If golf or golf fitness is your thing you will have noticed many posters like the ones below being posted all over the internet, the golf channel and golf magazines awash with stories of tour pros hitting the gym and undergoing physical transformations this off-season, and tweets about working hard in the gym aplenty. It seems everybody is getting on the, when it’s cold outside improve your game by improving your physical athleticism, bandwagon. (unsurprisingly, I think this is a great development!)
However many athletes looking to improve the performance don’t even seem to know where to begin. Here are 5 musts to make sure your gym workouts (and hard work) will carryover to success on the course this season.
1. Anti-ab training
Yes cable chops and rotational med ball throws are great exercises to teach core firing patterns. But chances are you’re just not ready for them yet. Without sufficient core strength first you won’t be able to perform them properly in the first. So do yourself a favour a spend a month of so developing core stability and strength first…
Replace all ab work with these 3 basic moves:
plank variation/ab wheel rollout iso-holds
side plank with rows
split stance pallof press hold
2. Get on one leg (and move laterally while you’re there)
Mike Boyle stated the all sports are played either in a split stance or side on posting weight from one leg to the other to generate force (the latter applies to golf), so it makes sense to train for sports this way. Lateral moves are brilliant for golfers as they replicate the plane of movement that the lower body moves in during the golf swing, thus can be used to develop the force development, deceleration and strength required in the golf swing in a plane specific manner. Do a single-leg movement 3x a week for 2 months.
Day 1: Dumbbell reverse lunge from deficit
Day 2: Single-leg hip thrusts
Day 3: Dumbbell lateral lunge
Day 1: Barbell bulgarian split squats
Day 2: One-leg dumbbell romanian deadlift
Day 3: Lateral Jumps (heidens)
3. Train for mobility
Too often, young athletes are so concerned about getting bigger and stronger when they hit the gym, they forget about training their bodies to move correctly. Mobility is more than being able to touch your toes. It’s the ability to move efficiently and effectively with equal balance, power and speed in all directions. A good mobility session should include (but not be limited to) the ankles, hips, shoulders and t-spine and use a variety of methods from dynamic mobilisations to band work, hurdle work, myofascial release techniques (e.g. foam rolling) and static stretching.
4. Better your squat
If the legs are the engine room of your golf swing then squats are the rocket fuel to increase your club head speed! Nothing targets the entire leg musculature through as much range of motion as squatting. Cleaning up your squat form is the quickest way to add pounds to the bar on your squat and therefore mph to your golf swing.
Goblet squats have been talked about by many strength coaches including Dan John and Mike Boyle and seem to be an almost magic bullet for improving squat form. Box squats are also a great way to help problems relating to knee position, butt tucking and sitting back in the squat.
Check out this article on squat form for some other great tips on getting your squat right.
5. Balance your chest and back.
The muscles of the chest, back, shoulders and triceps are the most used muscles in the upper body, during the golf swing. Happily, these muscles are also the exact muscles used in staple exercises such as the bench press and pull-up. Additionally, balance between the muscles of the chest and back is vital in allowing a properly executed shoulder turn in the golf swing. In order to ensure balance for every pressing movement, where elbow extension is the prime movement, a set of a pulling movement, where elbow flexion is the prime movement should be performed. Supersetting pulling and pushing movements is an excellent way to achieve this.