3 Reasons That Rory (and All Golfers) Should Keep Lifting
Rory McIlroy has repeatedly made it
known that he loves lifting weights and is proud of his accomplishments in the
weight room, as he should be. Despite his career success and the fact that he
attributes his power to his workouts, he has come under fire a few times for
his off the course training regimen. The most recent example was when Brandel
Chamblee commented that he should be ‘wary” of ending up like Tiger Woods. If Rory
needs to give up anything to avoid ending up like Tiger, it’s golf, not
lifting, and Rory made mention of this himself. Here’s why lifting will
only help Rory’s (or any golfer’s) game.
1- Rory started lifting to help
alleviate a bulging disc.
Go to a physical therapist for a bulging disc, and among
other things, one of the treatment modalities will be strengthening your core.
The stronger the muscles surrounding and supporting your spine are, the less
stress you put on the structures of the spine. Rory recently mentioned that
lifting has alleviated his pain and he has prevented further injury because of
the lifting. He’s right in saying that, and it probably would have even been
beneficial for him to start strengthening his core long before he got injured.
Prevention is the best treatment, and weight lifting done properly a great way
to prevent serious injuries.
2- Lifting done right is safer than golf.
We’re not talking about Rory doing Crossfit
here. He’s not doing “Navy SEAL training” like Tiger was supposedly doing when
he got injured. Rory isn’t doing as many reps as he can as fast as he can. He’s
working with a trained professional who has him lifting in a controlled
environment with great form. He’s warming up properly and working on his
mobility. He’s strengthening his core and probably focusing on creating
stability in it, rather than doing endless amounts of spinal flexion exercises like sit-ups and crunches.
is brutal on the body. Sound like a joke? It’s not. In golf you rotate and flex
the spine and the hips around a planted front foot at incredible speeds
creating ridiculous torques on the lead knee, the hip and the spine.
Professional golfers do this hundreds of times per day, and always on the same
side moving their body in the same repetitive motion. I’m sure there are a few
desk Jockeys in your annual golf tournament who never work out, have back pain,
and play golf semi-regularly. Think the culprit is lifting
in that case? So what exactly would you tell that individual to stop doing to eliminate their back pain? My educated guess? Less golf, more strength training.
3- For those concerned with strength training “ruining your swing”, it won’t
This is another common misconception about golfers getting strong. People often have this idea in their heads that adding strength and muscle will make them less flexible and ruin their fluid movement. What makes someone less flexible though is inactivity, not training. This was also a commonly held belief in baseball circles years ago, but that myth was clearly dispelled by the “Steroid Era”. In fact, adding more mass could not only make a smaller individual perform better, but it may help with their longevity as well. As TPI Instructor Jason Glass pointed out in his rebuttal toward Brandel Chamblee’s criticism of Rory, we often see in baseball that pitchers who have less body mass have a tendency to be more susceptible to injury than those who have a more solid frame. Want more proof that muscle mass and flexibility/mobility aren’t mutually exclusive? Watch an NFL team stretch.
And did I mention that on top of those 3 reasons, he crushes
the ball over 300 yards off the tee while weighing in at only 160 lbs? Keep
hitting the weights Rory, and all you other golfers out there too.
Steve Zarriello is the owner of Olympia Fitness and Performance, located in Cranston, RI. He has been training clients of all different ages, abilities and backgrounds to help them reach their specific goals for 10 years. His primary focus is on working with golfers to help improve their ability to play the game and keep them pain free.