Strength in golf is a complex and multifaceted concept. Golfers can be above average in strength on traditional gym lifts, but if they are not able to transfer that gym strength to golf, it is wasted effort spent on their fitness. As a golfer, it is necessary to train your body through multiple planes of movement while concentrating on the proper sequence of muscle activation (using the correct muscles in the correct order during each exercise). This is not to say that muscle strength does not matter, but if the individual muscles cannot connect and work with each other, then that strength will be ineffective in your golf swing. For this reason, it is essential to design your fitness routine with exercises that not only improve individual muscle strength but also improve the way muscles work together in all planes of movement. This is what is meant by being “golf strong.”
ARE YOU “GOLF STRONG?”
To be golf strong, you need to have strength throughout the entire range of motion involved in your golf swing. A weakness in a muscle at any joint through any segment of the motion will create a breakdown in your golf swing.
Lifting weights straight up and down, in one plane of motion may make you strong in that plane and range of motion, it does however, greatly limit the functional strength that you can develop in relation to your swing. This traditional approach to fitness eliminates the need for your body to create and maintain stabilization through multiple planes of motion, yet it is this ability to stabilize that is critical in golf. When heavily incorporated into your golf fitness training, a multiplanar approach to strength will result in that strength having a much greater carryover to the golf game.
“GOLF STRONG,” and INJURY PREVENTION
In golf there are two main types of injury: soft tissue injury and joints injury. Although there are no heavy weights lifted during golf, the muscles and joints involved create very high forces in the acceleration of the swing and then in controlling the high forces in slowing the swing down. As muscular strength increases through all planes of motion, so does your ability to tolerate the explosive and ballistic nature of the golf swing, reducing risk of injury. Remember, muscles and soft tissues are your first level of protection and if you lack sufficient strength in the muscles that create and then slow down these forces, the potential for injury is high. Further, when muscle strength isn’t adequate to control the speed and rotation of the swing, the joints will begin to absorb the energy, and although the joints can tolerate some force, they are not designed to be the major contributor to acceleration and deceleration. It is this type of physical weakness that leads to injury and difficulty to creating an efficient swing.
WHAT IS CLEAR!
What is clear, is that players who are “golf strong” perform better in numerous individual fitness categories like balance, body awareness, stability, neuromuscular coordination, power, and endurance. When a golfer is below average in any one of these fundamental skill sets, the resulting weakness becomes apparent in the golf swing.
When thinking about building up your strength for golf its important to focus time on developing strength though every plane of motion doing not only helps increase the power and consistency of your golf swing but also helps ensure you can play more golf more often.
Here is a short video link of one of our Jrs., Bode Stephen. Bode is demonstrating a few multiplanar strength exercises that we’ve incorporated into his training which are intended to improve his strength and challenge his stability making him “Golf Strong.”