Pumping iron on the bench at the gym is one of those quintessential images when you think of working out. But is it good for your golf game?
There are a lot of preconceived notions and misguided thoughts when it comes to golf. More specifically, golf fitness.
That gave us the idea to start a series focused on commonly-held ideas about working out and how that translates to golf fitness. While our program is focused on all the impactful ways to train your body for golf, there are plenty of things you'll see in the gym that can negatively impact your golf training if you don't do them correctly.
We get a lot of questions about the bench. So let's jump right into this one: Does the bench (and lifting) deliver more distance?
True or False: The Bench Delivers Distance
It’s easy to see where the confusion comes from. Weights equal strength, and strength should equal more speed and more distance. Right?
Well, kind of. But there are a few caveats.
As a general rule, any time you strengthen any muscle, you’re becoming stronger.
A big part of strength and strength training for golf is doing it within reason; Bryson DeChambeau’s body transformation and increased strength are a hot topic. But while Bryson is strong, he’s not super-jacked like The Rock.
Lifting and adding strength for the sake of the sport — and your body’s ability to execute a golf swing with speed and flexibility — is an important note. We’re not going for Olympic-level lifting when we’re training for golf, but instead, we’re looking to add muscle that brings more stability and balance.
Players like Bryson and Brooks Koepka are two good examples; they look strong, they are strong, and they lift heavy. And they’re good examples of how lifting heavier and doing so with purpose helps gain more strength, speed, and power.
It’s all about the mindset and your approach. Think of it as “lifting for purpose.”
BUT ALSO FALSE.
There are aspects of heavy lifting that can get in the way of a balanced, powerful golf swing.
Excess lifting can result in the tightening of your pectoral muscles, which limits mobility. You can detract from the range of motion in your shoulders; when the pec muscle pulls on the shoulder as you’re rotating into your backswing, you won’t be able to physically get into an external position to generate power — especially if your muscles are overly tight.
There’s also a lack of control that comes into play when you are too tight. Your muscles may not be communicating in the same way — which is important for the golf swing.
Don’t forget: while our exercises are intended to help your golf game, we’re also training for life. There’s a practicality element in play, in that you’re doing workouts and training that may help your golf game. But the end result is beneficial to your actual life; avoiding injuries that can limit you from doing everyday things like carrying things, moving objects, going up and down stairs, etc.
Range of motion, especially in your shoulders, is critical to golf. Be mindful of that as you’re lifting.
The Concept of Strength and Its Impact on Your Golf Game
Different sports require different amounts and different types of strength. One thing that most sports have in common is the importance of core strength. Core strength in golf is imperative. Getting your muscles to work together and properly transfer energy in a golf swing can be difficult without a strong core.
Core strength is focused on the outer muscles of your core while core stability is more focused on the inner muscles of your core. Although this may be the case, they work hand-in-hand on the golf course. Better stability will lead to more balance within your swing, as well as a better, more consistent ball strike.
Coach Brianna’s Take: Know Its Role!
As with many things in life, knowledge is power. If you understand what different lifts do for your body, what muscles are strengthened, and how that applies in golf, you can take steps to improve your game.
With strength and flexibility, a smooth, strong swing is something that everyone — from amateurs to pro golfers — strives to achieve and can achieve through understanding how these muscles work together.
The Bottom Line: Train to Strengthen Your Body on the Whole
Your focus should be on creating strong, flexible, and mobile shoulders, a strong core, and a lower body that can turn into the backswing and generate power through impact. In golf, power comes from the ground up, so while there are benefits to lifting heavy to build arm and shoulder strength, know that your lower body is driving the bus.
Luckily, we have a lot of great workouts ready to go that help you integrate strength into the rest of your training. Check out all the programs we've got for you and leave a comment below if you've got questions!