Are Golf Specific Workouts Really a Thing? How about Golf Fitness?

Last updated Oct 31, 2019 | Published on Sep 13, 2016

Golf specific workouts are a point of conjecture.

What about the workout makes it golf-specific?

Is it the exercises in the workout? Does it depend on the goal of the person doing the workout?

Some people argue that you need both specific exercises that work muscles used in the golf swing along with a goal of improving your golf game for a workout to be considered a golf-specific workout.

Many fitness professionals say there is no such thing as golf-specific workouts or even golf-specific exercises.

They say workouts are a series of exercises with the purpose of improving muscle strength, flexibility, or speed of contraction and no exercise is sport specific. Exercises and workouts can enhance golf performance but are not unique to golf or any other sport.

These fitness professionals say they’re training athletes that happen to be golfers.

I’ve tried to stay out of this debate because like I said, it’s all conjecture.

Why is This Important to You?

A recent conversation with a fitness professional has made me re-think how I use the terms golf-specific workouts and golf fitness.

When I use those terms, they are meant to represent workouts or exercises that will help a person improve their golf performance. I realize that the exercises, with the exception of swing training, aren’t specific to golf, but as a whole, the workout is specific to helping correct a swing characteristic.

But now I’ve been convinced that using these words short change the benefits that these workouts have on you and the context limits the number of people that the workouts can help.

It’s a mindset.

The workouts that I label as golf fitness don’t just allow you to drive the ball farther; they make it easier for you to carry groceries in the house or lift your children or grandchildren.  You will be able to get up out of a chair easier and have more energy throughout your day.

There are more far-reaching benefits that aren’t brought to light by labeling a workout golf specific.

Let’s not forget that these same exercises will also improve the conditioning of anyone that does the exercises. Whether they play golf or not.

Using terms like golf-specific workouts or golf fitness underemphasizes the benefits they will provide you or anyone else in all aspects of life, not only in golf.

I need to convey to you that these workouts are more than golf-related exercises. You are training and conditioning your body not only for golf but for the tasks of everyday life.

You come to this website or read my articles so you can drive the ball farther down the fairway.

I can help remove that pain, but it’s also important that I remind you that any conditioning will also have good consequences with other aspects of your life.

Golf Specific Workouts

If you think about the term golf-specific workouts or even golf-specific exercises, what does it conjure up? 

Exercises that look similar to the golf swing?

That is the image I see. 

Here are my thoughts on doing exercises that look like the golf swing. You can get as much or more benefit from standard exercises that work the same muscles. 

For example, a deep squat works the hips and ankles similar to a golf swing. A weighted squat will work the muscles harder than you can by any exercise that mimics the golf swing.

In my opinion, you put your body at risk when you swing too much by putting undue stress on their body. You increase the tension and stress by adding additional weight to exercises that mimic the golf swing, upping the chance of injury. 

If you play one or two times a week and go to the driving range and practice your full swing a couple more times, that is more than enough swing exercise. 

Standard weight-bearing exercises are designed to put your body in the proper position to get stronger and protect the muscles and joints. Exercises that mimic the golf swing are at best wild cards that place the body into unsupportive positions.

Instead of going to the gym and doing some variations of golf-specific workouts, do stability and anti-rotational exercises that help slow down your body during rotation to protect your spine, elbows, and wrists.

I took the following image from the TPI website, and I love the Charlie Weingroff quote. 

Even if you think that golf-specific workouts aren’t necessarily those that imitate the golf swing, can you call them golf specific?

Can’t they benefit baseball or lacrosse players or any sport where rotation is necessary?

Better yet, name a sport where the body doesn’t rotate.

For these reasons, people shouldn’t use the terms golf-specific workouts and golf-specific exercises.

How About Golf Fitness?

Again, golf fitness has no real meaning other than you’re doing a workout program to play better golf. I can call a series of exercises a golf fitness program, but when you look at the exercises within the program, they’re not unique from exercises used by other sports or fitness programs.

Have you ever heard the term Basketball Fitness?

No, right?

Because it’s called basketball training and conditioning. Same for football, soccer, and baseball.

There’s a Disconnect

Somewhere there is a disconnect between these other sports and golf. Maybe it’s because people don’t think golf is a sport?

I disagree with this of course. Golfers are athletes.

Look at Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlory, and Gary Woodland and tell me you don’t see an athlete. Watch Jordan Speith during a workout; he’s an athlete.

Don’t think John Daly is an athlete? You swing a golf club that far past parallel on the backswing and end up in that finish position.

Does he have dietary issues and is undisciplined toward maintaining muscle like other athletes? Yes, but he does have athletic talent that most people don’t have.

Like Tiger told Daly when John asked Tiger to go drinking with him.

“If I had your talent I’d be doing the same thing you’re doing.”

Not all of us are as flexible and as talented as Daly, and we have to work for our athletism, even Tiger Woods.

Golf Fitness is a Marketing Term

Even though I don’t think the words golf fitness is entirely misleading, golf does have a set of fitness skills not uncommon to but at levels unique to other sports. These include a certain degree of strength, rotational speed, core stability, and balance.

I think golf conditioning is a better word than fitness. The definition of conditioning is to bring (something) into the desired state for use.

While the definition of fitness is the condition of being physically fit and healthy, in other words, you’re already there.

Golf fitness should be used more as a marketing term. If you want to help golfers you need to get their attention. The best way to do this is to speak their language, use the same words they use.

Go to Google Keyword Tool and search for the keywords Golf Performance, Golf Training, Golf Strength & Conditioning, Golf Conditioning, and Golf Fitness.

Golf Fitness has an order of magnitude more Google searches than any of the other terms.

Even if golf fitness isn’t the appropriate word for golf training, it’s a keyword that you will need to use to draw in golfers that are looking to improve their fitness.

From now on when you see me use the term golf fitness the purpose is to use it to bring golfers to my website and pages.

Golf Conditioning

Instead of golf fitness or golf-specific workouts I will be using the terms golf conditioning or golf conditioning workout. 

Golf training & conditioning is consistent with other sports and describes what you’re trying to do. Train and condition yourself to be a better golfer. You’re not using any sport-specific exercise in a workout, and you’re in the process of (conditioning-training) your body to be better at golf.

Sophisticated Training is Coming to Golf

New sophisticated training methods are replacing the old-school golf-specific workouts and golf fitness programs.

kinematic sequenceWith the advent of portable Doppler radar devices, biofeedback sensors, and dedicated fitness professionals the methods used to train and condition golfers are changing. The golf swing is becoming more efficient in transferring power from the ground through the body and into the clubhead.

Using these new devices and understanding of how anyone particular person swings the golf club, physical conditioning exercises can be recommended to maximize swing speed and power output.  

Golf training & conditioning is improving and being quickly filtered down from the professional golfers to amateurs like you and me. 

Golf conditioning will not only help improve your golf performance, but the conditioning will also improve your mobility, overall strength, and energy levels with more far-reaching effects than your golf game. 

It’s time to start a golf training & conditioning program and become a better athlete on the course and at home!

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