Fitness Training to Improve Your Golf Swing
Article by Michael Coursey
It is often heard from amateur golfers about how training with weights can make them feel “tight” and, as a result, ruins their golf swing. As someone who follows the PGA Tour extensively I can not agree with this point of view. It is well known that the best players on the PGA Tour today workout regularly. Many praise the benefits of their exercises in the development and power of their golf swing.
Weight training is NOT bad for the golfer if done correctly to work the right groups of muscles and in a way that enhances both power and flexibility.
Consequently, the reasons why amateurs do not workout are excuses rather than legitimate reasons. The difficulty that amateurs have with weight training or working out in relation golf is how to do it correctly to develop the proper attributes to a great swing.
Many amateurs at this point get side-tracked, frustrated, and end up thinking weight training is bad for golf. A typical weight training program used at a majority of health clubs would be detrimental to a good golf swing. These types of programs can make you feel “tight” which, naturally, would poorly affect your golf play and leave you frustrated with any weight training program.
There is a reason why these general physical training programs are adverse to golfers is the inability of the training to account for what is required of the body during a good golf swing. Getting the proper physical conditioning and training for your body is one of the best golf swing tips I can recommend.
Golfers need to be very aware of some important points during weight training pertaining to the golf swing. Primarily, any training program for golf needs to be specific to the needs of the golf swing. In this I mean that a training program develops the body to the proper positions, movements, and requirements of your sport.
It is true that everyone’s swing is a little different, but the basic parts are the same. All golfers need to rotate around a fixed spine angle, shift weight back and forth during the swing, generate high clubhead speed, square the club face on impact, and finish the swing in a balanced, final posture.
The main purpose of a cross-specific fitness program is to physically train and create a better golf swing. This creates a transfer of training effect on the golf course. Simply stated the training you do in the gym pays dividends on the course.
Creating a weight training program for golf is a simple process. The first place to begin is with flexibility. A golfer needs to be flexible. Flexibility is also the most ignored attribute in any physical fitness routine. Since the golf swing requires you to swing through a long range of motion your body must be very flexible. Parts of the body that need flexibility for golf are: the hamstrings, lower back, hips, and shoulders. Many times the an amateur’s swing can improve from just adding flexibility exercises to their training program. During golf swing instruction this is one of the single most important physical attributes to consider.
Balance training is another key aspect in training for golf. Balance allows the body to control its center of gravity and move efficiently. Balance exercises address both the nervous and muscular systems of the body creating greater efficiency in its ability to control body movements and center of gravity.
After you look at the flexibility and balance components of a training program for golf, now is the time to focus on the “weight training” side of the equation. As stated before, the golf swing requires the development of strength within the muscles of the body. This muscular strength maintains a fixed spine angle, creates an efficient weight transfer, and develops clubhead speed. Remember all the exercises in a cross-specific training program for golf must revolve around the movements of the swing, and create a benefit to your play on the course.
Developing strength for the golf swing is very different from “American football” or “bodybuilding” strength exercises. The golf swing uses the whole the body, from feet to fingertips. As a result, golfers need to strengthen the entire body cross-specifically to the movements of the golf swing. One key to strength training exercises for golf is to integrate the entire body into exercise patterns instead of isolating a specific muscles. When you swing a golf club you use your entire body, and as a result the strength training part of your program must incorporate full body strengthening. Exercises such as ball crunches, Russian twists, single leg squats are beneficial strength training exercises for golf.
The final component of a golf specific training program is endurance training. The golf swing is a repetitive, full body movement. In a single round of golf the swing is repeated many times. During one week on the PGA Tour a player may swing the golf club more than 1000′s times. It is critical to develop the endurance of your muscular system to keep steady performance. Once the body is fatigued, the ability to swing the golf club properly results in missed swings, lost distance, and poor shots. Consequently, you need to swing consistently to score well.
In summary, weight training and working out is beneficial to the golfer, if it is done correctly. The wrong training program will hinder your golf game. Choose a training program that is cross-specific to the golf swing and complements your swing mechanics on the golf course. This training should incorporate flexibility, balance, strength, endurance, and power exercises to enhance the golf swing. This provides the most benefits to your body and golf game.
About the Author
Michael Coursey is an amateur golfer that is also very interested in health and fitness topics. He lives and works in the Atlanta area and has published several blogs including one focused on Golf Swing Tips.