Why strength?

Maximal strength is the foundation stone for all athletes. All other physical capacities, such as power (after all, a guy with a 400 pound deadlift cleans more than a guy with a 150 pound deadlift), even balance and co-ordination depend on force production within the physical environment.

If strength improves, all other capacities improve with it to varying degrees

Unfortunately, golfers often seem reticent about accepting the need for strength. Often claiming that in such as technically demanding game as golf, time spent getting strong could be more productively spent improving technique and skill in the athletes particular sport. Or that technique contributes more to performance than strength. Ultimately though, it must be remembered that all sports depend on force production. Athletic performance depends either directly or indirectly on qualities of muscular strength. We must remember that strength builds the foundation for ALL other athletic qualities. If you do not possess great relative body strength, for example, you will never be able to run fast. This is due to the fact that all aspects of proper running technique require high levels of muscular strength. And this is just one example, many studies have also found a high correlation between an athletes jumping ability and agility in relation to their relative strength, and between chin up strength and running speed. What this means is that an athlete who is strong for his/her bodyweight will possess the ability to jump higher, move quicker, or swing faster. Indeed in golf, if you can’t achieve a proper turn, dynamic weight distribution, posture and power transfer through the core, you can’t make an effective golf swing.

There are countless studies demonstrating that increasing strength in golfers increases clubhead speed and therefore distance of the tee. However, as we are all to well aware golf is not a game of who can hit the longest drives – control, accuracy and short game skills all have a much more major effect on your score than distance, so that being the case surely strength isn’t all that necessary after all? Wrong! New research is starting to show that control, accuracy, and even a stat as vital as distance to hole after each shot are positively correlated to improving strength. Because you are stronger, fine motor control improves as each swing is relatively less stressful, and the likelihood of making a mistake — or a small movement pattern error — is less likely. Fine motor control essentially means more accuracy, more greens and more fairways hit.

An added bonus of strength training is injury prevention. Athletes who strength train tend to have fewer injuries. This is because strength training strengthens muscle attachments and increases density of bones at the sites of muscle origins and insertions. And if an injury does occur to an athlete who has been strength training properly, it will probably not be as serious and will tend to heal faster.

squat-strength-golf

The number one purpose of practice – be it technical, tactical, psychological, or physical aspects – is to improve performance. Strength training is a vital part of improving performance. The primary function of the body’s 600+ muscles is to contract to move body parts. And remember that only muscle can cause movement. The stronger the muscles and the more forceful the contractions, the faster and more effectively the golfer is able to swing!

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