5 Benefits of Strength Training for Golfers
What are the benefits of strength training for golfers?
During these cold months of the year, you may be dreaming of when you can hit the golf course again. Until those warm days return, you could use this time to hit the gym and participate in resistance or strength training. But why should you? You might be thinking, “Golf is exercise. Isn’t that enough?” If you are someone who enjoys the game, plays fairly regularly, and wants to keep golfing as the years pass; you could benefit for strength training. If you are a more serious golfer who competes at any level, plays most months of the year, and maybe even travels to a destination just to golf; you could really benefit from strength training. Read on for 5 Benefits of Strength Training specifically for Golfers of any level.
1. Strength Training = Stronger Muscles = More Power
Weight training has been shown in countless studies to increase the strength of muscles. A properly progressed strength training program causes two changes to occur in your muscular system. The first change is an improvement in the ability of nerves to communicate with muscles. This improved communication between the nervous system and muscular system allows more muscle cells to be recruited and in a more synchronized manner. The second change is an increase in the size of muscle fibers. How does this translate to golf? Stronger muscles, built from strength training, allows more muscle fibers to be recruited in a more efficient manner so the amount of force your muscles can generate goes up exponentially. In other words, you can drive the ball much further.
2. Strength Training = More Endurance
One of the biggest factors for success in golf is consistency. Consistency means your 18th hole feels as fluid and natural as your first hole. This physical (and mental) consistency comes from muscular endurance which is built in the gym. We already discussed how strong muscles are more synchronized. Strong muscles can also last longer. This means that when you practice your swing 100 times in an hour with the golf pro, your muscles can tolerate that many repetitions and your 100th swing feels as good as your first swing. Muscular endurance also allows you to play a full 18 holes vs 9, walk the green instead of riding in the cart, or play multiple days in a row at a consistent level. This muscular endurance specifically comes from challenging your muscular (& mental) system in the gym with resistance training.
3. Strength Training can improve your form.
Golf pros repeatedly report that improper technique is largely due to muscle weakness. There is a reason the best golf swings in the world look effortless. Faulty technique stems from poor, under-performing muscles as well as muscles that are compensating and over-performing. Strength training addresses these weak, poor performing muscles and brings them up to speed. When the muscular system is in balance and all the muscles are performing optimally, technique improves.
4. Strength Training decreases your chance of injury.
As just mentioned, strength training can correct muscular imbalances or compensations. If not addressed, this can lead to abnormal wear and tear on your joints which eventually can cause arthritis, inflammation, pain, and ultimately lead to an injury. By participating in resistance training, your muscles are better able to tolerate the movements and stresses associated with golf and preserve your joints. We like to say that strength training closes the door on potential injuries so you can keep playing the game!
5. Strength Training keeps you in the game longer.
I’ve never heard a golfer say they plan to retire from golfing. In fact, most people say they can’t wait to retire so they can play more golf! There’s a dilemma that comes with that statement though. If you plan on playing the majority of your golf career in the latter half of your life, you’re up against 2 issues; sarcopenia and osteoporosis. Sarcopenia is the age related loss of muscle mass (amount) and function (strength) that begins in our 30s. Around this same time, we also begin to lose bone density that can eventually lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis. Weak and fewer muscles, along with weaker bones could make it difficult to play golf in your 60s, 70s, and 80s. There is great news though! A large amount of research has repeatedly proven that strength training can directly combat these issues. Strength training can help you maintain the amount of muscle you have and improve its strength while also helping you keep your bones strong. This means, strength training keeps your muscles strong, your bones strong, and keeps you playing golf well into your retirement. That’s a win, win, win in our book!
If you’re ready to hit the gym and start strength training, here are two things to keep in mind. 1) If you’re new to strength training or haven’t worked out in a while, we highly suggest investing in a good personal trainer. They’ll be able to teach you proper form so you don’t get hurt and help you safely progress your workout. Not sure what to look for when hiring someone? Check out our suggestions here. 2) If you start strength training and notice some muscle tightness, imbalances, or have trouble feeling muscles working, you may need to see a Muscle Activation Techniques™ Specialist who can help assess and correct your neuromuscular system. Curious about how MAT™ can help? See our blog post here and find an MAT™ Specialist near you here.