The Six Biggest Myths in Golf Fitness
As a golf fitness professional, I spend most of my waking hours writing programs and protocols to help golfers perform better. The moment when a golfer starts to move and feel better, swing better, or post lower scores as a result of one of my programs is my greatest motivation. However, when I step out of my bubble of dedicated clients, the misconceptions and pseudo-science that seem to greet golfers in developing their fitness programs always shock me. Furthermore, this misinformation is stopping golfers achieving these moments of better movement, a better golf swing, or lower scores for themselves.
Indeed, I recently polled golfers on my social media communities for their opinions on golf fitness. Much of the results reflected long standing (and I had hoped long dead!) myths such as weight training reducing flexibility, making golfers too slow or too big to properly execute the swing. Writing this is my attempt to dispel some of the most commonplace fitness myths I see touted to golfers. So without further ado, let the myth busting commence!
Myth No. 1
Golfers shouldn’t lift weights because it will make them tight. This will ruin a player’s ability to swing.
Ah the big one! It amazes me this myth is still quite so prevalent to be honest. After all, look at Tiger Woods’ success since bulking up and massively increasing his strength levels after his Masters win as a lanky 21-year-old.
First of all, research has actually shown that resistance training is one of the most effective ways to develop functional mobility and flexibility. A properly designed strength program, in conjunction with playing golf, is the best way to make your strength and flexibility gains golf specific.
Let’s also not forget about injury prevention. Golf is a much more physical sport than most people think. You only need to look at force plate and biomechanical analysis of the forces on the body during the golf swing to get an understanding of this. Heck, guys are swinging a 44-to-46-inch club at well over 100 mph! Strength training is imperative to staying healthy and overcoming muscular imbalances created by the asymmetrical nature of the golf swing.
Finally, swinging a golf club is one of the most explosive activities in all of sports. Without a strong, powerful lower body, you’ll never reach your full potential.
Myth No. 2
Golfers shouldn’t bench press because it’s not “sport specific.”
In reality, no exercise is truly sport specific. We make the physical attributes gained in the weight room specific by playing golf and learning how to transfer these attributes to the course. Don’t get me wrong; certain exercises are more productive than others. And remember that it is impossible to duplicate the speed, intensity and technique of the golf swing in the weight room, and it’s something that golfers shouldn’t try to do.
The bottom line is that the bench press is a great, multi joint, free-weight exercise for developing strength in the chest, triceps and shoulders. And there’s nothing wrong with that! The chest, back and triceps musculature have been shown by Dr. Sergio Marta in multiple studies to be the most important muscles in the upper body for the golf swing.
I’m not saying that the bench press is the most important exercise for golfers, but it can and should be incorporated into the training programs of most golfers.
Myth No. 3
Olympic lifts are the only way to get explosive.
Olympic lifting is without doubt a great way to develop speed, power, explosiveness and overall athleticism. As countless strength coaches and studies have shown, they improve clubhead speed and lead to greater distance off the tee. While I’m not disputing their effectiveness, I do believe there are other more user-friendly and effective moves to develop power in the golf swing.
The Olympic lifts have a large learning curve and mastering the complex form required can be difficult and time consuming. After all, Olympic lifting is a sport in itself! Olympic weightlifters spend their entire lives practicing these lifts and some of these athletes still never perfect them! Research has shown simpler and much more teachable moves, such as the weighted squat jump bring all the benefits of the Olympic lifts to golfers without the learning curve.
Recent studies into power development in rotational sports have also shown that power is plane specific. That is, you only develop power in the direction of movement in which you are training. The Olympic lifting movements above are sagittal plane dominant (movement is up and down). With this in mind the golf swing, which features movements in the transverse plane (rotation movement) and frontal plane (movement is side to side), should be trained using movements with a rotational and/or lateral nature.
For these reasons I tend to opt for med-ball training, jump drills and lateral jumps to get power training in. Many of these lack any significant learning curve at all, provide great effect and have the happy coincidence of utilising movement in the same plane as the golf swing.
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Myth No. 4
Strength training is unsafe for kids.
