I have never once heard a golfer tell me they hit the ball too far! Who wouldn’t want to hit the ball and extra 15 yards just by doing a few simple exercises and stretches 3x per week for 2 months?
This blog is about a research article I came across titled,
“An Eight-Week Golf-Specific Exercise Program Improves Physical Characteristics, Swing Mechanics and Golf Performance in Recreational Golfers.”
It was published in 2007, so although it is on the older side, it is one which provides valuable information. Here’s a link to the abstract.
This study looked at trained golfers, which was defined as golfers who play 2-3 times a week and practice 2-3 times per week during the regular golf season. The study was completed during the offseason and the sample size was very small, only 15 golfers.
Here’s what they found:
- If you exercise a few times a week you can hit the ball further and improve your golf biomechanics!
The exercise program was performed 3-4 times per week for 8 weeks. That totals 24-32 exercise sessions. The researchers were looking at changes in strength, flexibility and balance.
The goals of the exercises were to increase lower-body stability by improving balance and hip strength while improving hip flexion and extension ROM (range of motion). They also wanted to increase upper-body mobility through improving torso rotational flexibility, shoulder flexibility and torso rotational strength. Here’s what they tested pre and post exercise:
- Hip abduction strength
- Torso Rotation strength
- Shoulder horizontal abduction/adduction ROM
- Shoulder Extension ROM
- Hip flexion/extension ROM
- Knee-Extension ROM
- Single leg balance
Equipment needed for the exercises is a resistance band and foam stability pad. The stretches were held for 30 seconds, strengthening exercises were 3 sets of 10-15 reps and balance was 2 sets of 30 second holds for each leg. The exercise list can be found at the end of the blog.
The statically significant results were as follows:
- Increases in right and left torso rotational strength
- Hip abduction strength improved
- Statistically significant improvements for all ROM tests
- Significant improvements in balance specifically
- Anterior-posterior sway on left side eyes-open and eyes closed and
- Medial-lateral sway on right side in eyes open
The biomechanical differences were:
- Decrease in pelvis axial rotation at top of backswing
- Increase in upper-torso axial rotation velocity and X-factor velocity at acceleration phase of downswing
What it means
It means you can hit the ball further, by increasing your:
- Club velocity by 2.3 (5.2% increase)
- Ball speed by 3.3 m/s (5% increase)
- Carry distance by 16 yards (7.7% increase)
- Total distance by 15.1 yards (6.8% increase)
The authors discussed improvements in swing kinematics and attributed the improvements to an increase in motor learning. This is because the movements performed in the exercises mimicked movements in the golf swing. They said this improved the sequencing pattern of the pelvic, torso and shoulder musculature to improve transfer of energy from the club to the ball. Hence the term Golf Specific Exercise. It actually works!
They also contributed the increase in distance to what is known as the X-factor, because they increased torso rotation at the top of the swing while decreasing the amount of pelvic rotation. Whether or not the X-factor contributes to more distance is outside the purpose of these particular blog.
They also talk about how the increase in ROM, strength and balance can potentially decrease your risk for injury. However the best way to go about this is to get fully assessed by a TPI professional. That way your program is tailored for your limitations specifically, and can show you your results on camera and a launch monitor.
- An 8 week program can improve strength, flexibility and balance to improve golf performance
- Can decrease your risk of injury, lessen fatigue and lead to greater enjoyment of the game
- For seniors, a golf specific program can limit age-related changes, maintain overall health and improve your golf game
- Play more golf!
Although these exercises are low risk and low intensity, please consult with a Physician before starting any fitness program.
Lephart et al. “An eight-week golf-specific exercise program improves physical characteristics, swing mechanics and golf performance in recreational golfers.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2007. 21(3) 860-869.