It’s that time of the year where golfers’ clubs go into hibernation and start collecting dust until the snow melts. Unless you are a golf die-hard, most recreational golfers don’t swing the clubs over the winter. In fact, a lot of golfers use golf as their form of exercise during the season. If you are serious about your game and are looking to improve your body or swing this winter, this blog is for you.
What if I told you that we could improve your golf game in the next 3 months without even hitting a golf ball. Would you believe it? What if I told you that we could increase your driver distance without taking a golf lesson? Would you buy into that? Working on the way your body moves, controls motion, gets stronger, and builds power can both improve consistency and distance without even hitting balls at the dome or into a simulator. Below, I will highlight the key components to a successful off-season golf fitness program. It is then up to you whether that is an expense/commitment you want to participate in over the next few months.
Mobility/Flexibility: The American Academy of Sports Medicine recommends performing mobility/stretching at least 2-3 times per week, but validates that daily stretching is the most effective. This is the low hanging fruit of your fitness program. Stretching typically feels good for people. It is the least taxing on the body and can give you some quick improvements in the quality of your motion. This is not going to be the best bang for your buck in terms of gaining distance, but can help you achieve a more comfortable backswing and help get fully through the follow through while maintaining dynamic posture. Working through comfortable ranges of motion allows the body to work more efficiently, the muscles will respond faster, and likely reduce risk of overuse injury. Key areas to focus on are hip rotation, thoracic rotation, hip flexor stretching, lat stretching, and shoulder mobility. Here are a few exercise examples you can try:
Strength: The American Academy of Sports Medicine recommends performing weight training 2-3 times per week, with approximately 8-10 “multi-joint exercises”. Think of this as circuit training where you are working multiple body parts in a workout and not just focusing on one area. This will minimize soreness, work the whole body, and is a great foundation to building a more solid platform for the golf swing. Having a good foundation of strength is a must if you are looking to improve your golf swing. However, this is also the part of your fitness plan that takes the most patience. We unfortunately can’t get a 6-pack in two weeks at the gym. Be patient and look to build motivation by increasing weight or repetitions every other week. With the golf swing, your foundational strengthening exercises should include lifting, squatting, pushing, pulling, and carrying. Some exercises to consider are going to be varieties of the following:
Power/Speed: The final category of exercises to discuss here is power and speed training. Power and speed exercises can be incorporated into any session where you are performing strength training. The main difference is the INTENT by which you move. Here is the difference between speed and power exercises:
Speed: Moving a lighter weighted object at a very quick velocity for the purpose of moving that load as quick as you can. For example, swing a lightweight club or throwing a lightweight ball, faster than you would normally swing/throw the normal object.
Power: Moving a heavier load with quicker velocity as opposed to moving slow and controlled as you would in a strengthening exercise of greater repetitions. A good example of a power exercise would be plyometric box jumps or weighted medicine ball smashes/throws.
In power and speed training, the movement is all about the intent of moving that object FAST. You will typically keep the repetitions lower than you would a typical strengthening exercise, something around the 5-repetition range. This way, you can focus on each repetition with good intensity, and are trying to avoid excessive fatigue. With the golf swing, when a golfer is hitting driver, they are not swinging in a tired state, they are simply trying to swing the club as fast as possible for that one specific swing. The same applies for power/speed training. When you are trying to build power for your golf swing, these exercises should be performed with high intensity and minimal fatigue so the emphasis can be on moving explosively. I will not link any exercises here as you should consult with a qualified professional to determine what exercises would be appropriate for you based on your current abilities.
If you are looking to add distance, power, or speed to your golf swing moving into this next golf season, consider implementing these strategies into your weekly routine. Understand, if you have not participated in these activities, it is recommended that you consult with a licensed/certified professional to build an individualized program based on your goals and current abilities. We are here to help you reach your golf goals. Feel free to reach out to us and see if our Golf Medicine program would be a good fit for you!