Parents that wouldn’t hesitate to get their young children involved in sports such as football, gymnastics, basketball and indeed golf often fear that participating in a strength-training program is damaging to their children’s long term health and may even stunt their growth. Nothing can be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that running, jumping, swinging a golf club and many of the activities our children are involved in daily create loading on their bodies that is up to 10 times greater than most strength training exercises. In other words, the physical demands on a child’s body are far greater on the playground, golf course or running track compared to the weight room.
Parents who don’t let their children participate in resistance training could actually be increasing their children’s risk of injury on the athletic field, as weight training has been shown to have the same injury prevention benefits in children as in adults. Indeed, there have even been campaigns by organizations such as the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and the American Academy of Paediatrics promoting the benefits of participation in a properly designed and supervised resistance training program for children.
Prepubescent children shouldn’t lift maximal weights; they should lift weights that can be lifted for at least six repetitions with proper form. Strength training in this manner can be the most potent exercise stimulus for bone and muscle growth and development, as well as improving balance, coordination and kinaesthetic awareness, all of which are vital for a child’s athletic development. In fact, research has shown that young weightlifters have greater bone densities than individuals who don’t lift. The positive benefits of resistance training for bone health, injury prevention and improved athletic performance are far greater than the risks.
Myth No. 5
Lifting weights for high reps is more appropriate for golfers as this will “shape” and “tone” their muscles.
I really have no idea how this myth got started, but its prevalence is amazing. Especially considering it has absolutely zero scientific or factual evidence to support it!
Here are the facts. The main difference between a “lean and toned” physique and a “bulky” physique is the amount of body fat that surrounds your muscles. Basically, the “lean and toned” look that most people desire is a result of having muscle that isn’t hidden under layers of fat. And let’s not forget that the best way to build muscle is through strength training.
More importantly, with regards to training for golf, lifting light weights for high reps affects the musculoskeletal system in such a way as to build local muscular endurance. Muscular endurance specific to the golf swing (usually best developed by simply playing golf incidentally) is of course highly useful to golfers, as our sport requires multiple efforts over a long period of time.
Muscular endurance, however, has little to no carryover to any of the other physical qualities we need to address in order to perform better on the course. Strength, on the other hand, is the mother of all physical adaptations. All other physical capacities, such as power, speed, mobility, balance, muscular endurance and coordination depend on force production within the physical environment. If strength improves, all other capacities improve with it to varying degrees. With this being that case, strength training should form the heart, soul and major basis of your training programs for golf.
Myth No. 6
Golfers need to improve balance and build core strength by training on unstable surfaces.
This one, I have to admit, is my personal favorite! Unstable surface training (UST) has become an integral and expected part of many strength and conditioning programs, particularly in golf. Indeed, magazine covers and articles are abundantly promising a better swing, longer drives and lower scores from a few simple exercises performed on a stability ball.
Claims have been made for the effectiveness of UST for injury prehab and rehab, increasing power in the golf swing, increasing balance in the swing and improving swing mechanics. However, there is no evidence that UST reduces the likelihood of injury or improves performance in healthy, trained individuals.
In fact, studies have found that UST minimised improvements in plyometric and agility tests. Basically, the subjects of these studies who weren’t doing UST made bigger gains in power and speed. The other issue highlighted by the UST research is the specific nature of improvements made by trainees. Put bluntly, classic core work on unstable surfaces, such as stability ball crunches or Russian twists, doesn’t really carry over to anything at all, let alone a complex motion carried out whilst standing, like a golf swing.
Lastly, balance is best trained in the parameters it is to be used. Golf is a game played with both feet on a stable surface and should be trained this way. Additionally, significant anecdotal evidence is beginning to emerge that attempting to replicate sporting tasks on unstable surfaces actually impairs the learning of the skill through competing motor demands. In a sport as technically demanding as golf, this is unacceptable.
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The Wedge Guy: What really needs fixing in your game?
I always find it interesting to watch how golfers interact with the practice range, if they do so at all. I certainly can figure out how to understand that some golfers just do not really want to get better — at least not enough to spend time on the practice range trying to improve.
