Strength and conditioning programs are imperative for all high level athletes to achieve peak performance. This has been a well known fact for decades now with copious amounts of research to affirm that claim. That being said, why are golf athletes just recently being introduced to the strength and conditioning world? Golf is no different than other sports in the fact that it requires large amounts of upper extremity and lower extremity strength and power. Combine strength and power training with adequate flexibility and mobility, golfers can begin to reach their full potential.
The golf swing is an extremely intricate movement that requires precision and accuracy to play at a high level. Unfortunately, that is only half of the battle. A golfer also needs to produce large amounts of power in order to hit the ball far enough to be effective on the course. I want to start by discussing the importance of upper extremity strength and power and why it is important in the golf swing. There is an extremely complex relationship between muscles in the upper body that are meticulously contracting and stretching to generate power during the golf swing. Some of the most important muscles include the pectoralis major, the deltoids, the trapezius musculature, the rhomboids, and all the way down to the small supporting rotator cuff musculature of the shoulder. If any of these muscle groups are lacking in strength, there will be “leaks” in your swing where you are likely losing valuable speed or distance. That being said, anybody can walk into a gym and find a machine or an exercise that trains these different muscles, the importance is how you train them. The golf swing is only about a second long in total duration, so golf training should emulate that. In the golf program I created, which will be linked below, I stress the importance of ballistic, high power movements to train your muscles in a similar way to how you swing the club. That should then translate directly to your golf swing resulting in increased club head speed and distance.
The lower body training is no different than previously described above with the upper body. The main power generators in the golf swing for the lower body include the gluteal musculature, especially glute max and glute med. The thigh musculature which includes the quadriceps muscle group and the hamstring muscle group are also extremely important. So as previously stated, finding not only the right exercises, but also the right dosage to your lower body training so it translates to your golf game is imperative.
There are two sides to every coin though, and when referencing the golf swing flexibility and mobility are equally as important. One of the most commonly referenced terms in golf that is related to mobility is the “x-factor”. The “x-factor” is the difference between the golfer's hip turn and shoulder turn at the top of the swing and has been proven to generate increased club head speeds and overall distance. So where does this motion come from? The ability of the lumbar and thoracic spine to rotate over a stable base (the pelvis). This big rotation and quick stretch allow the muscles to act similar to a spring or rubber band producing even more force. So having good lumbar and thoracic mobility to be able to create this x-factor coupled with a strong upper and lower body enables you to generate large amounts of power to increase overall club head speed and distance to your game.
As mentioned previously, I have created a 12 week program that will help golfers improve their golf game through strength and conditioning so if you are interested in elevating your game check out the link below.