Put metres on your golf drive using PGA-level strength training
Jumping, trap bar deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts and squats are some of the exercises that top PGA professionals perform to maximise their driving distance.
Strength training for golf – why it’s important
If you hate losing to your mates on the golf course and need to make sure they buy the first drinks after your next round, episode 69 of the Science for Sport Podcast is perfect for you.
In this episode, William Wayland reveals exactly how he ensures top PGA professionals maximise their driving distance, and therefore significantly improve their performance.
Wayland starts by describing the importance of being able to drive the ball as far as possible – there is a clear relationship between drive distance and prize money won. There is also a relationship between drive distance and clubhead speed. Therefore it’s imperative that professionals look to improve their clubhead speed if they want to win the big bucks. To do this, they use elite-level strength and conditioning.
“A notable example is Bryson DeChambeau, who is well known for gaining a lot of mass and getting physically stronger, this drew a lot of attention, and he won the US Open last year,” said Wayland.
How amateurs can learn from the pros
It might be easy to view professionals, with all the time and money in the world, getting their physical training on point, but the everyday person can profit from the same training techniques.
When we look outside the professional game, the average golfer has gone from aged 48 to 62 years old over the last decade. So the average golfer is older, and older people lose muscle faster. To offset this, strength training can be a fantastic opportunity to make up the gap on your pals.
Resistance training also reduces the risk of repetitive strain injury in golf (which accounts for 80% of all golfing injuries). This leaves you with a simple decision – increase your injury risk and then pay for a physio, or pay for an S&C coach, stay fit, and perform better. Sorry physios, don’t send me the bill.
So it’s clear you can profit from some extra physical training, and obviously losing that ‘Corona gut’ is on the cards, but to smash the ball further than you ever have before, what will you have to train? Clearly, the answer is to ‘Happy Gilmore’ it and hope for the best, but if you want to keep your membership, Wayland has some alternatives.
Surprisingly, when training professionals, he limits the number of rotational exercises – obviously if you aren’t playing every day, this could still be an option. But most interestingly, and in my personal favourite part of the podcast, Wayland explains how vertical force production is crucial in swinging your club faster, and therefore driving the ball further.
“Vertical force production is probably one of the biggest predictors for club hit speed that there is,” Wayland said.
The nitty gritty – the movements you need to train
What does this mean? Well, you’ll be happy to know that getting good at basic movements will work an absolute treat here. Wayland rattles off a list that includes jumping, trap bar deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, and squats of all types. So pick yourself a couple, and start getting good at them, unless you want to keep losing to your mates.
Now I know what you’re thinking – there has to be some downside to this. You might even be ready to quote my dad who, in his expert opinion as a barstool football fan, thinks that getting too muscley means your technique and mobility will be ruined. Time to bust that myth – Wayland explains that S&C training, when performed correctly, is likely to improve both mobility and shot technique.
“If anything, mobility and technique quite often get better when players put strength and conditioning training on top of their regular practices,” Wayland said.
So there you have it – now you know exactly how and why you need to step into the gym to stop your mates running riot. If you’re wise, you’ll get them all to bet on the outcome and cover the cost of your strength training while you drive your way to glory!
If you want to hear more from Wayland, listen to the full podcast using the link below.
You can download the podcast on any of the big hosting services, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or just use this link: https://scienceforsport.fireside.fm/69
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