What is most puzzling to me is how many golfers completely ignore the rationale for going to the range to at least warm up before they head to the first tee. Why anyone would set aside 4-6 hours of their day for a round of golf, and then not even give themselves a chance to do their best is beyond me. But today, I’m writing for those of you who really do want to improve your golf scores and your enjoyment of the game.
I’ve seen tons of research for my entire 40 years in this industry that consistently shows the number one goal of all golfers, of any skill level, from 100-shooter to tour professional, is simply to hit better golf shots more often. And while our definition of “better” is certainly different based on our respective skill level, the game is just more fun when your best shots happen more often and your worst shots are always getting better.
Today’s article is triggered by what we saw happen at the Valspar tour event this past Sunday. While Taylor Moore certainly had some big moments in a great final round, both Jordan Spieth and Adam Schenk threw away their chances to win with big misses down the stretch, both of them with driver. Spieth’s wayward drive into the water on the 16th and Schenk’s big miss left on the 18th spelled doom for both of them.
It amazes me how the best players on the planet routinely hit the most God-awful shots with such regularity, given the amazing talents they all have. But those guys are not what I’m talking about this week. In keeping with the path of the past few posts, I’m encouraging each and every one of you to think about your most recent rounds (if you are playing already this year), or recall the rounds you finished the season with last year. What you are looking for are you own “big misses” that kept you from scoring better.
Was it a few wayward drives that put you in trouble or even out of bounds? Or maybe loose approach shots that made birdie impossible and par super challenging? Might your issue have been some missed short putts or bad long putts that led to a three-putt? Most likely for any of you, you can recall a number of times where you just did not give yourself a good chance to save par or bogey from what was a not-too-difficult greenside recovery.
The point is, in order to get consistently better, you need to make an honest assessment of where you are losing strokes and then commit to improving that part of your game. If it isn’t your driving that causes problems, contain that part of practice or pre-round warm-ups to just a half dozen swings or so, for the fun of “the big stick”. If your challenges seem to be centered around greenside recoveries, spend a lot more time practicing both your technique and imagination – seeing the shot in your mind and then trying to execute the exact distance and trajectory of the shot required. Time on the putting green will almost always pay off on the course.
But, if you are genuinely interested in improving your overall ball-striking consistency, you would be well-served to examine your fundamentals, starting with the grip and posture/setup. It is near impossible to build a repeating golf swing if those two fundamentals are not just right. And if those two things are fundamentally sound, the creation of a repeating golf swing is much easier.
More from the Wedge Guy
- The Wedge Guy: It’s not all about distance
- The Wedge Guy: Are you really willing to get better at golf?
- The Wedge Guy: Anatomy of a wedge head
Clement: It’s hard to hit the driver badly when you’re doing this
Mu and I go through the swing of the driver in slow motion to show the difference between hitting at the ball and then trying to move it to target versus collecting the ball from the top of the tee and releasing it into the flight plan. Check out the video to learn what this means for your golf swing.
Also: Congrats on Savy getting another personal best of 337 yards at the WLD event in Mesquite!
How to hit a fade…according to YouTube, a robot, and GolfWRX members
How to hit a fade. At some point, if you aren’t a habitual slicer of the golf ball and are able to hit a draw with regularity, in your quest to become a better golfer, you’re going to want to know how to do this.
Without debating the relative merits of a draw versus a fade, it’s agreed that working the golf ball both ways is key to to scoring, positioning off the tee, and risk minimization. If you’re a golfer who is currently only slinging draws, we have some advice for you on how to hit a fade from three very different sources.
How to hit a fade…
…according to a robot (that is, A.I. language model ChatGPT):
A fade is a type of golf shot that curves gently from left to right (for a right-handed golfer). If you want to know how to hit a fade, follow these steps:
- Set up for the shot: Aim your clubface at the target, but align your feet, hips, and shoulders slightly to the left of the target. This open stance will help promote a left-to-right spin on the ball.
