The summer golf season is just a few months away and golfers everywhere are heading to the driving range to get back into the swing of things (pardon the pun) and prepare for the year ahead. While time spent on the range is important, you could also improve your golf game by putting in some hours at the gym.
Ever since Tiger Woods exploded onto the scene, the game of golf has changed massively. Most top golfers are now also finely tuned athletes, with the likes of Rory McIlroy spending as many hours working his muscles with his personal trainer as he does working on his swing. There are lots of benefits that will transfer to your game on the course and help you to shoot lower scores and reduce your handicap.
The key is to make your gym workouts golf specific. You don’t want to be lifting heavy and become bulky; instead the focus should on building lean muscle and improving your core stability. This will add consistency to your game, improve the range of your swing and help you to hit the ball longer.
Take a look below at some simple exercises you can do that could make the difference to your golf swing when the time comes to get back out on the medal tees.
The deadlift is a full body exercise that builds power, explosion and strength. It also works your glutes and they are very important during the motion of a golf swing. Having strong glutes helps you to fire your hips into the movement and improve the turn in your swing.
This one exercise works your legs, back and core, all used in a golf swing. It will help you to build strength and enhance your power potential, while helping you to maintain core strength which will keep your body stable. Another important benefit of the deadlift is the fact that building these core muscles in the back and abdominals will reduce the likelihood of picking up a nasty back injury on the course!
Watch the video below for a demonstration on how to perform the deadlift correctly.
Ask most personal trainers who provide golf specific programmes to clients and they’ll tell you the importance of lunges. A simple exercise which you can do from home or in the gym, it improves three key components of the golf swing – flexibility, strength and balance.
Lunges will essentially work the glutes, thighs, muscles of the lower leg and engage your core meaning it has excellent benefits to your golf swing. You can add a little bit of weight to make the exercise more challenging, but don’t overdo this as you want to build lean muscle which means more reps and less weight.
Make sure your back knee remains around two inches from the ground and try to focus on getting both knees to a 90-degree angle. Lunges are a great alternative to squats and the exercise closely mimics a golf swing while improving balance in the legs which is crucial for golfers.
The plank is one of the most popular core strengthening exercises among personal trainers and is perfect for golfers. Again this can be done at home in front of the tele or in the gym, and helps provide stability in your golf swing.
The great thing about the plank is that it works all of the core muscles – the abs, lower back, and your hips. It’s also easy to vary the exercise too, and you can do things like alternate leg and arm lifts and also side planks to target additional muscles.
It’s low impact but it’s a great exercise for golfers looking to strengthen the core muscles. Watch the video below from Jordan Yeoh Fitness where he demonstrates 25 variations of the plank you can try to change things up!
Another full body workout, the seated row is considered a back exercise because it hits so many muscles in the back at once. You will also hit the shoulders, deltoids, arms and chest with the movements and other secondary muscles that are worked as stabilisers during the exercise are the biceps and triceps, hamstrings, glutes and adductors.
The exercise works the main muscles used in a swing but in particular the benefits on the back will be welcome to many golfers who suffer with niggling pains. It will also improve your muscular endurance meaning that you can keep the consistency in your golf swing even at the late stages of your round.
Stretching before doing this is very important in order to avoid straining your back muscles and make sure you squeeze your stomach muscles while performing the exercise and avoid hunching over. You can vary the resistance on the machines to make it more challenging and if possible you can also try the work out single-handed.
Other upper body, core strengthening and leg workouts will also benefit your game such as; bicep curls, the shoulder press, the bench press, triceps dips, squats, the leg press and crunches or twists with a medicine ball. The important thing when doing these exercises is to focus on high reps and low weights, which enables you to build lean muscle rather than put on large bulky mass.
Stretching is important regardless of the exercises you incorporate into your gym routine as this will increase your flexibility which will enable you to unlock the full potential of your golf swing. When you do the above exercises and on top of that increase your flexibility through stretching, you should notice a big improvement in the consistency of your swing, your control over shots around the green and from the rough, and distance from the tee. Perfect for shooting better scores in 2018!
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