There has been a lot of focus lately on strength training for golf purporting that, to hit the ball farther, you need to lift weights. While adding strength is certainly important, it is not the only element needed to stay focused for the complete round.
Golfers also require both muscular and cardiovascular endurance as the sport demands walking, bending and possibly carrying golf bags for 18 holes.
Endurance training is not running five miles or jogging on a treadmill for countless minutes. It’s about placing the body under load-bearing pressure using a method called tempo training.
When used correctly, tempo training will fatigue your golf muscles by exercising for 50-65 seconds per set. This increased load on the body promotes more blood flow and challenges your muscles to sustain great form while being placed under tension.
For example, if you were doing a seated lateral pull down (shown here) and wanted to place the stabilizer muscles and prime movers under more load, you would do a 5210 tempo, meaning it should take 1 second to pull the weight toward you with a 2-second hold at the bottom, and then 5 seconds to return the weight to the top and doing this for 10 reps.
Another example is a favorite exercise for junior players. A warm up on a treadmill for 10 minutes walking forwards, backwards and sideways left and right addresses all the leg and hip muscles, while promoting an aerobic effect on the body. They then place their golf bag on their back and walk at a 3 percent grade at 3.5 mph for 15 minutes. This is a specific form required for their sport and increases both muscular endurance and strength.
A muscular endurance/strength program can be added to anyone’s exercise routine by doing circuits of 3 exercises with only 15 seconds rest between exercises and a 1-minute rest between circuits. This will work both the aerobic and anaerobic pathways to fatigue which in turn gets the golfer into better overall physical shape.
The bottom line for golfers is to have a solid strength program but to never neglect the endurance component as injury prevention is always of prime concern.
Michael Butler is co-owner of Kinetix Health and Performance Center. He is a licensed physical therapist assistant, a certified strength and conditioning coach with the highest distinction honors, a full body active release therapist, and a writer/publisher of over 100 articles, books and magazine contributions. Michael@kinetixcenter.com or (760) 200.1719.