- Grip the club: Hold the club normally, but slightly weaken your grip by turning your hands slightly to the left (again, for a right-handed golfer). This will help you hit the ball with an open clubface.
- Swing the club: On your backswing, keep your clubface square to the target for as long as possible. Then, on your downswing, try to swing slightly from the inside to out, which will help produce the left-to-right spin on the ball. Finally, make sure to follow through towards the target with a high finish.
- Practice: Hitting a consistent fade can take some practice. Spend time on the driving range and experiment with different grip and swing adjustments until you find what works best for you.
Remember, hitting a fade is not about hitting the ball harder, it’s about controlling the spin and direction of the ball. With practice, you can learn to hit a reliable fade that can help you navigate tricky golf course layouts.
Hitting a fade takes practice, and it may take some trial and error to find the right adjustments for your swing. It’s also important to note that a fade is not necessarily the ideal shot shape for every situation, so it’s important to be comfortable with hitting a variety of shots on the golf course.
How to hit a fade…according to the most-watched video on YouTube on the subject
With more than one million views on YouTube, this video from Any and Piers of MeAndMyGolf not only covers hitting a fade but also discussing drawing the golf ball as well as hitting it high and low.
…according to GolfWRXers
And of course, our GolfWRX forum members have opinions on the subject.
The appropriately named PreppySlapCut said: “If the face is open to the path, the ball is going to fade. There’s several adjustments you can make to encourage that to happen, it’s just a question of what feels best for you and allows you to do it most consistently.”
Bladehunter says: “For me just the sensation of taking the club back outside your hands , and then swing left with a face square to target , while turning hard as you can makes for a pretty straight flight that won’t hook. Unless you stall and let your hands pass you.”
“That’s my take as an upright swinger If you’re really flat it’s going to be tough to time up and never have the two way miss Because you’re always coming from the inside and will rely on timing the face open or shut to see a fade or draw . For me it’s just set the face at address and feel like you hold it there until impact”
Dpd5031 says: “Had a pro teach me this. Aim a little left, stance slightly open, still hit it from the inside (just like your draw), but unwind chest hard letting handle follow your rotation so toe never passes heel. He called it a “drawy fade.” Ball takes off almost looking like it’s going to draw, but tumbles over to the right instead of left. Cool thing is ya dont give up any distance doing it this way as opposed to cutting across it.”
Scottbox says: “Jon Rahm is a good example. Watch the hand path of his backswing– his hands are not as “deep” as someone who draws the ball (i.e. Rory). And even though he has a slightly shut face, Rahm rotates his chest and hips very hard. Because there’s less depth to his backswing, the club gets more in front of him at P6. He’s most likely 1-2* outside in at last parallel. Brooks Koepka has a longer swing, but similar, in terms of his hand path– well above the shaft plane going up with less depth to his hands at the top, and slightly above the plane coming down.”
“Most good modern players rotate pretty hard with their hips and chest to stabilize the face, but the difference between those who draw it and those who hit a baby cut is often seen in the way they “engineer” their backswing patterns.”
Check out more of the “how to hit a fade” discussion in the forum thread.
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Apr 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm
Nick – I started to read the first comment and then realized there was going to be a bunch of nit picking dumb comments and you seemed to handle them much nicer than I do. Great article, totally agree with every point, I just wish more people were trying to get this message out instead of selling their newest miracle gadget. Keep up the good work.
Apr 6, 2014 at 7:50 pm
Couldn’t agree more about the prevalence of gimmicky gadgets in golf fitness to be honest. Thanks for the comment!
Apr 4, 2014 at 9:55 am
Interesting article and a lot of what you say is right however I would make a point on a couple of the items within the article.
Tiger Woods, although he did bulk up from skinny lanky kid that was. One of the biggest aspects of Tigers game was actually the delicacy of his touch around and on the greens. Who can fail to remember the clutch putt after clutch putt he made throughout many tournaments. His size didn’t affect his touch, however it could be argued that his insistence on such an intense regime is now coming back to bite him with some of the back and knee issues he is and has suffered.
