We are pleased to bring you part 2 of the ultimate strength and conditioning guide for golf, written by Golf Performance Coach, Michael Jordan. Michael will be breaking down each element of golf fitness and will dive deeper into how each element impacts your ability to play better and how to improve them effectively. Catch up on Part 1 here.
Strength For Golf
Strength is where the majority of golfers are going to see the biggest return on investment for time spent in the gym. Without an adequate foundation of strength, your power, speed, mobility and movement quality are all going to suffer. By improving your strength all other aspects of your performance will improve.
The great news is building strength, at least enough to see drastic improvements in your golf, is relatively simple. There’s an insane number of highly effective strength programs out there that work for almost every single person who’s ever used them and you don’t need to live in the gym to see progress.
I think it’s important to highlight that with the rise of Bryson DeChambeau, strength is being overlooked for speed. People are jumping into overspeed training without looking at their baseline strength levels and asking which they really stand to get more from.
I believe this is down to two factors;
- Speed work is sexy. It looks good on the ‘gram and it makes you feel like a golf god.
- There’s so many options when it comes to strength training that it can be confusing to know where to start. Where’s the golf specific strength program?
If we look at speed for a second, SuperSpeed (the market leaders for speed sticks) have a crystal clear guide for golfers. It’s clearly relevant to golf as you’re swinging in your training and so people can see the immediate carry over into the sport.
When it comes to getting strong for golf, it’s worth forgetting golf for a moment. Once you do that, a whole world of highly effective strength programs become options, such as Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1, one of the most used strength programs in the world.
For me, strength is the most important aspect of fitness for golf, but also the one that requires the least amount of golf specificity.
Strength programs work because they use some sort of periodisation that causes your body to adapt to increased loads over time. At the end of the day you can follow any one of a million strength protocols and it will positively impact your golf.
When should golfers focus on strength training?
Just like most sports, golf has in and off seasons (even if you’re a recreational golfer, the weather is most likely forcing your hand on this one) and just like other sports, your strength training is best done in the off season. If you give each in and off-seasons both 6 months, I recommend spending 3-4 months of your off-season working on building strength.
This allows you to put your energy into building strength, something that requires adequate recovery and can be hard to manage during the season when golf becomes the priority.
Strength sessions can also be quite long, due to the extended rest periods between sets. Personally I’d rather spend the summer months playing golf, than waiting in the gym to do another set of trap bar deadlifts…
As the off-season draws to a close, strength work can begin to be replaced with power and speed work, increasing the specificity of training towards the intended outcome - better golf performance.
It’s worth noting however that just because you won’t be doing as much strength work in the golf season, you should still look to maintain as much strength as possible to keep your performance and mitigate the risk of injuries as the season goes on.
What are the best exercises for increasing strength for golf?
A common theme in the most successful strength programs is the focus on the 4 main compound lifts; the squat, bench press, deadlift and overhead press. I firmly believe that golf is no different to any other sport when it comes to getting strong; increased strength in these four compound lifts (or some variation of them) will translate to better performance for the majority of people.
At the end of the day there is no golden exercise for strength and individuals will find certain exercises better for them depending on a host of factors. Your focus should be on increasing your strength in a multitude of movement patterns by following a structured program.
Whatever program you follow, make sure you’re training the following movement patterns to cover all the bases:
- Vertical and Horizontal Push
- Vertical and Horizontal Pull
Getting strong for golf is no different to any other sport. Find a program that gives you a clear, periodised approach to gaining strength and focus on the main movement patterns.Use your off-season to work on your strength so that you’re energy and time can be spent on the course and more golf specific qualities during the in-season.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Jordan, has 7 years worth of experience working in the fitness industry. Since graduating Loughborough University with an Honours degree in Human Biology, he has spent his career coaching clients from all walks of life. Having opened 2 gyms, coached hundreds of individual clients including professional athletes performing on the international stage, Special Forces and prepared a military team to successfully cross the Antarctic.
As an avid golfer (2.5hcp), Michael understands the importance of effective Strength and Conditioning programming and has developed a platform to bring golfers the highest level of programming available in order to develop their golf whilst building an athletic body that functions optimally for life. Click here to learn more about Michael and his programs.