Golf Strength and Conditioning Program to Improve Your Game
Golf players might not have been the first who came to mind as sportsmen or women working out in the gym or undertaking golf strength and conditioning training, but they should be now. The truth is that there have been changes in ideologies in recent years and the importance of strength training and conditioning to become an exceptional golfer is now recognized.
Several strength and conditioning programs exist which might not necessarily guarantee you a lower score, but they will certainly increase your body’s ability to stretch, rotate and turn your hips when playing.
Importance of Strength and Conditioning for a Golfer
Strength is one of the absolute basics for athletes in any sport, and golf is no exception to this. To swing the club better and hit the golf ball farther, you need plenty of strength. Players with higher physical strength usually have an edge over their competitors.
Strength and conditioning have a direct correlation with clubhead speed and yardage. Clubhead speed is the velocity with which the clubface makes an impact on the ball, and yardage is the distance in yards at which the ball lands on the ground from the point of impact. In other words, the faster the clubhead is traveling at the point of impact, the further the ball should travel.
Obviously, not all golf shots require a high level of physical strength, with short chips and putts being the main examples. On the other hand, golf strength exercises and golf strength training programs are going to give a player advantages when it comes to long drives, playing out of the rough, and for sand trap shots when the ball is plugged.
Priorities of Golf Strength Training
Strength training for golf has a certain set of priorities to suit the game and improve in the most appropriate areas. The foremost priority is to improve the ability to produce force that is required during play with the most obvious being the force applied by the club on the ball. This force comes directly from the player’s muscles, especially the larger ones in the shoulders, torso, hips, and thighs.Training these muscle groups will allow you to get a proper shoulder turn in the golf swing and allow your hips to fully rotate.
Another priority is to increase the explosive power of a player. This is needed during shots as each swing is a burst of tremendous energy from the top of the upward swing of the club, to the moment of collision with the ball and then back to the top in the other direction, also known as the follow through.
Golf Physiotherapy and its Changing Role
A lot of what is presented as golf strength training programs has a therapy-focused angle. This is because many golf injuries are related to the overuse of muscles. In the past, the role of physiotherapists used to be to deal with the issues caused during golf games and so in most cases, golfers went to physiotherapists only after they were injured and not before.
Nowadays, physiotherapists and other golf conditioning coaches are now moving to a prevention-by-training rather than cure-after-injury approach. Therapists are also exploring strength and conditioning to develop techniques for reducing injury. There is enough research to support that overuse injuries such as Golfer's Elbow can be reduced by as much as half with strength training.
Injury Prevention Through Golf Strength and Conditioning
Injury prevention should also be considered as a very important benefit of undertaking golf strength and conditioning training as many golf injuries come from the overuse of muscles and joints. This can be worked on using exercises that improve joint stability as well as supportive rehabilitation after joint damage.
The shoulder joint is the primary location which is moved at a high rate as it acts as the pivot for a club swing during a golf shot. This is why many exercises focus on making the shoulder joint strong as well as flexible so that fatigue, and more crucially, the chances of an injury, are minimized.
Hip Exercises for Golf
A huge portion of the power that goes into hitting a golf ball as far as possible comes from the hip muscles. The hips also act as a connection between the lower and upper body, both of which put in a significant amount of energy into a club swing. Due to these reasons, keeping the hips active and healthy is important for being a competent golf player and is why hip stretches for golf and golf hip rotation exercises are now a common part of a golfer’s physical training.
Various hip exercises concentrate on the hip hinge, which is the movement from an upright posture to a bent golfing posture. Players who can move their hips benefit greatly from exercises related to obtaining the correct hip hinge. From a physical standpoint, a neutral curvature of the body which is neither too straight nor too extreme is most useful for injury prevention from using the hip hinge posture for a long time.
‘Lying Abductor’ Hip Exercise
The ‘Lying Abductor’ exercise is an effective one in which you can strengthen your hip muscles through repetitive movement. In this exercise, you lie on your side and move your legs to a 45-degree angle in front of you to provide balance.
Next, you lift up your top leg about an inch from the bottom leg and flex the foot with toes pointing forward. You then gradually raise and lower the top leg for 10 to 15 repetitions. Do this for both legs for at least 2 sets to attain lasting strengthening of the hip muscles.
‘Pallof Press’ Exercise
Another exercise that it’s advisable to include in your golfing strength exercises is the ‘Pallof Press.’ In this classic press exercise, both your hip and shoulder muscles are activated and thrown into challenging positions. It is an anti-rotation exercise which requires the use of a resistance band.
Attach a short resistance band to a standing rig at chest height. Interlock your fingers with the band in between your hands in front of your chest at arm’s distance and then step away from the anchor point to increase tension in the band.
The farther you stand, the more intense will the exercise be. While keeping the abs pulled in and with the knees slightly bent, pull the band into your chest and repeat this motion in sets of 10 to 20 repetitions.
Both the ‘Lying Abductor’ and ‘Pallof Press’ exercises in combination with some weighted or unweighted squats are some of the best strength training for golf players at all levels.
Golf Strength Exercises for Seniors to Improve Strength and Flexibility
Golf is a game enjoyed by many seniors. This is partly due to the fact that it does not require too much in the way of sustained physical activity and is instead reliant on short bursts of energy. As golf is somewhat less physical than many sports and most seniors play for pleasure, the training they do is not as intense as that required by younger athletes or professional and competitive golf players.
The most basic training seniors should do to retain their flexibility and joint movement is walking. The body part movements that occur during brisk walking involve ankles, hips, core, and shoulders.
If you are a senior and play golf once or twice a week, it is recommended for you to take 30- to 60-minute walks 3 to 4 times a week. This will warm up your body and help with your balance, flexibility, and strength, as well as preventing injuries when you play golf.