Of course lifting weights isn’t a bad thing, however how many amateur golfers have a lot of time to spare? The odds are that they will go to the gym and train chest and tris, back and bis, legs or shoulders, a spot of cardio and then leave. No one factors in any warm up and warm down. This is why there the issue arises, the training regime will be sound, but 8/10 regimes lack a proper stretch routine. Even the pro sports mean nd women lack it. Employing strength and endurance coaches but not flexibility and agility coach.
Strength can also be increased by just using the body’d own weight. How many folk can bench press a couple of plates yet only do a couple of chins, half dozen press ups or stay in a plank for 10 seconds before their body gives over to uncontrollable shakes?
My final point would refer to point 6, golfers do need core strength and balance, however they can easily do it on a flat surface. Someone mentioned earlier about the muscles in the legs firing away when in a balance. Well, stand on one leg, bend over at the waist and take the arms out wide, see how easy it is.
Overall we now know so much more about what suits the body than we did even 15 years ago. Evryone is different and reacts to various regimes. However one thing is certain, if you don’t have an effective flexibility program the intensity of your regime will come back to haunt you. Stay strong and stay bendy it is possible to do both. 😉
Apr 4, 2014 at 6:13 pm
Thanks for the comment. I would like to address some of the points you have raised if I may. Obviously the short game is a vital part of the game and is probably not as directly affected by increasing strength levels (although this is an interesting area of research and strength may have more of a role to play in consistency of swing and short game shots than you would think). However being able to drive the ball 350yrds, hit low long iron shots, hit high stopping balls out of high rough, etc also help with your ability to shot lower scores and these require great strength levels! Its not the be all and end all obviously but it helps is my point. On the injury issue, research is unequivocal on this…strength training makes you less prone to injury and faster to recover if injury does occur!
Gone are the days of body part splits in training for sports performance, sessions are usually full body as this is more time efficient. A good strength coach, indeed sessions for my clients, will include a full array of flexibility, mobility and speed work in a session alongside the strength and still have the client in and out the door within an hour. All of my clients are more than happy to trade 1 hour 3x a week for better health and better golf.
Bodyweight exercises are great and we do use them a lot. They teach kinaesthetic awareness and body control which is also a plus in a technical sport like golf. However they are often difficult to externally load or cannot be loaded heavy enough to elicit training effect once the trainee reaches a reasonable level of strength so free weight exercises become more appropriate. Strong is strong usually a seen very few guys (unless they are in heavyweight strength categories, in which case of course their numbers on bodyweight exercises will suffer) who can squat or deadlift twice their bodyweight fail to be able to crank out 10 or 15 pull-ups or hold a plank for several minutes.
I think there is some confusion over what I meant with no. 6: I am not advocating golfers forgo core work, just that core work on an unstable surface is an incredibly ineffective modality and golfers should seek core work on stable surfaces, and planes specific to golf. Same goes for balance training, golf is played on a stable surface with two legs on the ground and significant dynamic lateral and rotational weight transfer, as such we should train balance in this manner, not on an unstable surface.
Well put. Stay strong and stay flexible, it is most definitely possible to do both!
Apr 6, 2014 at 10:42 pm
Why does Tiger Woods have to swing so much harder/faster to hit the golf ball the same distance as the other pros? He blew out a knee and now back surgery! Good bye Tiger.
Apr 3, 2014 at 2:19 pm
i would agree with all but # 6. While I get your point I believe this trainings help use(train) those “little” muscles along with ligs & tends that don’t always get specific work. I forces one to engage core more often. You do specify unstable surfaces, but I think we can all agree you should work on stability and the core in some fashion or another. I personally like using UST drills for that.
Apr 3, 2014 at 7:18 pm
Thanks Kyle. Stability and the core are of course important. Pretty sure that unstable surface training is not the best way to achieve this though. The research on healthy (i.e. not rehabing) trainees is pretty unequivocal on this. Utilising core exercises like the turkish get-up will develop core strength and stability in a manner much functional to the golf swing. Strength training at high reps is also a more effective way to ligament and tendon strength as well as isolate some ‘smaller’ muscles that it is useful to work specifically. But then again, I do believe part of physical trainings effectiveness is mental, if you feel it does you good it probably will, so who am I to say don’t sprinkle in some UST to your strength training if you want too! Just don’t focus on it too much please!
