Now that fall is upon us, let’s face it – the golf season is winding down. Insert sad face. For some, that would mean putting the clubs away until spring and spending your winter dreaming about the course; instead, you can use this fall and winter to assess, train smart, and strengthen your body-swing connection.
The key components to master during this offseason are ground reaction force, hip hinge, separation of upper/lower body, speed, and flexibility; that way, when you hit the course next spring, you’ll be able to feel connected on every shot because of your increased athletic capacity and power.
Ground Reaction Force
The kinematic swing sequence – an efficient sequence of motion in a skilled golf swing – generates power from the ground up, which means you need to be efficient at triple extension of the lower limbs.
Training Rx: Ground Reaction Force
Exercises like lunges, squats, and deadlifts are all great to build strength in your athletic powerhouse (i.e. glutes). As per the TPI lower body strength test, you should be able to do a lunge with 50% of your body weight (split in both hands) for 8 reps. This will give you a minimum strength profile to safely start speed work.
To properly access your glutes –essential in transferring energy from the ground, through your lower body to the upper body, and finally to the club – and maintain a flat spine angle, one must perfect the hip hinge pattern.
Training Rx: Hip Hinge
The best exercises to work on your hip hinge are straight leg deadlifts (of all varieties). Use a load that challenges you for 8 reps.
Separation of Upper and Lower Body
Your ability to rotate your torso and pelvis independent of each other is essential to increasing lag and clubhead speed in your swing. It also allows you to build torque in the body and use your legs to start the downswing.
Training Rx: Separation of Upper and Lower Body
This fall, practice a four point turn and reach to increase the torso twist and stork turns to improve pelvic rotation.
Speed is one of the most important aspects to implement into your training. Work on getting faster and increasing the rate of force development (RFD) in your muscles.
“Build a jet engine first, not a diesel.” - Greg Rose, TPI Founder.
Training Rx: Speed
The magic number here is twenty. As per the TPI lower body speed test, you should be able to perform a minimum of a 20” vertical jump to maximize the use of lower body acceleration in your swing. Drills such as sprinting, jumping, throwing, agility, and changes of direction will help in the development of fast twitch muscle fibres, which are necessary for having an explosive golf swing.
The key areas to keep flexible are your ankles, hips, trunk (especially thoracic spine), and shoulder joint. Active mobility drills (AROM) force your muscles to engage through the full range of motion, which gives you the best chance to remain stable in all positions.
Training Rx: Flexibility
Exercises such as hip 9090, open books, wall slides, and hip windshield wipers are all great for hitting these key areas.
Having good stamina and aerobic capacity are absolutely necessary to walk and play 18 holes. Did you know that a typical round is between 8-11 kms of walking? Fatigue can be a killer of physical and mental focus and can affect your decisions on the course.
“I never want to lose a tournament because of a bad decision precipitated by me being out of shape.” - Tiger Woods.
Training Rx: Cardio Endurance
Use a variety of cross training activities to keep it fun and challenging while increasing your metabolic conditioning. Swimming, tennis, soccer, rowing, cycling, and high intensity training (HIIT) are all great options.
Even if you put your clubs away soon, don’t let your golf specific training fall to the back of your mind. Incorporate these exercises into your routine, and you’ll feel like a whole new player next season.
Don’t leave your swing to chance! Book a TPI assessment to understand the most effective exercises and workouts needed to take your golf game to the next level.
Eric Bols, TPI, FMS, CSEP
TPI Fitness Professional & Personal Trainer, Toronto Athletic Club