Starting a gym routine can be an intimidating and daunting experience. There are millions of different exercise options you can choose from which can make getting started feel overwhelming. Sometimes, this feeling of being overwhelmed will lead golfers to stop going to the gym all together. This is the worst case scenario.
I’ve talked previously about the importance of golf fitness and it’s role in performance enhancement, injury prevention, and general well-being. I do think it is crucial for golfers to have a solid workout routine. Regardless of age, skill level, and handicap, most golfers would benefit from training the 6 foundational movement patterns. Read this article for more information on why learning and training these patterns is important for golfers.
The purpose of this article is to provide clarity for those golfers who are still confused on how to implement these foundational patterns into their gym routine. This workout routine is an excellent place to start fo golfers new to the gym who want to get stronger and improve their golf game.
1. Squat- Goblet Squat
The goblet squat is one of the most simple squat variations. Holding the weight in front of your body allows you to keep a more upright torso throughout the lift placing less stress on the lower back. Also, having the weight in front of your body will force you to engage your core muscles throughout the movement.
The goblet squat is easy to progress by simply adding more weight with a heavier dumbbell or kettlebell.
2. Hinge- KB Deadlift
The hinge pattern is incredibly important for golfers to be able to perform correctly. The Kettlebell Deadlift is a great hinge variation that strengthens the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, low back muscles) and is simple and safe for beginners to perform.
I often have golfers start by elevating the kettlebell a few inches to decrease the distance the person has to bend down towards the floor. This will allow the person to groove the pattern while placing less stress on their lower back. Progress this exercise by simply removing the elevation and lifting the kettlebell off the floor.
3. Lunge- Goblet Reverse Lunge
The goblet reverse lunge is a simple exercise that, when performed correctly, can be extremely challenging. Like the goblet squat, holding the weight in front of your body allows you to stay more upright and helps to engage your core throughout the movement. Stepping backwards (reverse lunge) seems to place less stress on the knee joint than a traditional forward lunge. This exercise places a high demand on quad and glute strength but will also test your balance.
There are many ways to progress the reverse lunge. Adding more weight, increasing the range of motion by elevating your front foot, or changing the tempo of the lift will all increase the difficulty.
4. Push- Push up
The push up is the most versatile horizontal pushing exercise there is. It requires no fancy equipment and will get your upper body super strong. Someone once told me the push up is basically a moving plank and I like that thought a lot. Few people realize how strong your core must be in order to perform a proper push up. Push ups combine upper body strengthening and core strength and stability and are therefore a huge ‘bang for your buck’ exercise.
A simple way to regress the push up is to perform a Hands Elevated Push Up. This changes the angle of the push and decreases the effect of gravity, making the exercise easier. Progressively increase the difficulty by lowering the angle of your hands and eventually performing them horizontal to the ground.
5. Pull- Chest Supported DB Rows
As with the other movement patterns, there are literally millions of different horizontal pulling or rowing exercises. Chest supported rows are a fantastic place to start for beginners because they allow you to strengthen the muscles of the upper back and shoulder blade while placing little demand on stabilizing the rest of your body. The bench acts as stability against gravity, allowing you to progressively lift more weight with the muscle we are targeting.
The bench also provides great feedback of your form throughout the exercise. I often see athletes perform rows incorrectly by allowing their shoulders to dump forward, placing more stress on the front of the shoulder. A great thought for this exercise is to create space between your arm pits and the bench by retracting your shoulder blades together.
6. Carry- Farmers Carry
This exercise may seem primal. It is literally carrying heavy weights while you walk around the gym. Farmers Carry’s will test your grip strength, core strength and stability, upper back strength and lower body strength and stability. Although it seems intuitive, the farmers carry is truly a full body exercise.
Try This Workout!
This is a great workout that I will often give to golfers who have minimal gym experience. It is an effective strength training workout for junior golfers and senior golfers alike.
Perform this workout 2x/week for 4-6 weeks and you will start to get stronger!
**As always, I recommend a thorough in-person assessment by a qualified fitness or medical professional prior to starting any workout program. The above workout is a sample of what I perform with my clients, but should not be taken as medical advice**