Apr 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm
I am a proponent of P90X. I was a wrestler in high school and have been on various workout programs for the last 40 years. I started with P90X about 5 years ago and repeated it 5 times in row. I went from an overweight somewhat in shape 5′ 11″ 225 pounds down to a lean and mean 179. I had strength at 55 I hadn’t had in 20 years. I lost an inch and a half on my Biceps alone. I went from doing 17 pushups to 45. 1 pullup to 9. A diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis put me on the bench for a while but I have since moved on to P90X3. I started this December 23rd and have lost 22 pounds. I am a believer….just push play.
Apr 3, 2014 at 7:10 pm
Apr 2, 2014 at 7:01 pm
This is the best thing I have ever read on golfwrx. I opened this with my eyes rolling thinking I’d be seeing the opposite(per the norm in the golf fitness)…. Bravo, I hope everyone reads this!
Apr 2, 2014 at 7:16 pm
Thanks for the kind words Taylor. So do I!
Apr 2, 2014 at 3:04 pm
Great article, thanks Nick. When I hit my mid 30’s, golf started aggravating my back. It may have been a blessing in disguise, as it forced me to diligently get into the gym for strength training. A couple questions:
1. I like the medicine ball rotation – but there is no wall to slam against in my gym. Any alternative suggestions?
2. I have had good results with back extensions in a 45° roman chair. I don’t see this type of exercise mentioned on your site. Is this something you would recommend against?
Apr 2, 2014 at 6:11 pm
Thanks Thom. Good to hear another example of the benefits of strength training on golf performance and injury prevention.
The ideal solution to the med ball wall is to have a partner to throw to. Alternatively, the key really is an exercise to develop power. Lateral jumps are probably your best bet as they include a lateral element similar to that in the golf swing. Check them out here http://strongergolf.org/2013/08/29/heidens-lateral-power-golf-swing/ squat jumps or box jumps, dumbbell weighted jumps, dumbbell snatch, standing long jumps, seated box jumps, med ball floor slams or even plyo push-ups are also useful in developing power in the golf swing.
Yes definitely use back extension. the hip hinge (as in a back extension) is a vital movement for all athletes including golfers. Personally I prefer kettlebell swings or cable pull throughs as they incorporate some power work and require you to control and stabilise your entire body. That said if back extensions work for you carry on! Just remember also to keep including your big compound lower body lifts like squats and deadlifts.
Apr 2, 2014 at 1:01 pm
This off season I have started doing 5×5 exercises for the purpose of losing weight, getting stronger and being a better golfer. And this article is very nice since I have been searching for articles online about lifting weights and how it can help my golf game.
Seeing how Tiger Woods become jacked up is really inspiring because most people I talk to laugh at me when I said I am lifting weights for my golf game. Maybe because most of the tour players, at least before, really don’t look like someone who has stepped into a gym.
Since I live in Canada, the winters are long and harsh so I have spent most of the winter lifting weights and running indoors. I hope that this summer it will have a big effect on my game.
By the way should you recommend lifting weights even if the golfing season comes? If so my many times should I lift then? Maybe 2 or 3 x a week or less?
Apr 2, 2014 at 6:00 pm
Miguel, 5×5 is a great place to be for strength gains and better golf. Sure you will see a big pay off after your winter of hard work.
This is a difficult one to answer without knowing you really and depends on how much golf you are playing and how much you are training now and your recovery ability. Best advice is to continue as you are with frequency of your strength training and see how your body responds with the added golf. However I would definitely drop the volume on assistance work and muscular endurance work you are doing (this won’t be needed as you are playing more golf anyway). Additionally, move to more golf specific moves like lateral and rotational moves and power moves rather than just 5×5 on compound strength moves.
