Now we all know that power is of vital importance for not only hitting the ball a long way, but also for injury prevention and consistency of swinging, but some people still just don’t get how important building strength is to developing power.
Strength is to power what the rendering is for a house. Without it, you can never build the house to its full potential, and even if you tried, you would fail. Strength is the foundation from which to build power.
It’s because of this reason that we value the building of strength so highly in developing world class golfing athletes – because we know the strength level of an athlete directly correlates with their power output.
So without further ado, here is our list of exercises that will develop a solid base of strength for you.
Target Muscles – Quads, Glutes, Hamstring, Spinal Erectors
The squat has been called ‘The King Of All Exercises’. This is due to the unparalleled gains in strength and power that people have seen whilst using this exercise. Like all of the movements on this list, the squat is a compound movement, meaning that it uses multiple muscles at once (which is how the body was designed to function), and more importantly for golfers, provides us with a lot of improvements hip and leg strength/power.
Why is this important to golfers? Because your power in a golf swing is generated, through the ground, from the hips and legs first. This contradicts the widely spread belief that to increase swing power you need to develop strength in your arms so that you can ‘swing faster’.
Developing lower body strength, whilst still maintaining flexibility & mobility should be the primary aim for a golfer, and the squat will provide us with all of the above.
Target Muscles – Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Upper Back, Spinal Erectors
I love deadlifts. What’s not to love? With deadlifts you get a total body movement that you can load heavy, can’t cheat on (as you can in the squat), provides you with a lot of hip strength (something that almost everyone lacks), challenges your core, and develops grip strength and the thoracic musculature. All of this from this one exercise!
As an added bonus it doesn’t leave you extremely sore the day after a training session as it’s a mostly concentric-based movement.
Unfortunately to some the deadlift comes under the stigma of being ‘dangerous’. This is mostly due to the shearing stress they can cause on the spine. This heat is unfounded, in my opinion, because the truth is that if you coach a deadlift correctly, and take the time to learn proper lifting technique while progressing the weight lifted appropriately, there is no reason that the deadlift should cause any lower back pain.
Some people with pre-existing back conditions should definitely err on the cautious side with this exercise, however, and definitely consult a health professional prior to adding it to your routine. For those with healthy lower backs, either read up on good technique, or find a good coach to show you how to deadlift properly, and start to reap the rewards from getting good at this exercise!
3) Clean & Press
Target Muscles – Upper Back, Trapezius, Biceps, Shoulders, Triceps
The clean & press is another great total body movement. It’s unique of the squat and deadlift for a few reasons. First, it incorporates a higher element of speed in the movement as you need to pull the bar up faster from the floor in order to ‘catch’ it in the clean grip. It also has a higher demand on the core than the other two lifts because you need to get the bar above your head. Lastly, while the other two movements do involves the upper musculature (mostly in a support role), the clean & press has an active upper body movement when you’re pressing it over your head.
All of these factors combine to make this one great exercise, worthy of inclusion in any program.
4) Chin Up/Pull Up
Target Muscles – Upper Back, Biceps
The chin up/pull up is the true test of upper body strength. The ability to lift your own body weight for reps is a sign that you’ve advanced to a level of strength that most really do not have. The great benefit of this exercise is that you develop strength within the stabilizing muscles of the shoulder, which will aid in keeping them healthy whilst you’re out on the course.
Some people find it hard to develop strength in this exercise, so I’m going to provide with a quick tip that I want you to implement immediately. Step 1 is to figure out what your maximum number of repetitions is for the chin up (moving through a full range of motion). Once you have figured this out, Step 2 is to halve this amount. Step 3 is to perform 8 sets of this number at the start of 3 training sessions per week (ensuring you get at least a day’s rest in between sessions).
So, if you’re maximum number of reps was 8. We halve this amount (4), and then do 8 sets of 4, 3 times per week in Week 1. If you can easily make 8 sets of 4 reps over the entire week, then the next week do 8 sets of 5. If you fail to make 4 reps on the latter sets, however, stick with doing 8 sets of 4 again the next week, or until you begin to easily make the set/rep prescription.
A month of training may look like this –
Week 1 – 8 sets of 4 – failed to make 4 reps on sets 7 & 8
Week 2 – 8 sets of 4 – made 4 reps on all sets
Week 3 – 8 sets of 5 – failed to make 5 reps on sets 6, 7 & 8
Week 4 – 8 sets of 5 – made 5 reps on all sets
Give that a try – I’m sure you’ll find it works wonders.
5) Bent-over Barbell Row
Target Muscles – Upper Back, Biceps
Bent-over barbell rows are another big upper back builder, with a difference. Instead of being in the vertical plane (meaning doing the exercise up and down), as a chin up is, it works in the horizontal plane. This is an important distinction to make, as it is because of this that this exercise serves an important purpose. Given that most people have a tight chest and weak upper back, a lot of golfers have rounded forward shoulders. As well as making them more prone to shoulder or lower back injuries, this forward-shoulder position also ruins swing mechanics, result in inconsistency and loss of power.
The bent-over barbell row is an exercise that works to counter-act this forward-shoulder position, as well as providing us with a great foundation of strength to build explosive power from. It’s a great bang for buck exercise. Try it, your shoulders will thank you!
There you have it, our top 5 list of exercises that will build a great foundation of strength from which you can then develop great power!