Alright. It’s time to answer some tough questions -- questions that, quite frankly, we either get asked often or hear people talking about.
Would it be easy to call this “myth busters” for golf fitness? Sure. So we won’t call it that. Think of this as more of an exploration of commonly-held beliefs or popular questions. We’re going to leverage the expertise of our Biomechanics coaches and figure out where there’s any merit to the claims, and if so, how do we combat them.
In this blog, we’re talking about curls. Yes, good old-fashioned curls. We’ve been asked before if curls are bad for the golf swing, and there’s a lot to unpack here.
True or False: Curls Kill Your Golf Game
The truth is, we can’t boil this down to a single answer. There’s a lot to consider but we’re going to make it simple and easy to understand.
Coach Brianna has some thoughts on curls and whether they’re bad for your golf game.
“In a general sense, muscle is going to limit mobility -- but this is a generalized statement,” she said. “A bodybuilder is not a good fit for golf because they lack mobility. Sure, they can swing as hard as they can and bomb it 400 yards, but there’s a lack of mobility. If the bicep is tight, there’s a good chance you’ll have ROM (range of motion) issues in your shoulders and elbows. In that sense, there is a hindrance.”
“On the other hand, because golf involves a certain degree of finesse -- particularly with your short game -- you could argue on the finesse end that because your muscles are tight from lifting, there’s no getting crazy with your hands or shoulders,” Coach Brianna said.
“It almost makes them better putters and short game players because of it.”
The Concept of Weight and Its Impact on Your Golf Game
Flexibility. Stability. Mobility.
Those are key concepts we teach all of our athletes, mainly for their direct impact on performance on the golf course. Weight can help in building stability -- mainly through the core -- which helps golfers build power and speed from the ground up.
As a general concept, smaller weights won’t have a big impact on your golf game, but larger weights can (and not in a good way).
“The vertical part of your centered body forces you to engage your core,” Coach Brianna said. “If your core is engaged, you’re unable to pull. The better your core is, the more stable you are when putting. Your core, your trunk, your glutes…when all of that is engaged and active correctly, you’re going to be a better player.
“Curls do not kill your golf game, but they can impact it if you're lifting too heavy.”
What to Focus on When Training
The goal is to build stability and not sacrifice any range of motion or flexibility. Using weights for stability is a great way to increase the challenge in a workout and better prepare you for the course; but, it’s crucial to go at your own pace and not to go too heavy because otherwise, you aren't getting much range of motion at all.
After all, stability is one of the most important aspects of your game, as it practically controls every aspect of your golf game. From your longest drives to your shortest putts, improving your core stability is the key to success (among a few other things, obviously).
Your body needs to be prepared to take on an intense motion like the golf swing, especially from an uneven, rough surface like the side of a bunker. We teach many different exercises and stretches here at Joey D Golf and Hit IT Great to help you prepare for these situations on the course. Here’s one of them:
We use a single-leg curl to an overhead press. When you’re on that single leg (think of a bunker shot, for example or in a wet fairway), you’ll curl up to an overhead press while staying in that flamingo pose. We use curls to engage stability and then incorporate into stability workouts.
We’re training for golf, we’re not training for the short game -- we’re training for walking 18 holes, and for stability in and around the course in all conditions.
Coach Brianna’s Take: Do It Correctly!
Alright, it’s time for a quick recap and to get input straight from the coach herself.
1. Focus on the fundamentals.
We always come back to the fundamentals, but they’re important no matter what type of workout you’re doing. A lack of fundamentals can lead to undue stress on certain muscles and parts of your body; if you have questions, ask a coach!
2. Go through a proper workout.
Focus on the proper form and you’ll get the most of your workout. If you’re not doing proper curls and using proper form, you’re overdoing it and you can get hurt -- or you can put your body in a place where you’re out of balance and can’t make a proper golf swing.
3. Stay within yourself.
Finally, know your limits and know your body’s capacity. If you overdo it, you may notice your muscles tightening up, which means you likely won’t be able to make your full turn and you won’t make a full, powerful golf swing.
Curls absolutely do not kill your short game. They can, however, help your golf game if you follow Coach Brianna’s advice (and the opposite can happen if you don’t abide by these principles).