you are serious about strength training and improving your golf game, this sample 2-day strength training program will put you on the right path. Alternate between the two workouts, doing at most three weekly workouts. The goal of this program is to get you better at golf; no need to overdo it.

Day 1 Strength Training Program For Golfers

1A. Bear crawl position hold with shoulder taps 3 x 10 reps per side.

1B. TRX Inverted Row 3 sets 12 reps

1C. DNS Star Pattern Side Plank- 3 sets 8 reps per side

2A. Trap Bar Dead Lift 4 sets x 6-8 reps

2B. Half-Kneeling Cable External Rotation at 90 Degrees 3 sets 10 reps

2C. Push-ups 3 sets 10 reps

3A. Step Ups 3 sets x 10 reps per side

3B. Med ball scoop tosses 3 sets 12 reps per side.

3C. Goblet Alternating Lateral lunges 3 sets of 90 seconds- 2 minutes. Loaded lightly so the form doesn’t deteriorate.

Day 2 Strength Training Program For Golfers

1A. Punch and Saw Turns 3 sets 10-15 reps per side.

1B. Lateral Band Pull in Sprinter Stance 3 sets 10-12 reps per side

1C. Split Stance Pallof press 12 reps per side.

2A. Lawnmower Lunges 3 sets 8 to 12 reps per side

2B. Push Ups On Dumbbells 3 sets 10 -20 reps

2C. Single Leg Bridge Press 3 sets 8 to 12 reps per side

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