To bulk up or not bulk up? That is the question for many golfers. As for the answer, there are usually two schools of thought for this one. Some golfers believe that working out too much may negatively impact their swing, while others think that’s complete nonsense.
“Not working out because you might get too strong is like not reading because you might get too smart,” Mike Boyle, a respected strength trainer, says in a Golf Digest article. “It’s not something to worry about.”
Boyle says that the biggest part of a golfer’s fitness regimen should focus on improving strength since stronger muscles help protect joints and enhance flexibility.
“By increasing your size and muscle mass, the body can produce more force and will be less susceptible to injury – meaning you can hit the ball further and practice harder,” according to a National Club Golfer article.
The European Tour Performance Institute & Performance Unit reported that increased mass is associated with an increase in clubhead speed. That’s important because players who swing the club faster on tour earn more money. The ETPI also found that 80% of golf injuries are due to overuse, and strength training has been shown to decrease overuse injuries by 50%.
“Golf is ballistic, involving sudden moments of exertion,” according to a Men’s Journal article. “It’s also one-sided: Players swing 75 to 100 times from one side of the body, which can often create muscle imbalances and overuse injuries.”
That’s why players need to place an emphasis on their strength and conditioning regimen, making sure to focus on mobility, stability, and strength.
With September 2020 seeing a 25.5% increase in the amount of golf rounds played year-over-year, an increase of about 12 million rounds of golf from last year, taking care of your body may be more important than ever for golfers. Let’s take a look at six exercises that will help you up your game and allow you to keep going back out for many more rounds.
Alternate-Arm Bench Press
“Lie on a bench holding two of the heaviest dumbbells you can manage, and alternate pushing each arm toward the sky,” according to Golf Digest.
This will strengthen your chest, shoulders, arms, and mid-back, and using the dumbbells will help to balance strength on each side of your body.
Medicine Ball Parallel Throw & Perpendicular Throw
Men’s Journal recommends medicine ball throws to help improve your ability to store and release energy and improve your swing.
“Stand facing a solid wall (so, not glass or sheetrock) about 3 feet away,” according to Men’s Journal. “Hold a medicine ball at waist level. Rotate your trunk away from the wall. Then, in one motion, initiate the throw by thrusting your hips toward the wall, followed by your trunk, arms, and then ball. After the ball bounces off the wall, catch it with one hand under the ball, the other hand behind it, and arms slightly bent.”
In order to build your core power, which will help your swing speed and muscle balance, Men’s Journal also recommends a medicine ball perpendicular throw. It’s similar to the medicine ball parallel throw (above), except that you’ll start with your hips perpendicular to the wall.
“Rotate your torso 90 degrees away from the wall, and then rotate 180 degrees and throw the ball at the wall, catching it on the rebound,” according to Men’s Journal.
For both the medicine ball parallel throw and the perpendicular throw, repeat for 10 reps, and then switch sides.
The split squat is a simple lower-body exercise that you can do at home, which works on mobility, stability, and strength.
“The narrow stance will reduce your base of support and challenge your stability,” according to GOLF Magazine. “In this exercise, you’re primarily working your front leg, so keep the majority of your weight centered over the middle of your front foot.”
Trap-Bar Dead Lift
To strengthen nearly every muscle from your lower back to your feet, Golf Digest recommends the Trap-Bar Dead Lift.
“Grab the bar from a squatting position. Stand straight up, then drop back down into a squat,” according to Golf Digest. “The bar helps improve form by preventing you from bending too far forward with a rounded spine.”
“When performed correctly, push-ups can be extremely beneficial to your overall strength and to the golf swing,” according to GOLF Magazine. “To set up correctly for a push-up, place your hands beneath your shoulders and your feet shoulder-width apart. Then squeeze your core and go to the top of a plank.”
GOLF Magazine says that your body should move as one piece with a controlled tempo in order to make sure that you’re working the correct muscles.
To prevent “golfer’s elbow” and reduce the risk of shoulder injury, Men’s Journal recommends handwalks where you start standing up, bend forward at the waist, and then set your hands on the ground so you’re on all fours.
“Slowly walk your hands out into a push-up position. Then, making sure to keep your knees straight, walk your toes toward your hands,” according to Men’s Journal. “Once you’re starting to feel a stretch, walk your hands back out and repeat for a total of 10 reps.”