Many golfers shy away from lifting for fear of becoming inflexible. However, most fitness experts will agree that lifting weights doesn’t always mean losing out on flexibility.
Lifting weights helps your golf game. Golfers who lift weights have more endurance, more power in their swing, and will be better all-around athletes. In fact, one of the best golfers of all time, Tiger Woods, is known for sporting muscles on the golf course.
Lifting should be an integral part of any golfer’s training. This article will discuss the benefits that lifting weights brings to golfers.
Why Golfers Should Lift Weights
There are many reasons why golfers should incorporate weight training into their regimen. Below are six ways that weight lifting helps golfers.
Along with being a skill and technique sport, it’s also one of endurance. Lugging a golf bag full of clubs, water, shoes, and other necessities and swinging a club repeatedly can take a toll on the body, especially if you think about doing all of that in the blazing heat of summer.
Golfers can build their endurance through weight training. Using compound movements like deadlift, squat, bench, and others combined with cardio will help golfers develop their endurance, so they don’t feel as tired as quickly.
Of course, physical endurance is built, but so is mental endurance. Athletes train their minds by making their bodies uncomfortable, pushing past that feeling and closer to their physical goals. The benefit of having greater mental endurance helps golfers when the going gets tough on the course.
Golfers with strong mental endurance won’t be phased by shanked shots, unfavorable weather, or challenging terrain on the course. Instead, they’ll be used to pushing through the uncomfortable. Therefore, making them a stronger competitor.
Similar to the endurance point, having stronger muscles makes your bones strong, allowing them to last longer. Stronger bones will give athletes more longevity in their physical health.
Lower bone mass can result in more and worse injuries. Golfers that keep their bones strong will be able to spend more time perfecting their craft.
The more time they have on the course, without injury, will allow them to get better and better at their swing technique.
Building solid muscles around important joints will help keep them safe. When people become less mobile, their joints stiffen up, and it causes them to feel pain. Lifting prevents the joints from getting stiff and causing aches and pains.
Weightlifting, as mentioned before, keeps your body more flexible. That means allowing them to move over a wider range of motion for joints. This not only reduces future joint pain when your body ages and can’t move as well, but it also helps prevent injuries from joints moving out of place.
Strong muscles have a better capacity to perform as they should. When your muscles function as they should, your joints don’t have to overwork themselves. This prevents them from deteriorating the cartilage between the rubbing bones and causing more pain later.
How does this relate to golf? Protecting a golfer’s joints will allow them to keep themselves from experiencing injuries and elongate their careers. They’ll be able to perform at their peak for a more extended period.
Strength training helps golfers build consistency in their swing. Golfers who lift have more ability to deliver consistently good swings because their muscles are trained to perform repetitive movements repeatedly.
Essentially, your body will be able to handle the fatigue and stress that a round of golf puts on it better. Lifting weights helps prevent golfers from starting hole one hot and ending hole eighteen disappointed.
Higher Swing Speeds
One of the most critical factors in a golf swing is speed. The faster a golfer can swing their club, the more force driven into the ball and the further the ball will travel. Of course, the further the ball can travel, the better a golfer’s drives will be.
Think about an older person or a child who has either passed the age of their peak strength or hasn’t reached it yet. If they were to pick up a golf club and swing it, it would most likely move through the air slower than a golfer who is strong and physically fit. The smoothness and fluidity that the physically fit golfer will have would be drastically better than the elder or child.
Being more muscular while maintaining flexibility will drastically improve a golfer’s swing speed and performance.
Reduced Fault in Your Swing
Yes, poor technique can be to blame for mistakes in a swing. However, often, errors are caused by a lack of strength. If your body isn’t strong, performing complex motions is more challenging.
Lifting weights helps golfers learn how to load their weight better on one leg or the other. It helps them stay stable while their trunk twists through their swing. It also helps golfers stay balanced and prevents them from falling to one side and taking their club with them.
Essentially, weight lifting increases a golfer’s stability and helps them prevent faults or mistakes in their swings. Again, keeping them at the top of their game and allowing them to perform at their peak more often.
Lifting Isn’t the Only Answer
Though lifting is a highly beneficial thing for golfers to do, they also have to be cautious. Just picking up weights and lifting as much as possible isn’t the best route for such a technique heavy sport.
Golfers should also be sure to focus on flexibility and balance in their training routines. Balance helps golfers maintain the proper technique throughout their entire swing.
The main areas that golfers need the most balance in are their toes, heels, and their balance pads. Toe balance helps keep your ankles steady when your weight is shifted to one side of your foot or the ball of your foot, as it would be towards the middle to end of your golf swing. Heel balance does the same, except when your heels shift to your weight.
Adequate balance in a golfer’s balance pad provides them with better coordination throughout their swing. They’ll be able to keep their stance steady and athletic as the clubhead approaches the ball and swings through it.
A golfer can use two other exercise focuses for balance: skier hops and single-leg deadlifts. The rapid side-to-side motion of the skier hops builds the small muscles of the ankle and foot. They also help golfers increase the control of their hips. Golfers use their hips for a large portion of their swing. Having fast turning hips that you can keep under control makes a world of difference in a golf swing.
Single leg deadlifts also help golfers increase their hip control and strength. This movement targets the glutes and hamstrings by getting the golfer to extend the muscles and retract them while holding a weight in front of them and keeping their knee primarily straight. Increasing the strength of a golfer’s glutes and hamstrings will help them have stronger hips as well.
Flexibility is also one of the most important things a golfer can have. Having a flexible torso increases a golfer’s range of motion and allows them to twist faster in their golf swing. Golfers should also have loose shoulders. This will prevent shoulder injuries and tight shoulders from obstructing your golf swing. Having flexible chest muscles will also aid with this.
A body part that many golfers forget about is their calves. Having flexible calves will free up the motion of a golfer’s feet and ankles. Therefore, allowing them to move smoothly through the swing. Tight calves can also obstruct a golfer’s control because it makes it harder for them to balance.
Best Lifts for Golfers
Compound lifts and auxiliary lifts should be used in a golfer’s weight training program. Each specific movement will help a golfer in different ways. Here is a brief list:
- Deadlift. Deadlifts force you to use your entire body.
- Squat. Build lower body strength and help hip range of motion.
- Lunges. Strengthens legs and hamstrings (benefits discussed above).
- Leg Press. A great way to finish a leg workout since it really exhausts your lower body.
- Pull-Ups. Increase upper back strength.
- Cable or Bent Over Rows. Targets muscles in all parts of your back
- Bench Press. Strengthens chest and triceps
- Dips/Dumbbell Flys. Both strengthen the chest and triceps.
Many other movements can help golfers target different muscles and improve their overall golf swing. This list includes some of those exercises’ most popular and most influential.
Golfers should definitely not shy away from lifting weights. It can drastically improve their fitness level and their overall golf performance. It will provide them with longevity and can prevent them from experiencing career-ending injuries. All of this will keep them at the top of their game longer.
If you’re a golfer who wants to step up your game, reach out to a strength coach who has experience working with golfers. They’ll be able to write a plan that will strengthen your muscles while allowing you to stay flexible. They can also help adjust the plan as needed.