Is Weight Training Good for Golfers?
Hard to believe the first Major on the PGA Tour is just around the corner. That’s right! Augusta National and the famed Green Jacket await the winner. Who will be the wearer of the jacket come Sunday? Will it be Tiger Woods for a second year in a row or maybe a first time winner like Davis Love III? We will just have to wait and see.
I have been receiving a lot of e-mails about weight training and golf as of late. The questions I get frequently get asked boil down to the one idea. Is weight training good for golf?
Before we answer this question, we need to talk about the golf swing. We all know the objective of the swing (hit the ball and hopefully straight). Additionally, we want to create club head speed to create distance.
Let me ask you this; how do we do just that? The obvious answer is we use the body to move the club through the correct biomechanical sequence required of the swing. In order for this to occur correctly, it is required to blend all the components of the swing. They need to be “blended” into a smooth, sequential order. And how do you that? By staying relaxed, and allowing the body to move through the swing.
I like to reference a term swing coach Dean Reinmuth uses, “tension free”. In order to create a smooth swing that generates club head speed the body must be tension free. If you “tighten up” during the swing, what happens? A poor swing is usually the result, and “tightening up” is what? Muscles not staying loose, but rather contracting. For example, if you were to grip a club as hard as you could. All the muscles in your upper body would be tight, making it very difficult to swing.
Now back to the question of weight training. What happens to your body when you do a lot bench press, shoulder press, and leg presses? Your muscles get sore and tight! Not very conducive to a smooth flowing golf swing, so what are you to do? My suggestion is you use exercises that train the body for your swing. These types of exercise developed flexibility as well as power. Leading to greater club head speed and a better swing. Exercises such as this can utilize dumbbells, medicine balls, cable systems, and elastic tubing. But remember theses types of exercises will train the body through the positions, movements, and energy requirements of the golf swing.
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I found that during a round, I got tired so I had to put more effort so I got more tired so I had to put more effort so I go even more tired...
I realized that I wasn't strong enough for the effort I put out in the first place.
Solution is to become stronger, just enough so that the effort seems like I'm only putting out 50% instead of 150% for the same result. I hope it makes a difference this season, we'll see.
As a former professional athlete, I can tell you that your fears are unfounded. The muscle soreness of which you speak is a temporary symptom caused by lactic acid accumulation in the muscles. In fact, if you accompany weight training with stretching (which you should be doing anyway), you can increase both your strength and flexibility.
I'll also point out that it has been said that Woods can bench 300 pounds, and his hard work in the gym and extra muscle mass certainly haven't impacted negatively upon his game. I'll also mention that distance is mainly a function of three factors (insofar as the physical goes): size, strength and action specific flexibility. And strength is of the utmost importance; this is why the men hit the ball farther than the women.
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