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Golf Strength Training: Pushing And Pulling

by Coach Stephen on

One of my golfers said the other day “Success in life is about a little push and a lot of pull”.

I told him that I thought life was like a box of chocolates.

When it comes to designing the best golf strength training program for yourself… it turns out we’re both right.

Huh?

Let me explain.  In terms of the box of chocolates analogy; if you take a workout from a golf magazine and perform it for 4-6 weeks, you might see improvement.  On the other hand, you might actually get stronger in the muscles that are already tight and shortened, and end up creating more imbalances in your body.  These imbalances can actually hurt your game and likely cause injury.

In other words, think of fitness advice in the golf magazines like a box of chocolates.

For the majority of us, success in our golf strength training workouts will actually focus on a little push and a LOT of pull, at least in the initial stages.

Why?

We’ve addressed the postural imbalance that so many golfers have,  called “upper cross syndrome” in several previous posts, including The Golfer with the 42 Pound Head. This postural imbalance involves the rounding of the upper back, forward migration of the head, and often shoulders and arms that are also forward and rolled inwards.

Over time golfers can get “stuck” in this position, as the muscles shorten and fascia begins to hold this posture as normal.

This is all relevant to pushing and pulling exercise selection in your golf strength training program.  Of course, all things being equal, you could do well with a even mix of upper body pushing exercises (push ups, bench press, and to some degree, overhead presses) and pulling exercises (rowing variations, pull ups, etc).  However, it’s rare that all things are equal, especially when it comes to the human body in todays world i.e. seated workplaces and high stress loads.

This is why we often won’t prescribe any  upper body pushing for the first couple of months with new golfers.  If a golfer with this imbalance continues to work these pushing muscles, it will be all the more difficult to correct.  Instead, we look to stretch and mobilize the tight pushing muscles, while strengthening the muscles of the upper back (pulling).  This can be accomplished with numerous variations of pulling exercises, such as the two below:

Band Pull To Neck

Key Exercise Points

1) Anchor band just below shoulder level.

2) Take a split stance with an overhand grip on the band/handles.

3) Keeping tall and upright posture, pull the band towards your neck, while finishing the movement pinching your shoulder blades together and down.

4) Pause for 2 seconds while you squeeze your shoulder blades in that position.

5)  Return to starting position, and perform 12-15 reps.

Golf Strength Training

Golf Strength Training

Single Arm Band Pull

Key Exercise Points

1) Anchor the band at chest height, and in the single handle mode.

2) Take a split stance, with the opposite leg forward of the side you are rowing.

3) Engage your core, and row the handle of the band to your ribs as you exhale.  Your non-pulling arm should push outward as you row, creating more rotation through your torso.

4) Complete 10-12 reps on each side.

Golf Strength Training Golf Strength Training

Important Note:  We need to focus on the position of your shoulder blades at the end range of these pulling exercises.  Think of your shoulder blades moving downward and towards your spine.  Our usual cue is “down and back”.  Performing these exercises without that full finish can actually worsen the issue of upper crossed syndrome.

After a couple of months of utilizing proper pulling exercises and only working on stretching and lengthening the tight muscles, it should be appropriate to add in some upper body pushing exercises.  However, we find that most golfers benefit from having a 2:1 ratio of pulling to pushing exercises in their program as the standard.

Bottom Line: Don’t let your golf strength training program be like a box of chocolates!

Get out there and Pull… And Get After Old Man Par.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Raymond CHASTEL February 8, 2013 at

These two exercises are fine! Now ,how do you stretch and strengthen the hip and core muscles ,who are key to a fast rotation in the ball ?

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