Despite what some may think, golf is a dynamic sport due to the varied terrain and different courses that you may come across. Even within a course, every hole will require different skills so as a golfer you must really be able to compete in many different ways to be successful. The swing of a golfer is the main element that can be worked on in the gym, and it can require such detailed analysis that the work done in the gym can be as detailed as working on the range of motion, strength and power of the smallest muscles. Because of this, a Personal Trainer must work with many other specialists such as physios and coaches to ensure that they provide the most appropriate training possible. Not every PT will have the skill set and sports knowledge to be able to train a client with such specific requirements, so it's always best to evaluate different trainers properly or gain recommendations from fellow players or coaches.
The golf swing is a very complex movement if performed correctly and efficiently, and requires most major muscles in the body. Because of this, there is a huge amount of basic work that can be done with a PT for low level social golfers, as simply working on total body strength will improve your swing tremendously. Once a base level of strength and fitness is established, more fine tuning can be carried out through the training program prescribed by your Personal Trainer.
The secret to a good golf swing is having the strength and fitness to create a great technique and be able to repeat it. There is a lot of benefit to golfing lessons, however without the athletic conditioning that a golfer requires, it's very difficult to perform perfect technique every time as your body is simply not able to do it. Injury risk is also significantly reduced if you are a strong, well conditioned athlete, and this alone is all the more reason to get yourself a PT and get in the gym!
So, what work should you aim to do in the gym to get your golf fitness up to scratch?
Stamina: Now this isn't always essential, but to get a great workout from a game of golf, walk rather than take the buggy. A golfer can average around 4 miles of walking by taking this option!
Injury Prevention: It's impossible to avoid all injuries, but you can at least prepare in the best way possible to suffer the least. Tennis/golfers elbow is a common issue among golfers, so to help mitigate the risk you can perform forearm strengthening exercises such as wrist curls and practice your grip strength. Remember to work both sides of your body equally!
Posture: Back injuries are very common golfing injuries, so ensuring you have optimal posture through core strengthening will help to prevent this. Your core encompasses your back as well as your abdominals so anti-rotational and isometric core exercises will help with this a great deal.
Upper Body Strength: A strong and balanced upper body will allow you to get the most out of your swing as you will have greater control of the movement as well as increased power.
Lower Body Stability: The hips provide such a large part of the swing and so should also form a large part of your training. Hip mobility will be especially important as well as strength in the glutes to drive the hips around. The rest of the lower body should also be strong to enable stable knee and ankle joints to resist rotational injuries.
Balance: Losing balance in the swing can be a big problem for some golfers, so coordination and balance work is a key element of golf fitness that should be addressed. Work on the Bosu Ball and single leg strength exercises such as single leg RDLs and lunges should help with this.
Of course everyone is different, so the training that you do with your PT should be specific to you and the individual strengths and weaknesses that you have, rather than a 'one size fits all' approach to programming. Here at Sterling Fitness we provide bespoke programming for every client through 1 to 1 training as well as Online Personal Training, so you can always be sure that you will receive the best service possible.
Outside of your training with your Personal Trainer in the gym, there are other small adjustments you can make that can also improve your performance. Making sure you are correctly warmed up prior to playing is essential, not only for reducing the risk of injury, but to get the most out of your body. You wouldn't play any other sport without warming up, so why should a game of golf be any different?
I would recommend a 10-15 minute warm up, consisting of light pulse raising movements (get your body warm), followed by full body activation and stretching. This will help to loosen up the muscles whilst they're warm and ensure you have full range of motion and power. Pay particular attention to the hips, shoulders and lower back - you should feel no pain or tightness and ready to get going!
Hopefully if you are reading this and you are a golfer then you have been able to take some useful help and advice away, but as always for more tips, get in touch with any enquiries for PT or Online Personal Training.