1. ‘Golf-specific’ strengthening exercises are not appropriate or necessary when generally weak. It’s much more valuable to become strong overall, and only then pursue golf-specific strength.
I’ve said this before in a load of articles but I think it’s worth making the point that this applies to the young athlete as well- possibly even more so! Many parents look for golf specific fitness drills for their young golfers, without recognising that the aspiring athletes cannot do a single quality pull-up or push-up, are often times missing major movement patterns altogether, and have little or no physical activity other than golf, so have already built up an alarming amount of asymmetries associated with that.
Particularly within golf, we are often guilty of building specific movement and strength on poor general movement/strength, but sport skills are built on general athleticism.
2. The importance of humeral and scapular function in the golf swing.
3D analysis from Mark Bull is beginning to emerge that can help us understand the exact stretch shortening cycles in use during the golf swing, and the forces they produce. This has given use a huge insight into how important humeral and scapular function on the ribcage area.
This leads us too a few considerations as those working with golfers or that are golfers ourselves:
- The merit of SMR work in these areas.
- The importance of teaching proper scapular function.
- Challenging that scapular function by pushing and pulling in multiple planes of motion and asymmetrical stances.
3. Core Strength Training Should Trump Core Endurance Training.
Many training programs heavily prioritise development of core endurance, with higher rep ranges and longer duration isometric holds. While endurance is important, I would argue the ability to generate repeated bouts of higher threshold contractions would have much greater implications to spinal protection, athletic development, and resiliency, while also making the lower threshold contractions less stressful to the body.
A simple way to do this is to alter the methods used to get to a specific volume of training. For instance, let’s say you want to do three minutes of planking. You could do one long sustained plank for 180 seconds, or you could do 18 bouts of maximum intensity 10 second holds, where the goal is to try to contract everything so hard that your hair follicles turn into diamonds and you make it rain like never before. The three-minute sustained plank will challenge you, but you’ll be able to still do something afterwards. The 18 rounds of 10 seconds max effort planks will wreck you.
Consider it for strength training as well. Instead of doing 3 sets of 10 with a moderate weight, use a more challenging weight to get through 6 sets of 5 and using an appreciably heavier weight.
For lower capacity clients, this can be a great way of building up volume for those who may not have the endurance to go through longer sets or bigger volumes all at once. It also allows for more set-up and learning opportunities for each exercise than doing one or two larger volume sets would allow.