The Unique Benefits of Golf-Specific Fitness

Golf is not a sport of raw intensity. It is a sport of precision, balance, and power. That is why golf fitness has to be viewed differently than regular old fitness. There is a lot of overlap between the two, but golf fitness zeroes in on the specific areas and movements that are crucial to golf.

Golf Fitness Vs Traditional Fitness

When it comes to golf, any fitness program will improve your golf game better than no fitness program. The problem with traditional fitness programs is they focus on movements in a single plane. Moving in a single plane reduces the risk of injury for the average person and allows for more intense workouts. For this reason, you will rarely witness a commercial fitness trainer telling their client to perform multiplane movements. It is viewed as too dangerous.

Here’s the issue: the golf swing is a multiplane movement. Your body moves in all three planes during the golf swing:

  • The sagittal plane: forward and backward movement or hinging (squatting, deadlifting, rowing)
  • The frontal plane: lateral movements (side to side)
  • The transverse plane: rotation movements (twisting of hips and spine)

Golf Fitness and golf workouts focus on moving in all three of these planes. You can strengthen them separately, but there also needs to be movements that train these planes together to create a powerful golf swing.

Hallmarks of Golf Fitness

You don’t need to pay for an expensive golf fitness program to reap the benefits of golf fitness. If you listen to your body and figure out what movements feel good to you, then you can create your own custom workout. You know your swing flaws and mobility issues better than anyone else.

It doesn’t need to be flashy or intense for you to start seeing results. All you need is consistency.

Mobility and Flexibility

It is no secret that golf requires a wide range of motion. People typically have adequate flexibility in the sagittal plane to perform a good golf swing, but they struggle with the lateral and transverse planes. We are sitting down most of the day and our hips and thoracic spine tighten up. It’s not our fault, it’s just the nature of the culture we live in.

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Golf fitness targets flexibility and good mobility in the hips, spine, and shoulders to ensure a full and fluid swing. We all drool over how smooth a professional golfer’s swing looks on tv. They have incredible mobility in their hips and spines that allows them generate power and transfer it to the ball efficiently.

Strength and Power

Strong Legs + Strong Core = Strong Swing

The legs and core muscles are emphasized in golf because they are the engine that generate powers and control throughout the swing. A strong and stable lower half creates a consistent and powerful swing.

Traditional fitness places an emphasis on upper body exercises, particularly for males. Golf fitness doesn’t completely neglect the upper body, but the lower body needs to take the front seat. Squats, lunges, deadlifts, and all other leg workouts will help your swing.

Balance and Stability

A balanced swing is a consistent swing. Balance and stability are my nemesis because I always want to swing with maximum effort. My balance throughout my swing is all over the place and my follow through is ugly. It is something I work on weekly.

Golf fitness routines will always include exercises to improve stability. Traditional fitness focuses on bilateral movements such as barbell squats, rows, bench press, deadlifts, etc. Golf fitness will focus on unilateral movements such as lunges, single arm rows, single leg deadlifts, and so on. Unilateral movements will shift your focus from raw strength to stability, balance, and strength.

If there is a unilateral alternative to a bilateral movement, always pick the unilateral movement if you are wanting to improve your golf game. A unilateral exercise can turn a single plane movement into a multiplane movement. That’s perfect training for your golf game.

Endurance and Cardiovascular Health

The long historied game of liquor and cigars requires endurance? Yup. It does. Walking 18 holes takes the average golfer around 20,000 steps. That’s a lot of steps if you aren’t in decent shape.

Tournaments often have multiple rounds on back to back days. I know I’ve been exhausted after walking more than 20,000 steps on three consecutive days. Golf is the walking equivalent of going to Disneyland (except golf is wayyyy better).

You will also be more focused and consistent on the back nine if you have good endurance. There is nothing worse than standing over your golf ball and feeling dead tired. I rarely hit a good shot under those circumstances.

Preventing Injuries

Golf fitness also aims to prevent common golf-related injuries by strengthening specific areas prone to strains or stress during the game. The funny thing about golf-related injuries is that certain injuries plague some golfers and other golfers never have problems. You never know which injuries you are going to be dealing with.

As soon as you identify your injury prone areas (neck, back, hips, knees, elbows), you should take steps to strengthen those areas to prevent further problems. You can strengthen them, ice them, wear a brace, find the core problem with a physician, or simply allow enough recovery time.

Mental Focus and Relaxation

Fitness in golf extends to mental fitness, emphasizing focus, relaxation, and visualization techniques to improve your golf game under pressure. Each golfer has to figure out what techniques work for them, but there are some mental golf tips that all successful golfers have in common.

I’ve seen way too many golfers lose their composure over a poor shot or two. The only way to ensure that you don’t bounce back is to lose your cool. The best golfers learn to roll with punches and bounce back. Yes, this sport can be infuriating.

Final Thoughts on Golf Fitness

In essence, golf fitness is a tailored approach that uses golf-specific exercises and routines to improve your golf swing, reduce the risk of injury, and stay mentally fit. Golf Fitness and golf workouts are much different than the traditional fitness and workouts you will find at a commercial gym. You don’t need a personal trainer to perform golf workouts, you just need be honest with yourself about which golf movement needs improvement.

If you want to improve your game, begin your fitness experience with a focus on golf.

Golf Gains X may provide information related to fitness, exercise, diet, and nutrition and is intended for your personal use and informational purposes only. You should consult with a physician before beginning any exercise, fitness, diet, or nutrition routine, especially if you are pregnant or have pre-existing health conditions. Nothing contained on this website or any other Golf Gains X content should be considered as medical advice or diagnosis. Your use of the Golf Gains X content is solely at your own risk.

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