How strength training can help you improve your golf game

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Golf specific strength training isn’t about swinging a 50lb pipe to improve club speed–it’s about working on your weaknesses. We’ll give you tips to improve your short game and get more power behind your swing, all through strength training techniques that you can implement in your fitness routine.

Golf Performance Training Tip #1: Work on Your Weaknesses

Dave Phillips, Co-founder of TPI in Oceanside, CA has devoted more than 25 years to working with elite golfers and is regarded as one of the best coaches in the world. He says, “most of the time the stuff male golfers need to focus on is mobility, where women need the added stability so we will sprinkle a little of each throughout their training.”

Make sure to add training to your fitness routine that directly addresses where you struggle the most, both on and off the fairway.

Golf Performance Training Tip #2: Focus on the Little Things

Find Balance in Movement Preparation

Your body is not always in perfect balance. That’s why you’ll often see things that help address movement deficiencies in the prep portions. This could be self massage, stretching techniques or even general movement to figure out where you’re at today. Focus on finding where your imbalances are.

Optimize Your Workout With a Dynamic Warm Up

All warm up moves are intentional. They emphasize what you’ll be doing in each set, so you should never skip them. Instead, lean into the warm up and use it as a tool to better prepare your body for your workout.

A study published by the Biology of Sport found that if you do this right, you’ll actually increase your output in a training session.

Golf Performance Training Tip #3: Address Your Weaknesses Early & Prepare for Your Session With Intent

Train Smarter By Honing Your Movement Skills

Practicing movement as a skill before you start lifting can really help your training. Maddie Sheils, LPGA Tour Player says, “As a golfer, movement skills are an important part of my training for a couple of reasons. Learning how to move properly allows me to train more aggressively since I’m less likely to injure myself when under weight. Second, the movement skill exercises serve as an efficient total body warmup. This can be useful when preparing for a lift or for a round of golf!”

Let’s use Maddie as an example and look at her swing. In order to do this well, she has to understand how to get into a neutral spine, hinge at her hips, load her hips, rotate through her torso, and then fire in the correct sequence to generate power from the ground if she is going to hit the long drive.

She has to layer together a lot of smaller skills to make this happen. If she finds time in her training session to address those skills, she won’t have to think about doing them correctly during the match.

Here is a basic look at what a movement skill session could look like:

Cat-Cow: address the neutral spine
Quadruped Rocking: help program the body to hold a neutral spine while hips are moving (the hinge)
Seated Quadruped T-Spine Rotation: rotation through the torso, not low back
Lateral Push to Base: lower body movement to help connect everything above
Rotational Lift or Chop: connect lower body power to the rotation you will need

How these strength training movements can help improve your golf game.

Start Your Training Session With Primary Strength Moves

This is where the strength session starts. If you’ve got some weak links in your lower body (weak glutes for example) then you’ll attack those with some vigor. For most, this is the beginning of your strength session so you should be lifting the heaviest weight.

One of the best strength building movements for golfers is the Neutral Grip Deadlift. It’s an easy way to load up the body and not have to worry about “the dangers of a barbell.” You can do them on Tonal, or with dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands.

Attack Weaknesses From All Angles With Secondary Strength

Sometimes attacking a weakness from one angle isn’t enough. Think of secondary strength as another way to do what you did in the primary section. Now you’ll work on the same things you did in the first section in a slightly different way.

Another great strength training movement for golfers is the Single Arm, Single Leg RDL. This movement helps with hip stability, hip and hamstring strength, and anti-rotational strength for your core.

Golf Performance Tip #4: Resistive Core Movements are King

Movements that teach you to resist motion like the Pallof Press, Planks, stability lifts and chops could all help improve your ability to swing a club while reducing injury. Crunches don’t do that because they don’t teach you how to resist motion, which is what your “core” was built to do.

Fill in the Gaps With Accessory Work

During this part of your strength training routine, you’ll attack everything you haven’t already done. This sequence is a little more isolated and specific than the rest of the workout and creates a well rounded routine by addressing many things at once.

Depending on the golfer, a lot of the accessory work is anti-rotational with some position holds and rotator cuff work. It really depends on the goals you set for the day.

Conserve Your Energy

Make sure to do your conditioning after the strength portion or on a separate day so that you get the biggest bang for your buck.

Golf Performance Tip #5: A Little Goes a Long Way

Strength training can help you make major strides in your golf game, as long as your practice is on par. It can improve movement mechanics, reduce injury, and increase the strength and power behind your swing.

Jumpstart your strength training workouts with this golf-specific routine crafted by Tonal Coach, Kelly Savage. These movements will help you improve your golf game and you can do the entire routine (3 sets of each block) on Tonal.

Primary Strength
Marching Glute Bridge (8 reps per side)
Neutral Grip Deadlift (8 reps)
Inverted Hamstring Stretch (6 reps)

Secondary Strength
Single Arm, Single Leg RDL (8 reps per side)
Stability Lift (8 reps per side)
90-90 Arm Sweep (30 seconds)

Accessory Work
Reverse Lunge w/ Overhead Reach (8 reps per side)
Plank w/ Rotation (30 seconds)
Sumo Squat Stretch w/ Twist (30 seconds)