Apr 2, 2014 at 11:43 am
I have to commend you on this terrific article. I’m a competitive powerlifter and recreational golfer (hopefully I’ll be competitive in both soon) and I see and hear a lot of awful claims and training techniques every day on both golf training and fitness overall. Thank you for spreading the truth, I hope people listen to your advice rather than than refuting it. Keep up the great work!
Apr 2, 2014 at 5:51 pm
Thank you Hayden! I hope people are beginning to get our message. And great to have you on board as a golfer, we need more powerlifters in golf! 😉
Apr 2, 2014 at 9:35 am
Well written! However, I disagree with #4. I am a Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor as well as a health educator in the early childhood world. Kids need to be involved in active play both indoors and outdoors at young ages. If they are to do ‘exercises’ they should be either isokinetic or band resistance ‘exercises’ as well as free body exercises. We need to focus less on getting kids to understand reps/sets and instead teach them body awareness, effort awareness and relationship awareness through fun and inclusive activities. Hopping and skipping generate osteoblast development just as ‘weight training’ does so why not have kids doing high impact social activities when they are young.
“Unsafe” is not really even a factor in this decision, we all know that with good guidance and a well thought out exercise program, safety should never be an issue. I think the issue here is the myth of what is ‘best appropriate’ for young children and that makes me think that reps and sets is not the answer. Outdoor/indoor MVPA and unstructured/structured activity sounds better to me and the 100’s of kids I have worked with.
Apr 2, 2014 at 11:02 am
The six rep rule is taken from Zatsiorsky’s guidelines and does not incapsulate my entire strategy when coaching kids, merely the part I felt applied most to this article. I usually utilise bodyweight moves almost entirely for younger children and less experienced trainees. I am also broadly anti-early specialisation so our sessions involve many other games and activities to build kinaesthetic awareness, etc whilst driving the most important aspect which is of course fun.
I hole heartedly take your point regarding hopping and skipping and perhaps should endeavour to make this a larger part of training for our more physically able and athletic kids (do still however have some reservations about the use of any sort of plyometric exercise on a skeletal system already carrying too much mass shall we say, don’t know if you agree?)
I totally agree here. Unsafe isn’t really an issue with proper programming and guidance. Although personal experience, for me at least, has shown that many parents still fear any type of strength training for their kids when it has many benefits as we know, and should not be feared.
Apr 1, 2014 at 9:37 pm
Nice article! I’m in Canada so each off season I hit the gym to get some strength back that I lose during the summer months when I spend more time on course and less in the gym. I usually work around a 5×5 type program with some other aspects worked in, but this year I started adding a few more Oly lifts. I’ve been doing cleans and snatches (power and full for both) and found that it forced me to work on hip, ankle and shoulder flexibility that I hadn’t focused on as much previously, so that’s an added bonus for me.
As someone who puts in a lot of reps on the range and does a ton of video work, I LOVE working on my form on the complex Oly moves. It’s technical, complicated and takes time and I think that’s why I fell in love with it so much. It’s the strength training equivalent of the golf swing.
I can’t wait for this long winter to pass and to see how it pays off on the course. Look forward to additional articles from you.
Apr 2, 2014 at 6:24 am
Thanks Mark! 5×5 and olympic lifts are a great combination for golf. Especially if you have the time, energy and love to properly master the oly lifts they will pay off big time. Never thought of the comparison between learning the oly lifts and the golf swing but yes you are spot on…so many similarities there!
Thanks again, as do I.
Best of luck with the game once the winter is out of the way, sure your hard work in the gym will reap it rewards.
Apr 1, 2014 at 12:09 pm
Great article! This past winter (which started in mid-November here in Rochester NY and still isn’t over) I’ve focused on strength training. Mostly a regimen of bench press, squats, deadlifts, shoulder press, bent over rows along with some other muscle specific exercises. I added some cardio, too. Basically a 5×5 regimen with a few more exercises.
It is nice to see an article that reinforces the fact that strength training is essential to general health AND your golf game. This winter I’ve been told “You should be doing yoga instead”, “you aren’t working enough on your balance”, and “you are harming your joints.”
