Fitness: lifting weights for golf

THE debate between Rory Mcllroy and Brandel Chamblee has got a lot of people interested, but don't get confused.

THE recent debate between Rory Mcllroy and Brandel Chamblee on whether lifting weights is beneficial or detrimental to you and your golf has got a lot of people interested in the topic – which is great. I can’t help feel that many people will also be left feeling a bit confused though.

So, to help you get a better grasp on fitness training for golf, I have put together an article explaining what should be in your golf fitness training program.

If you're thinking about getting into some golf specific fitness then the first step should be to make a plan and get a training program sorted.

But you might feel a bit overwhelmed by the contrasting opinions and recommendations out there relating to golf fitness.

If you are anything like the average golfer, then thoughts like this might be running through your head:

Will I need to join a gym?

How can I move my hips like Rory?

Is stretching good for me or not?

Should I get a trainer?

Maybe I’ll get the “Ab Flex Twisty Turner Fat Shredder Pro 9?” (the answer is a definite NO to this one!) 

All these doubts essentially boil down to four key questions:

What exercises are best for you?

How many reps should you do?

When should you do them?

How much load should you use?

Answering these four questions forms the nuts and bolts of constructing a training program. If we can figure out how to answer these questions best, then we are most of the way to getting you a decent training program.

What Exercises Are Best For You?

Everyone has an opinion on what exercises golfers should or shouldn’t do. If you listened to everybody you’d be either in the gym all day doing 73 different exercises per workout, or you’d be frozen to the spot thinking about why not to do them all.

Image 2

A good rule of thumb is to include exercise variations of the following basic movements:

Squat, Lunge, Push, Pull, Bend/Hinge, Brace 

This will ensure a balanced workout that incorporates a range of different movements and helps improve the way your body performs during the golf swing.

How Many Reps Will Do?

Again, opinions can be pretty polarized here. Some say do five reps for max strength or power, while others believe that endurance is key and recommend doing 20 reps per set. I would advise to simply take the middle ground on this one. Aim for 8-to-12 reps and 2-to-3 sets and you can’t go too far wrong.


When Should You Do Them?

This really depends a lot on your lifestyle and when you play golf during the week. Let’s use the example of someone who has some spare time during the week to exercise and plays their competitive round on a Saturday. In this case, go for three workouts per week and try to have a rest/recovery day on Friday. A schedule I often recommend is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday.

How Much Load Should I Use?

Imagine a scale of exertion and effort relative to how hard the last two reps are in a set. At one end of the scale, you are in danger of bursting blood vessels in your eyes. This is a 10. At the other end of the scale, you are not even close to breaking a sweat and could do 100 more reps if your life really depended on it. This is a 1. I would recommend aiming for 7 or 8 on the scale.

In terms of what type of load, I like the following progression relative to ability and experience:



Dumbbells / Kettlebells


An Example

For a nice simple example of how this looks in program format, take a look at the image below. This is a workout taken from a beginner level program that I often use to introduce players to training their body for golf.

Light _Program

It is well worth considering that this advice will not apply to everyone and program design should reflect your ability, experience, injuries and other individual peculiarities.

It also should be known that as professionals, my contemporaries and I consider a few more factors to achieve a really top notch program:

What levels of exercises are suitable?

What exercise progressions to use and when?

Which exercises go together (and which ones do not)?

How much rest between sets?

What tempo (speed) to perform the exercises at?

What are the appropriate modifications to form and technique?

As you can see, designing a comprehensive golf fitness program by yourself is actually a pretty tricky task. Formal strength and conditioning education, extensive knowledge of the golf swing and plenty of experience are needed to properly answer all of the questions above.

If you would like more specific information or a program more tailored to you then contact me directly through email — nick@golfitpro.net — or check out what we have to offer at www.golffitproshop.com.

Disclaimer: Always gain clearance for your training from a doctor or well-qualified exercise professional before commencement of an exercise regime. 



Nick RandallNick Randall is a qualified Strength and Conditioning Coach, Presenter, Rehab Expert and Therapist.

Nick works with a number of professionals on multiple tours and is also contracted by Golf Australia and Golf Queensland to work with their elite amateur players.

Nick also works on an individual and group basis with club level golfers of all ages and abilities.

Based in Brisbane, Queensland, Nick trains and treats golfers at his private facility in the suburb of Milton.

He also has a range of online services including the world leading golf fitness app  "Golf Fit Pro". Click here for more info.

Nick's passion for golf started at age 13 and quickly developed into a complete obsession that only seems to be getting stronger with age.

He began his strong interest in fitness aged 20, pursued the relevant qualifications, decided to mix his two passions to form a career in 2010 and hasn't looked back!

To keep up to date with Nick's social media activity, click here




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