By Angie Hurley, CSCS, CAT(C)

For the last 2 decades, top golfers have been taking golf from game to sport.

Starting with Tiger Woods, and currently with Rory McIlroy, golfers have been advancing their skills, and their game on the greens, by working hard in the gym.

Golf is a Complicated Sport

Golf requires a very specific chain of movements across multiple joints in the body. Each segment of the golf swing builds on the previous segment, allowing for greater energy to be carried from the backswing into the downswing, like a sling shot.

Currently, Rory McIlroy seems to have the kinematic advantage with his unique but precise timing of movements within his swing. Of note, is McIlroy’s fastest hip rotation ever measured by Titleist Performance Institute at 720 degrees per second, 200 degrees per second faster than the PGA Tour average.

Exercises to Maximize Your Golf Swing Potential

While the precise technique and timing of the golf swing is better left to golf coaches, each phase of movement does have specific physical components that can be trained in the gym.

The backswing requires torso and shoulder range of motion as well as lower body stability. While the downswing creates force and transfers energy from the pelvis to the torso, to the arms, and, finally, the club head.

Focusing on improving the following components can maximize your golf swing potential:

  • stable base of support
  • dissociation of the pelvis and the torso
  • internal rotation of the lead leg
  • shoulder and thoracic spine range of motion

Within each of these components, proficiency in the following areas will enhance your game and prevent injury:

  • Stability
  • Mobility
  • Dissociation
  • Strength
  • Power

Stability

Stability is the ability to control and maintain a joint position. Having stability allows the next segment in the chain of movement to operate optimally. On the other hand, if stability is lacking, the transfer of force production will be lost and misdirected.

Key areas for stability in golf include the pelvis, torso and shoulders.

Exercises

Mobility

Mobility is being able to move in a controlled manner through a full range of motion. Being able to control our body through a greater range of motion means less incidence of injury, increased efficiency of movement, and greater force production.

The key areas we want to be mobile in for the golf swing are the hips, mid torso (or thoracic spine), and shoulders. Mobility through the hips and mid torso means there is less demand on the low back to compensate, preventing many of the injuries, aches, and pains that may keep you off the greens.

Exercises

Dissociation

Dissociation has been a big buzzword in strength training for golf. In golf, it refers to the separation of the pelvis movement from the movement of the torso. Dissociation combines both previously listed components: stability of the pelvis combined with the mobility of the torso (back swing) and stability of the torso with the mobility of the pelvis (down swing and force generation). While one joint is in motion, the other is acting as an anchor point for force to generate and build. 

The following TPI drills test if you have the capability to separate torso movement from pelvic movement.

Torso on pelvis dissociation: With soft knees, hinge at the waist, rotate through the torso while keeping the hips stationary and square (facing forward).

Pelvis on torso dissociation: with soft knees, hinge at the waist, hands crossed over chest, rotate hips while keeping torso stationary and square.

Exercises:

Strength

Strength is the ability to generate force. Strength is also required to stabilize a joint. According to Dr. Sasho McKenzie, the slight squat into the lead leg at the start of the McIlroy’s downswing allows for more ground reaction force under the lead foot, facilitating velocity and momentum through the rest of the swing.

Therefore, strength training should focus on the shift of weight laterally, pushing off from the floor to create upward force, and rotation strength.

Exercises:

Power

Power is the ability to do produce force as quickly as possible. When we think of training for power, we should be thinking of quick explosive movements like plyometrics including jumps and throws. Therefore, at its core, the golf swing is a complicated, multi-joint explosive power movement.

Exercises:

To learn how to safely and effectively add these exercises and more into your training repertoire, check in with us at JKConditioning.

We can help you take your golf game from subpar, to under par.

Thanks for reading!

~Angie

I came to JKC through recommendations from my peers from lululemon. As a current ambassador, I’ve been introduced to legacy ambassadors, like Jon, and I knew a bunch of other people from the store were working out here so I wanted to give it a go. I often dread lower body workouts so I started coming here to do legs. I’ve had such great progress that I now come twice a week— and, I no longer hate leg day!

I’ve never experienced this sort of hybrid between group workouts and personalized service. Many group strength training services offer a sort of one-size-fits-all workout for the general population, which has never been of interest to me, because I want my workout tailored to my needs! I LOVE that you can be in a group setting while doing your own personal program; I love the camaraderie and community at JKC, and, I’ve seen incredible results thus far! Jon is always so attuned to what I need.

After my children were born, I was completely out of shape. I had been active before my first pregnancy in 2008. I saw a post on social media about a charity event that was hosted at the gym. It prompted me to check out the JKC website. I was immediately impressed by the professional content and decided to give it a try. The professionally crafted and uniquely tailored work outs, as well as the sense of accountability and commitment that they foster. I have not missed a workout since joining – contrary to other experiences I have had when purchasing gym memberships. The flexibility of booking and rescheduling workouts, made easy by an online app, also contributed to my success in meeting my fitness goals.

I enjoy every session, working out with Jon, Thomas and Craig, as well as the “JKC Community”. Anytime someone achieves a personal best, I enjoy the celebration and support everyone gives each other. For me, I fondly remember achieving personal bests on bench press, chin ups and the sled push, in particular.

I am 62 years young and I started training with Jon in 2013. I originally came to join JKC as a recommendation from other family members that were onboard with Jon. Their enthusiasm for the gym experience was quite evident.  I was not to be outdone, so I decided to join as well. JKC, in my mind, certainly stands out from the crowd. I feel it’s a combination of the skill and passion the coaches have for their job and their clients. Each client is treated with the upmost respect and given time to explore their fitness journey without any pressure. JKC is certainly not a cookie cutter gym.The coaches customize your fitness program to suit your needs and your fitness level. This certainly makes sense because no two clients are alike.  This is where JKC excels! Jon, Thomas, and Craig keep the atmosphere at the gym light, but productive. A great combination that obviously works and makes the clients want to come back. Lastly, the camaraderie at the gym is everything. Meeting likeminded people who make you feel you are not alone in your fitness journey is everything.

I started training at JKC in 2016 because I’ve always had upper back issues that became aggravated through work. I sought out other training and physio, but experienced little to no results. A client of mine happened to be coming to JKC for a similar issue and highly recommended it. I have had great success and haven’t looked back! I always feel like I’m getting programs tailored to my needs and I’m never bored. I’m 30 weeks pregnant now with my second child and have been able to workout through both pregnancies here at JKC. Even on my least mobile days, I felt safe to workout because my programs were specifically modified for my needs.

I’m 43 and started at JKC just over a year ago. I started at JKC because of multiple recommendations from existing clients. There are 2 main elements that distinguish JKC for me. Firstly the sense of community. I’ve been to multiple gyms in multiple cities/countries, you just  can not manufacture the sense of community and support you get from other gym goers and the team. It’s very motivating and happy to say I’ve made some friends at JKC.

The other major distinguishing factor for JKC is the expertise and passion of the team. Jon, Thomas and Craig craft highly personalized programs based on my fitness goals and know how to push me best without being pushy. They pay close attention to ensuring my form is solid before encouraging me to take on more weight for the exercise. Plain and simple they love what they do and it shows.

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