How Strength Training Benefits Your Golf Game
The beauty of golf is that it’s a low-impact, no-contact game, meaning the overall risk of injury is low compared to other sports. Despite its ‘leisure sport’ status, however, a proper golf swing still works all your major muscle groups, including your chest, shoulders, arms, back, core, glutes and legs.
That’s why strength training can be so transformative for golfers — this age-defying form of exercise helps you strengthen the areas most prone to golf injuries while also increasing your power and endurance on the green.
Ready to learn more about how strength training can keep you enjoying the game well into your golden years? CA personal trainer Deanna Nosel generously shared her insights!
How strength training improves your game
When it comes to golf, it’s no secret that you embrace a dominant side to swing. Over time, this repetition can create muscular imbalances. One side of the body can become weaker, and this makes you more susceptible to overusage injuries.
“Strength training is an incredibly effective way to balance your muscles, so you can move efficiently and safely,” says Nosel. “It makes your body stronger and more stable, whether that means being able to walk 18 holes more easily or take a powerhouse swing without exerting as much energy.”
Basically, stronger muscles=greater clubhead speed and a lower chance of getting injured, while making you more resilient in your daily life too. If you’ve never lifted a weight in your life, rest assured that strength training doesn’t even have to involve traditional dumbbells. Strength training means using gravitational stress on your muscles, and this healthy stress can be in the form of resistance bands, medicine balls, suspension straps and even your own body weight.
To dive a little deeper, Nosel shared how different parts of the body benefit from strength training to improve your overall golf game…
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Did you know the shoulder generates around 20% of total clubhead speed? Strengthening the shoulders is a great way to create a more controlled swing and add distance to your drive. It’s equally important to focus on shoulder mobility and flexibility, too (not just strength).
- Standing Y raise
- TRX Y raise
- Shoulder press
The core is the powerhouse of the body. It stabilizes pretty much all of your movements, which is why it’s key to balance, injury prevention and, of course, a more fluid, consistent swing.
“A strong, stable core gives you the foundation to hit the ball farther without exerting as much energy,” says Nosel. “Plus, it protects your spine and helps safely transfer power from the lower to the upper body during your swing.”
Rotational core exercises — moves that strengthen the core by rotating the torso — are particularly beneficial for golfers. Rotational power is what allows you to stay stable while you fully coil and uncoil during your swing. TRX suspension straps (available in all three of CA’s fitness clubs) offer plenty of possibilities for building rotational strength, including the ‘TRX Golf Swing’ move (learn how to do it here).
- Side planks
- High plank shoulder taps
- Russian twists
- Woodchoppers (can be done with medicine balls or dumbbells)
Legs, hips and glutes
Strong legs means less pressure on the knee joint. This is especially vital for protecting the knee on your lead side, which absorbs the most force. Developing strength in the hip flexors, quadriceps and hamstrings helps prevent knee pain while also giving you more stamina for a day on the course.
Well-conditioned glutes are just as important, since they play a critical role in protecting your back from injury. Active glutes also help stabilize your lower body in the golf swing and assist the entire swing motion to help you create your maximum speed.
- Lunges (side lunges, curtsy lunges and lunges with rotation are especially good for golfers)
- Lying hip clams
Play it smart
While we’re on the topic of injury prevention, it’s worth a reminder that warming up before you play is vital, no matter how fit you are.
Always get your blood flowing with some light aerobic exercise first, whether it’s a brisk walk or jumping jacks. Then incorporate some dynamic stretches — these are active movements that replicate the actual motions you’ll be doing in your golf game (rather than sitting still and holding stretches, which is better post-game rather than pre-game).
Think arm and leg swings, lunges, etc. for five to seven minutes. This helps raise the temperature of your muscles, improve your range of motion and stimulate your nervous system so that your nerves are ready to perform.
Before you take your first full swing, ease into it with putts and practice swings. Investing just 15 minutes into warming up can help you keep you injury-free and enjoying yourself on the course for a lifetime.
Personal training at CA
Launching a strength training routine can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! CA has more than 30 qualified trainers across three fitness clubs to provide the expertise and support you need to safely boost your strength and improve your golf game.
The first step is to fill out our referral form, which gives our fitness training supervisors background on your goals and preferences so they can find the right fit. Once you fill out the form, either the fitness training supervisor or the personal trainer will contact you to discuss setting up a free consultation. Learn more about CA’s personal training programs here.