Free Golf Workouts, Nutrition Tips and Performance Psychology Secrets From The Renegade Golf Coach

How Exercise Machines Are Killing Your Golf Game

by Coach Stephen on

When you walk into any “big box” gym in the US, you will no doubt see rows and rows of exercise machines. The vast majority of these machines are designed to have you sit down while you exercise.

So why my utter disgust with this Orwellian-looking scene?

Glad you asked!  And I promise to keep this (relatively) brief, as I could go on for 15 pages or more.

Problem # 1 – Your Arse and Center of Gravity

That is, the fact that you are sitting on it, and don’t have to fully interact with gravity in the three-dimensional environment, like when you swing your clubs.  That’s just a somewhat fancy way of saying that sitting down to improve your golf game is ridiculous.  As a matter of fact, it can actually do you harm (more on that shortly).

Our sport is highly technical, and requires us to maintain our Center of Gravity (CG) over our base of support (our feet), while executing an explosive, rotational action.  When you cannot control your CG, you’ll have a difficult time maintaining spine angle or your swing path.  Of course, this leads to inconsistent play and eventually, injury.

The vast majority of the exercises in your golf conditioning program should be performed in a standing position.  This will have far more carry-over to your performance on the course.  Exceptions to this rule would be some Corrective Exercises when being performed to improve posture, restore muscular balance, and/or improve neuromuscular function.

Problem # 2 – Neglect of Stabilizer Muscles

If we don’t get the right kind of exercise, our bodies will quickly become unstable.  The way to solve this problem is to  exercise in such a way that our bodies are utilizing different muscle groups as prime movers and at the same time engaging your golf stability muscle groups.

Paul Chek uses the example of our triceps (muscles on the backside of your arms).  In our golf swing, the triceps work synergistically with almost every other muscle in our bodies.  Therefore, to sit down and do an isolated Triceps Extension Machine will have very little benefit to your performance.  You need to realize that stronger triceps (or any muscle) that cannot work as a team with your entire body can actually decrease your timing and performance.

Problem # 3 – Pattern Overload

Pattern Overload is when muscles, ligaments, or tendons are worked in the same exact pattern repeatedly over time.  This is something that can lead to injury and is often caused by exercising on machines, which force you into a particular plane of motion.  These types of exercise machines are referred to as “Fixed Plane”. Especially as you fatigue,  your body will need to make slight adjustments and utilize your body in syntonization. This is not possible on fixed-plane machines, and can wear down your soft tissue and stress your joints.

Cable machines are not included in this category, as they allow for modest amounts of movement and adjustments with your body.  We actually love cable systems.

These are just three of the reasons that I advise you only use machines sparingly in your golf workouts.

I should clarify that there are some legitimate reasons for using fixed-plane machines.  The first would be if you have an injury that doesn’t allow you to workout in an integrated fashion.  The second would be for females who suffer badly from PMS, when joint laxity is higher.  However, both of these scenarios are short-term (although a few husbands would say that their wives PMS is 24/7/365 – more on that in a future post).  The goal should be to get back to more functional exercises ASAP.

If you would like to discover how to workout in a way that will truly enhance your golf game , may I suggest you check out:

The Power Golf Fitness System: Drive Crushing Workouts For The Time-Crunched Golfer

This System consists of a Detailed Manual and Videos taking you through all four phases of  The Power Golf Fitness System, just like the tour pros (but modified to fit into the schedules of people with “real lives” and commitments).  Each workout can be done in about 30 minutes from the convenience of your own home.

If you would like all the details on this system, simply Click Here

Here’s to exercising in the best way possible for your body and your golf performance.  Let’s Get After Old Man Par!
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Wayne October 25, 2012 at

What exercise would you recomend for the triceps to help the golf swing ?

Coach Stephen October 30, 2012 at

Hello Wayne – thanks for following the blog, and for your question. There are several variations of triceps exercises that will have a greater carry-over to your golf game. I will be creating a video shortly about ways to train the muscles in your arms functionally, instead of the standard bodybuilding exercises. Look for them on the blog soon.

Ryan October 29, 2012 at

Many people have the misconception that if I go to the gym and lift heavy wieghts they’ll be able to swing harder because they are stronger. How does strength translate to the golf swing in terms of generating rotational power?

Coach Stephen November 1, 2012 at

Thanks Ryan, great question – Strength is the basis for speed/power. That being said, without the proper strength foundation (not necessarily attained by moving heavy weights), it will be difficult to achieve OPTIMAL performance in terms of rotational power. Developing rotational power in the golf swing should be progressed to only after adequate stability, mobility and strength are established. Moving heavy weights alone simply won’t acheive OPTIMAL performance in the golf swing. To properly architect efficient powerful movement patterns in the golf swing, it is highly encouraged to understand physical limitations first. To understand what that process entails, one should seek a physical assessment and golf fitness program. The overarching goal should be to achieve sport specific movement patterns that are efficient for every individual. The golf posture and rotational move puts the body in a very compromising position. We see injuries at all levels of the golf world to include the PGA tour. This even includes young players (Rory and Ricky) who should probably not be presenting early back issues. At Renegade Golf, efficiency also encompasses developing pain and injury free movement patterns in sport and in life. This should be done in a maximally safe and effective environment under the watchful eye of a fitness practitioner.

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