Weight Training For GolfInto the Rough > Golf Features
Published 05/07/2008 19:53:58
The days of the out of shape slob in the golf buggy are no more. Players like Tiger Woods have shown us that weight training can significantly aid in getting distance with all the long clubs. At the time of writing he's just won his 14th major practically on one leg, surely some of this superhuman fortitude must be attributed to a superhuman physique and training regime?
This is a guide aimed at those who have done little or no weight training and want to cut through the hyperbole. Think primer, not program.
Expelling the myths
Weight training generally gets a hard time from those who know little about it; people don't want to get "bulky" or "too big". This is nonsense, if it was that easy, wouldn't we all have film star physiques? Let's bust a few of these myths right now:
- picking up a dumbbell won't turn you into Lou Ferrigno. Hard work, consistency and good diet will help you get stronger and fitter and almost certainly improve your general quality of life. Weight lifting or intense cardiovascular activity releases endorphins and helps relieve stress.
- "gyms are full of 'roid monkeys who will kick sand in my face". Excuse me whilst I mix my metaphors but sure, some guys get 'assistance', but it's really not necessary when we want to add a few yards to our drive, not tear up phonebooks or get the posing trunks out. Also, the bigger guys in the gym don't care how weak or strong you are, everyone had to start somewhere.
- "when I stop my muscle will turn to fat". Aside from (probably) being against the laws of physics, this is simply untrue. Sure, if you carry on eating the same way but without training, you'll get fat. But muscles either grow or they atrophy, they don't "turn" to anything. Adjust your diet according to the amount you train.
- You don't get to choose where you lose fat, sorry. If you've got a belly, lose weight at around 1-2lbs a week and it will go eventually. But 1000 sit-ups a night won't get rid of it. This is genetics, blame your father.
Set your targets
Don't go into the gym just to ogle the opposite sex, go in with a long term goal and a short term plan. We're going to assume that our goal is to add some muscle whilst also dropping a few pounds of fat. If you don't have goals you'll start cutting corners, cancelling and eventually get bored and stop going the gym altogether.
Get with the program
There are plenty of programs tailor made for new lifters. As a golfer, you generally want to emphasise the "core" muscles. These are abdominals, hips and glutes (buttocks). I would also include what's called the "posterior chain" which is your lower back, glutes and hamstring. A strong core will improve your posture as well as make general day to day lifting of household/work objects easier.
The other muscles I would suggest are shoulders, triceps and, to a lesser extent, biceps. However golf is a rotational movement, try to emphasise exercises with rotation as much as possible. Whilst in general terms these aren't as useful as, say, a deadlift, we're training for a specific purpose.
Pick one of the following progams and you won't go far wrong:
- Starting strength - does what it says on the tin. If in doubt, do this.
- 5x5 - means five sets of five repetitions, a little more advanced.
- Trunk training for golf - a tailor made program for golf.
Diet is important. If you want to grow muscle, you must feed your body. Carbohydrates will fuel your workout and additional protein will help build and repair muscle. Some tips on dieting include:
- Good food sources include lean protein such as chicken, turkey etc, green veg and clean carbs such as pasta and brown rice. This article has some good information, even though it's tailored for bodybuilders, it's still useful as a reference.
- Drink lots of water - people can mistake dehydration for hunger and eat excessively. A well hydrated body will also perform much better in almost every aspect.
- Try to avoid sugar - obviously you can't cut sugar out totally, but excess sugar such as found in Coke etc.
- Try to limit saturated fats - again, nothing extreme, but saturated fats are calorie dense and tough for your body to digest
- Take a multi vitamin every day. Take glucosamine for your joints too - no matter what age you are.
Newbie gains are a peculiar phenomenon. For reasons outside the scope of this article, when an untrained individual (this doesn't mean a couch potato) begins a program of progressive weight training, he/she can put on muscle extremely quickly and simultaneously lose fat. This accounts for the quick change people see in the trainee's physique, and often wrongly attribute to chemical enhancements. But they don't last long, after a few months your body will adapt and gains will become slower.
Things to remember
Warm up with some cardio before you lift, this helps warm your muscles and lessens the chance of injury. Stretch afterwards to get blood pumping through them. This will help with recovery - this is known as "tear and repair".
Stretching IS important. It helps minimise the risk of injury and maintain flexibility. Because the balance of our swing is important, you need to remain supple. Good stretching guide.
It will hurt the next day after you train. In fact when you first start, it will probably hurt anything up to five days later. This is normal and you shouldn't worry, the pain lessens as your muscles adapt to the stress being placed on them.
Don't over analyze. Listen to your body, if you have an old knee injury that's giving you pain, don't try and train through it. If in doubt always speak to a doctor or specialised physio.
There's an endless amount of information about weight training on the internet, and plenty about training for golf. Hopefully now you can filter through some of the junk and decide if it's for you.
1. Weight training has been proved to be one of the best (if not THE best) forms of exercise for health and well being. And I am certain that basic strength training will definitely help your golf.
comment by mp12321 - 06/07/2008 13:28
2. Watch out for "purple akki"!
comment by blondie - 06/07/2008 16:42
3. Great article. It's good to see such great information about workout routines. Thanks for sharing.
comment by Workout Routines - 16/08/2010 15:32