If you’re a golfer, competitively or recreationally, you want to be able to hit the ball further. While I don’t claim to have the specific knowledge to get you to hit the ball straighter (which we all want to do, as well), I do have the knowledge to help you hit the ball further.
There’s lots of techniques that go into a beautiful golf swing, and I won’t hit on any of them in this article. I do realize, though, that you can hit the ball further by just making some improvements in your swing’s technique. I want to focus on the strength part of developing a better swing, because getting someone stronger allows them to produce more force. And, you want a lot of force on your side when you’re trying to hit the ball far.
So, here are a few tips…
1) Commit to gaining some general strength
I find that athletes who are involved in sports at a high-skill level (golf, baseball, tennis, etc.) want to do a lot of fancy things to get pseudo strong. For example, throwing medicine balls into the wall, footwork drills, balance drills, etc. However, all this does is substitute skill work for more skill work. Swinging a baseball bat is a highly-skilled task, and so are medicine ball rotational throws. These things aren’t doing a lot to help an athlete create more force and build a solid foundation of strength.
Devote some time to less-skilled tasks, where you can build-up some general strength. Some of these types of exercises include squats, presses, rows, and deadlifts. While these aren’t very fancy, they allow an athlete to build more muscle and create more force within their muscles. Giving yourself a solid foundation of strength allows you to do the fancy stuff a bit more effectively later on, because you now possess a body that can create more force.
2) Build a strong core the right way
A strong mid-section is very important for rotational athletes, such as golfers. Swinging a golf club requires a lot of rotational demands on the body. Because of this, it’s important to have a strong core to get everything well connected on your swing. Having a weak core can cause you to lose some of the force you create with your legs and it doesn’t allow you to transfer that force into the rest of your swing. It’s also important to train your core in an effective way. By that, I mean training your core in good positions. To train your core in good positions, at Force Barbell, we focus on resisting motion at the trunk, rather than creating it. Below are a few exercises we really like to use to help get the job done.
The paloff-hold/press is a good one for rotational athletes, because it challenges the athlete to resist motion rotationally. Being strong anti-rotationally gives an athlete a stronger core when performing full rotational movements.
Take a look at this old article for a more detailed look at core training: https://forcebarbell.com/ultimate-guide-core-stability/.
3) Learn how to produce force faster
Once you’ve spent a good deal of time developing a good foundation of general strength, it might be time to start learning how to produce force at a higher rate. Strength is the body’s ability to produce as much force as possible. Speed and power are the body’s ability to produce force at a really high rate. A golf swing is something that’s done by producing force at a high rate, so it’s only appropriate to train that way as well. I want to make an important note here…that an athlete should have a solid foundation of strength before speed and power become important. If your body can’t produce a lot of force currently, then it’s not going to be able to do so at a high rate. So, general strength training comes before speed and power training.
Teaching the body how to produce force at a higher rate comes from doing things fast with lighter weight. A heavy back squat that has a lot of weight but moves slowly would be an example of absolute strength training. Putting 40-60% of that weight on the bar and moving it as fast as you can would be more of an example of power training. Doing the basic barbell movements: squats, bench press, deadlift with lighter weight higher speeds, are a good source for power development. It’s also important to keep the reps low at about 1-3 to ensure that you can keep the speed of the bar moving fast and you’re still training for power. To get more into the speed realm where you’re producing even higher rates of force, it’s important to lighten the load even more. This is where bodyweight plyometrics are key. Such things as box jumps and various sorts of medicine ball throws are a good way to train the body to produce force at a really high rate. Medicine ball rotational throws can be even better for a golfer, because they add a little bit more specificity to the sport. Here’s another old article that explains plyometrics in more detail and how you can utilize the different exercises as a warm-up: https://forcebarbell.com/plyometric-warm-athletes/. Below are a few plyometrics exercises that we really like to use at Force Barbell.
The best thing to do to get better at highly-skilled tasks, such as swinging a golf club, is to simply practice the task as often as you can. We’re sure to always tell athletes this when they come through the doors. However, strength can be an essential missing piece. All types of athletes need this. It’s important to practice and be really good at your skill, but proper strength training can really help an athlete take his or her potential to the next level. Don’t just hear it from me. Below is a testimonial from one of our golfers whom we had the opportunity to work with over the summer.
Bailey Fleming – “I am a collegiate golfer who has struggled with distance on the course. The workouts I had been doing at school were not facilitating the distance that I needed on the course. I decided to train at Force Barbell for the summer to focus on developing strength to improve my game. Within three months, I have seen noticeable gains in my distance within my golf game; up to 20+ yards on my drives. The workouts were always challenging and the environment is one that constantly pushes me to do more with every lift.”