The truth is my shoulder pain has disappeared, my back (sore from hours sitting at a desk) feels better than it did when I was in my 30s, and I’m the strongest I’ve ever been. Early work at the range seems promising, and I can’t wait to see the impact on my game this year.
Apr 2, 2014 at 6:15 am
Thanks Todd! 5×5 is an awesome place to start and I love the compound exercise choices. Exactly, there are so many myths surrounding strength training and it’s perils. However in reality strength is an awesome physical adaptation that in my experience improves most other things! Best of luck with the new season, sure you’ll be very happy with the results of you’re winters hard work!
Apr 1, 2014 at 9:18 am
Great article Nick! I have been rehabing both a knee and back injury (well, the back is more pain than anything), and I don’t think it’s going all that well. When I play a round of golf, usually by hole 13 or 14 my lower back on the leading edge (my lower right) begins to hurt in the golf stance. This also happens when I’m washing dishes, sweeping, or doing any chore that involves that slightly bent over pose. Any advice on strengthening and PT exercises I could do for this area?
Apr 2, 2014 at 6:10 am
Thanks Ben! I don’t know without doing a physical screening on you obviously, but assuming your a like 80-90% of the population with a desk job. Injuries to the lower back are usually caused or exacerbated by poor thoracic spine mobility. Take a look at the few articles from my blog which explain what your thoracic spine is and how to get mobility up to scratch (bonus alert: you’ll get more shoulder turn out of this too!) Would also recommend some work strengthening and improving mobility in the lats, think lots of rowing exercise variations (steer clear of barbell bent over rows tho as these will not do well with your lower back, standing cable/resistance band rows, face pulls or band pull-aparts are probably your best bets) The knee injury could be a stability issue so incorporate lots of single legs work (lunges, reverse lunges, split-squats, step-ups etc). Hope this helps.
Apr 2, 2014 at 6:19 am
Sorry Ben, forgot to add those links didn’t I!? Again hope the advice gives some ideas as to where to go. http://strongergolf.org/2013/11/03/thoracic-spine-what/ http://strongergolf.org/2013/09/05/thoracic-rotation-golf-swing/
Mar 31, 2014 at 10:09 pm
Awesome article, Nick. As a former gymnast, my flexibility was always there, but not always the power. Largely because I had trained for different muscle groups. However, when it came to strength training, even in gymnastics, it was focused strength moves, one exercise at a time. Your Olympic lift illustration couldn’t be more applicable. Thank you.
Apr 1, 2014 at 6:44 am
Thanks David. Not everyone is as lucky as you so some will need to work on the flexibility, it is important of course. But totally agree, almost everyone completely underestimates the importance of strength to golfers.
Mar 31, 2014 at 8:41 pm
As a physical therapist and strength coach it is so refreshing to read some quality training information that is evidence based and practical in the golf world. Unfortunately many of my pt counterparts propagate the unstable surface/flexibility myth that hinders performance. Sport practice is “sport specific training”. Getting strong is sport non-specific and the best performance enhancer. Great stuff!
Mar 31, 2014 at 8:55 pm
Thanks for all your support Kyle. I must admit I have come across many like pts myself. If we keeping pushing the message of solid strength training advice loud enough, and engage golfers and fitness professionals alike, we will end up with a better industry and more importantly better (and happier) clients!
Mar 31, 2014 at 3:46 pm
Great article. Living in Ohio as I do, I spend a good four to five months indoors whenever it gets cold and I can’t play. When the snow flies I hit the gym to build strength for golf. Golf pushes me to lift more and lift harder… it’s always easier to make gains in the gym when you have a goal in mind, or at least a tangible reason to push yourself. With every weight increase I picture my longest drives, and I imagine them going further.
The real core reason behind my gym routine is to build explosive strength, so when I’m out there on the tee box or hitting from the fairway I can focus my mind completely on control. The power is always there when I need it, without even ‘trying’ to increase clubhead speed… I know it’s there, because I did my homework over the winter months.
Mar 31, 2014 at 7:27 pm
Thanks AJ! Totally agree. Living in an often cold and wet England myself, it’s great to see the hard work of an off-season in the gym come to fruition come the start of the season.