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Plyometrics For Improved Golf Performance


Golf has always been a sport that has focused more on technique, strategy, and mental focus rather than physical conditioning. Many golfers today still consider resistance training or anything like it to be taboo for the sport. They believe that it may make them stiffer from losing range of motion and it will negatively affect their golf swing and technique. The sport is finally starting to come around however, especially with the best golfer of all time, Tiger Woods, participating in a resistance training program all year round. Increased competition in golf and improved training methods will make weight training and plyometrics a necessity instead of risk.
            A skilled golfer sees improved club speed and drive distance because of several factors. It is common sense that increased strength and power would correlate relatively strongly with increased club speed and drive distance. Increased rotational speed and efficient mechanics are also extremely important in channeling that strength and power. A golf swing begins at the hips, then moves through the trunk, then to the shoulders, arms, hands, and finally the club head. The leg muscles act as stabilizers for the rest of the body so torque can be applied to the club from rapid contraction of small muscles. Because of the quick and precise motion required to drive a ball effectively, plyometrics along with a base of resistance training is an excellent choice to improve mechanics. The backswing is the prestretch motion that creates stored elastic energy to be released quickly during the front swing.
            A base in general resistance training is needed before plyometrics can be utilized for safety reasons and to ensure effective training. Basic lifts will help to improve coordination, muscular force production due to improved muscle cross-sectional area, and muscular strength needed to withstand the biomechanical forces placed on the body during plyometrics training. All of the plyometrics done in this experiment were medicine ball exercises mimicking different segments of the swing. This type of training allows the nervous system to more quickly recruit more muscle fibers for the swinging motion. This study found that overall there were at least modest improvements in driving distance and club speed. This improvement due to resistance training and plyometrics can be associated with a drive of a few dozen meters extra on a drive and that can translate in less strokes on your score card. Even better still, with this type of training (along with adequate stretching), muscle hypertrophy was found to be minimal and range of motion was not affected negatively. Overall, I think it would be ridiculous for a golfer not to engage in plyometrics training.

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