SPECIFIC STRENGTH TRAINING PROGRAM


The main objective of any strength training program is to increase the level of performance as well as prevent injury. 

Skip's golf-specific strength program is one that utilizes certain strength training principles and exercises that will benenficial to developing the muscles that allow the golfer to obtain and perform a correct set up, maintain posture throught the swing, and perform the back-swing, transition, down-swing and follow-through with efficiency and power. His program is developed on the premise that the body must work as one solid functioning unit and the exercises must be specific to the actions of the golf swing.

Strength; the ability to produce maximum force, is what most athletes seek when performing a skill. Strength is vital to developing power, especially in producing higher levels of force, which in turn provide the physiological stimuli needed for your body to perform at maximum efficiency.

The main objective of any strength training program is to increase the level of performance while preventing injury.

One of the most important aspects of a successful golf strength training program is training the muscles used in the golf swing. The principle of skill specificity states that carryover from a training activity to a sport (golf swing) is dependent on the similarity of the neuromuscular demands of the activity and the sport. There are many movements that make up the golf swing; therefore, a strength training program must address all of the various muscle actions used in the swing.


 Strength Training has several classifications:

  • Functional Strength: Refers to developing strength that is needed to perform a skill.

  • Relative Strength: Refers to the ability to work against one's body weight.

  • Maximum Strength: Refers to the maximum amount of weight that a person can lift at any one time.

  • Static Strength: Refers to one's ability to maintain or stabilize a position, such as a golf stance.

  • Eccentric Strength: Refers to the ability of a muscle to develop force while it is lengthening as in in the golf back-swing. This classification is essential to performing skills that require power.

  • Speed Strength: The foundation of power development. The components of speed strength are 1) Starting Strength (the ability to exert maximum force when immediately starting a skill), 2) Explosive Strength (the rate at which a person develops force), and 3) Reactive - Elastic Strength (the joining of eccentric strength and concentric strength).

A successful strength training program must encompass all of the categories listed above. It is imperative that the strength training adhere to the SAID (specific, adaptation to imposed demands) principle, which means that training must become more mechanically and speed specific. The training drills, especially with a golfer, must be closely related to the demands of performing a successful golf swing.  

A successful strength training program must encompass all of the types listed above. It is imperative that the strength training adhere to the SAID (specific adaptation to imposed demands) principle, which means that training must become more mechanical and speed specific. The training drills, especially with a golfer, must be closely related to the demands of performing a successful golf swing.


Guidelines for a successful training program:
 

In general a program that stresses multi-joint, weight-bearing exercises that train the body as a whole will be far more effective when performing a skill such as hitting a golf ball with power. Muscles should be trained in functional task groups rather than in isolation. With golfers this is a very important concept as many have considered strength training to be detrimental to their swing.

Skip recommends doing exercises in the program while operating outside the golf setup whenever possible. This gives the golfer a very clear concept on why a particular strength training exercise will help them execute a proper golf swing. Once they do a swing under added load, it will make it much easier for them to correctly perform the swing without load. Also, it allows for several muscle groups to be trained at one time, which will be more time efficient. Now there is no excuse for not doing a golf training workout!

Using free weights such as dumbbells, weighted golf clubs and medicine balls will not only build functional strength, it will help activate the neuromuscular and endocrine systems, which in turn regulate every system in the body.
 


Skip's training holds distinct advantages over isolated muscle movement:
 

  • Power: the greater the effort and acceleration with a free weight, the greater the functional power development, which results in better training results.

  • Motor Coordination: are movements that improve the learning of motor control, which transfers over to the following motor skills:

  • Orientation and differentiation

  • Balance and body awareness in time and space

  • Combination of functional skills (example: using dumbbells, weight clubs or medicine balls, you can stimulate the golf swing in various strength training exercises. This will also incorporate balance, coordination and valid golf swing training while participating in a training program.)

  • Systemic Overall-Effect: by increasing exertion and intensity in this type of training, there will be a higher production of hormones, which will in turn stimulate over-all muscle mass and increase strength to a greater degree.


Dynamic Isolated Variable Resistance Exercises:
 

This form of training exercise uses a resistance that automatically changes throughout the movement range. For example, Nautilus machines incorporate a cam to automatically vary the resistance which matches your muscle movements. You will encounter proportionately less resistance in positions of lower muscle force and more resistance in positions of higher muscle force. Using this type of machine will result in matching muscle force and resistance force throughout the movement range.

For golfers, these types of machines provide a supportive exercise structure. The benefit of using machines is that they will keep you in a stable position that increases your correct biomechanical movement range, stretches the muscles and reduces chance of injury. Using dumbbells and free weight bars does come with that risk; you could be trapped under a weight or dumbbell or lose your balance, resulting in injury. Nautilus and Cybex are brands of resistance machines that provied a specific movement path to keep the joint action on track throughout each exercise set. These safety features make resistance machines a preferred option for golfers who desire safer, more simple training sessions.


Exercise selection and order:
 

An efficient strength training program should include exercises for all of your major muscle groups. The exercises selected in your program should be carefully designed so that your muscles will develop in balance with one another. You should not emphasize training certain muscle groups over others as this can result in muscle imbalance injuries.

Your larger muscle groups should be trained first, followed by medium and smaller muscle groups. Example: a lower body exercise might start with single leg deadlifts with a medicine ball (glutes) followed by physio medicine ball squats (quads/hamstrings), and then do single leg calf raises.

Frequency of a successful training program is a very important aspect. This is very important because properly performed strength exercises progressively stress muscles, causing a varied degree of muscle tissue trauma. Following a training session, the stressed muscle tissue undergoes repair and a regenerating process that leads to larger and stronger muscles (hypertrophy). Muscles typically need 48 hours to recuperate so that they can complete these physiological changes. Research has shown that an average of 3-4 training sessions per week is sufficient for most people.

A golf professional, college or junior tournament golfer might increase their training sessions to 5-6 days a week, depending on whether it is off-season, pre-season or in-season.

The number of sets and repetitions will vary according to the particular training program. Past and present research has shown that 3 sets per muscle group and 8-15 repetitions per training exercise has been shown to give the best result for people who have moderate muscular endurance. This will vary depending on the time of season and your tournament schedule.


Summary:
 

Specialized strength training offers the golfer the tremendous potential to improve their golf swing, which will ultimately improve their performance capabilities and minimize the risk of injury on and off the green.