The game of golf is transitioning right before our eyes. With players like Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau putting on muscle mass and striping 320+ yard drives down the fairway. How have they transformed their body? Strength training, and proper nutrition of course.
Due to the popularity of golfers working out, there have been many misguided and/or uneducated people training. My goal in this article is to give basic guidance and set the foundation for those looking to train properly for golf.
The three keys I will discuss are the following:
Mobility is the combination of two sides of a spectrum: flexibility and stability. Each person needs to address these two areas differently depending on their body. If you are someone who is stiff, you could work more on flexibility. If you are someone who is loose, you probably need to work more on stability. This is not always how it is, but a good starting point.
The two areas of focus for golf are the thoracic spine (T-Spine) and the hips. Both work together in the swing and need not only to be able to rotate, but also have the strength to withstand 100+ swings a round to prevent injury. That is why it is important to consider both flexibility exercises and stability exercises.
Below are examples of flexibility and stability exercises for the T-Spine and hips.
T-Spine Flexibility: Quadruped T-Spine Mob
Hip Flexibility: Hip CARs
T-Spine Stability: Yoga Push-Up
Hip Stability: 90/90 Hip Mob
For more information on mobility exercises, check out this article I wrote.
Now, this is the part where we work on building that Bryson muscle. No, you should not be lifting like a bodybuilder; still working out for performance and accomplished with a well-thought out program designed for not only golf, but your needs. To keep it simple, I will go over a few basic strength exercises designed to improve strength and build muscle mass all while improving movement.
Three areas of focus are hip extension, core stability, and shoulder strength. Each plays an important role in increasing distance, but more importantly, decreasing risk of injury. Below are example exercises for all three.
Hip Extension: Single Leg RDL
Core Stability: Pallof Press
Shoulder Strength: Single Arm Row
These are just a few of many possible movements that can be done to work on foundational strength as a golfer.
Now for the “fun” stuff. In order to produce club head speed of 100+ mph you need to be powerful and coordinate your entire body. In the weight room, there are drills you can do to improve your rotational power. The key to these exercises is to have the intent behind it. What I mean is, if you want to be powerful, you need to train in a powerful fashion. Going through the motions and being lackadaisical will be counterproductive. Below are three examples of power exercises that will improve your ability to swing the golf club faster.
Again, make sure you are giving each rep all you got to get the most out of it.
At the end of the day, golf is a game that you get better with by playing more. If following a proper training program can reduce the risk of injury, it will help you stay on the course lowering your handicap instead of sitting on the couch raising not only your weight, but the amount of balls you put in the water!
And if my word isn’t enough, check out this article where Rory Mcllroy talks about the impact fitness has had on his performance. It also gives a little sneak peak into what his programs look like!
Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts on strength and conditioning for golfers!