Debunking Golf Fitness Myths
First of all I would like to start with that fact that although I used this term in the title I don't really care for the phrase "Golf Fitness". Golf is an athletic endeavor just like any other sport and should be trained for no different than any other sport. There are significant loads put through the body during the golf swing such as: The club pulling on the golfer at the bottom of the swing, the forces that the golfer puts into the ground and the speed at which the golfer rotates his body. In order for your body to withstand these forces while performing an efficient golf swing in a safe manner, a certain amount of strength, mobility and stability is needed. We will be touching on a few myths related to "golf performance training" as I like to put it, as well as addressing some basic concepts of what golfers should be doing to train for their sport.
Myth 1: Heavy squatting or deadlifting causes injury
There is a great saying out there that goes "It’s not the squat that is hurting you it is the way you squat that is hurting you." Frankly there is a lot of misinformation in the golf world especially that squatting or deadlifting with heavy weights is somehow dangerous and injury causing especially to the back. This myth is perpetuated by a lot of "experts" in the golf field who are less than experts when it comes to strength and conditioning as well as pain and injury. I'm here to say not only is that untrue but a properly performed and loaded squat and deadlift progression not only will not cause injury but will strengthen the back therefore decreasing the chance of injury to that area. Now the caveat is that those exercises are performed with proper form and a proper load for the individual to be able to perform them with proper form. This is where a knowledgeable strength coach or trainer comes in having that guidance will help you determine what that proper load and form is as well as what type of squat and deadlift is best for you.. Along with that squats and deadlifts are two of the best exercises to build the strength needed to impart the ground forces needed to hit the ball further and longer. If in my PT practice I can have inactive people safely squat and deadlift after joint replacement or spinal fusion surgeries then there is no reason a golfer should not be able to safely perform them
Myth 2 Exercises for golf should look like the golf swing.
While there are some good exercise for building rotational speed out there the majority of the exercises needed for improving golf performance should look nothing like the golf swing. If you want to practice your golf swing find a qualified teacher or go hit balls. My job is not to show how to swing the golf club better but to get your body in better condition so that you can get in the necessary positions and make the necessary movements in order to complete a strong, forceful and efficient golf swing. Will I talk about how certain exercises may translate to certain parts of the swing absolutely but what I will not be doing a lot of is have you perform golf movements with resistance. We may use some rotational movements to build speed or sequencing as well as address specific deficits in your movement that may lead to swing faults.
What should a golf performance training program look like?
First of all in my opinion every golfer looking to start a workout program should be properly evaluated for any weakness, mobility restrictions or movement deficiencies that may have an effect on their golf swing. Once that is done a program should be designed around basic human movements such as a squat, hinge (deadlift), push (bench press, Overhead press, pushups) Pull (rows or pullups) , single leg work (lunges, single leg RDL) as the meat of the workout. Around that corrective exercises, mobility work, core work, plyometrics, speed work and conditioning are designed based around each individual’s personal needs. Get strong at the basic movements for improved power and injury prevention and work on the rest to move better and faster.
I am also including an article below by TPI that addresses a few more myths perpetuated around golf fitness and performance.
If you or someone you know are interested in adding distance, playing better golf or playing without pain or fatigue give me a call at 985 235 7130 or reach us via email at Johnpaul@guidrypt.com and set up an evaluation.
John Paul Guidry DPT CSCS TPI
Guidry Golf and Sport