I've been in the fitness industry my entire life and I've been working with professional golfers for over 20 years. I'm proud to be the strength, conditioning, and biomechanics coach who helped three phenomenal players reach the number one spot in the World Golf Rankings (Vijay Singh, 2004, Dustin Johnson, 2017, and Brooks Koepka, 2018).
I've witnessed first-hand how "golf fitness" has gone from being considered an oxymoron to being a multi-million-dollar industry. And not a day has gone by when I haven't thought about what it takes to get someone to improve their golf performance.
Seeing the Big Picture
Golf fitness is a Big Picture thing. You can't simply decide to randomly work on your arms, or your legs, or your core and expect big changes in your game. The golf swing involves just about every muscle and joint in the body and any work you do with one muscle group or around one joint is going to affect the muscles and joints around it. Any golf fitness or golf strength and conditioning program has to have a sound full-body strategy to be effective.
Think about it this way: if you were to magically increase the horsepower of your car by 30 percent, you'd probably be able to drive a bit faster. But, if you did nothing to improve your steering, brakes, or suspension, you're going to be all over the road -- and probably the sidewalk -- when you get behind the wheel.
It's the same with your golf swing. It might be great if you were able to increase your clubhead speed by 5 or 10 mph, but if your legs, hips, and core can't control this new strength, you're either not going to be able to take advantage of your new swing speed or you're going to be launching bombs in every direction but straight.
Getting Down to the Basics
You don't need to be an elite physical specimen to have a solid golf game, but you do need to be able to do certain things to play the game at an optimal level.
Can you -- with knees bent -- assume an address position with proper pelvic tilt while maintaining a good spine angle and posture with your upper body? Can you effortlessly perform a takeaway that'll let you properly rotate your upper body away from your target without losing the stability and strength in your legs? Can you generate sufficient rotation and maximum power through the hips and shoulders as you begin your downswing? Can you finish your swing with a deep follow-through and perfect balance?
I'm guessing that if you were being 100-percent honest with yourself, you probably couldn't answer "yes" to all of those questions.
The work that we do at the Joey D Golf Sports Training Center here in Jupiter, Florida is designed to let you answer "yes" to all of those questions. It's about strengthening the correct muscles for the golf swing. It's about stabilizing the joints that will allow you to swing confidently and maintain balance. It's about making sure that your new-found muscle strength translates into increased distance and accuracy -- and not just increased frustration at an increased number of balls lost in the woods. It's not guesswork; it's a blueprint for success that's not only worked for many of the top golfers in the world, but has also worked for the hundreds of casual golfers that we work with either in-person or in our online golf fitness programs.
And there's no reason why it can't work for you.
The best part is that it's laser-focused on improving the way you swing the golf club, so there's no wasted time working on anything else. And the second-best part is that if your golf season just ended for the year, the off-season is the ideal time to begin a strength training program because -- well -- you're not spending any time playing golf.
An Intelligent Golf Strength and Conditioning Program
For an example of golf-specific strength and conditioning, let's look back at that first question I asked you a few paragraphs ago. To make sure you can comfortably assume a proper and strong address position from the first tee to the last, add this move into your workout a couple of times a week. It'll reinforce correct leg and hip position while it strengthens the muscles in the back that will let you maintain your spine angle at set-up.
Standing Row with Bands in Golf Posture
Attach a double-handled V-shaped resistance band to an ankle- or knee-high anchor point. Face the anchor point in an address position with a handle in each hand. You should be far enough away from the anchor point to feel some tension in the bands. Your knees should be bent comfortably and you should be hinging slightly at the hips -- and not rounding your lower back. Your upper back should be straight and angled slightly forward. If you weren't standing inside holding a resistance band, you should feel as if you were about to drive the ball. This the starting position.
Maintaining this perfect set-up position, pull back on the bands by drawing your elbows backwards. The rest of your body should remain motionless. Hold this arms-pulled-back position for a three-count, feel the tension and strength between your shoulder blades, and then slowly return to the starting position to complete the repetition. Try to maintain your posture and spine angle throughout the movement. Shoot for three sets of ten to twelve reps with good form.
An intelligent and proven golf strength and conditioning program -- like the ones we offer either in-person or online with one of our Joey D Golf coaches or the follow along at-home workouts you can find at hititgreat.com -- is a sure-fire key to improving your golf. A body that's been optimized to swing the club is going to play the game far better than one that hasn't. It's as simple as that.
So, what are you doing this off-season?
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