Training the Golf Athlete

Professional golfers are now stronger, fitter and more powerful than 20 years ago, giving them the ability to strike the ball harder and further than ever. These strides forward are due to strength & conditioning becoming part of the normal training schedule for a professional golfer. This multi-disciplinary approach to training has been beneficial for the game as the quality has been elevated to new heights. The use of strength & conditioning coaches to enhance performance is now filtering down the levels of the game, with amateur and youth level players using strength & conditioning sessions to positively impact their own game. I myself am training a number of golfers, all of which are seeing improvements in their game on the course. Through my blog post today I will detail how to train the golf athlete.

When training a golfer there are two main areas I focus on

  1. The removal of physical restrictions which hinder technique, and increase risk of injury.
  2. Enhancing strength and power which will in turn improve club head speed and shot distance.

The golf swing is asymmetrical which brings about muscular imbalances, from both an anterior-posterior perspective and left side-right side of the body perspective. Causing many golfers to have issues with joint position at the shoulders and/or hips, and upper or lower cross syndrome. Specific training to negate these imbalances is very important as they increase the risk of injury. When planning sessions for a golfer you should therefore focus on improving mobility and reducing muscular imbalances in these key areas i.e thoracic spine, shoulder girdle, and lumbo-pelvic complex. The use of a corrective/pre-hab based warm up is an effective tool in working on these weaknesses whilst also preparing the athlete for the session ahead, this should include:

  • Thoracic Spine Mobility Exercise
  • Shoulder Girdle Mobility Exercise
  • Lumbo-Pelvic Complex Mobility Exercise

Research has shown that increased levels of strength and power are strongly correlated with club head speed and driving distance, so developing a golfers’ overall strength is paramount.

Exercises

Overhead Squat

  • Overhead Squat C

Why – Develops whole body strength and stability, as well as targeting mobility at hips, shoulders, and thoracic spine.

Romanian Deadlift

  • RDL

Why – Strengthens posterior chain and improves the hip hinge which is similar to the address position to the golf ball.

Sturdinator (Barbell Single Arm Row)

  • Sturdinator C

Why – Unilateral movement to restore imbalance in upper body pulling muscles

Walking Lunges

  • Lunge

Why – Develops mobility and stability within the hips as well as restoring muscular imbalances from right to left side of the body.

The time available to express force (i.e. swing of the club) is very short so peak force generation and rate of development are very important, in order to be efficient and effective. Along with the ability to transfer force, as during the swing the body must transfer ground reaction forces through the lower body, trunk, upper extremities ending at the golf club. The inclusion of explosive kinetic chain movement exercises will aid in enhancing the efficiency of this.

Exercises

Clean/Snatch

  • Clean Collage

Why – enhances ability to transfer force from ground through the body, coordinating several large muscle groups. Increases rate of force development.

Band Rotation

  • Band Rotation Collage

Why – Develops rotational speed which is a requirement during the swing, as well as developing core strength to absorb deceleration forces.

When designing a programme for your athlete or yourself the teaching of correct technique is essential and forms the bedrock with increases in load being technique dependent. I will be uploading a training video in the New Year with every exercise technique shown in detail. Ever golfer is individual and may need specific areas of work, so proper screening prior to commencing training is essential in order to tailor the programme to their specific needs.

I hope this has helped and gets you or your athlete hitting the ball further. Any questions comment below

 

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