Golfer’s Offseason Training: Improve your Strength, Power, and Mobility
The winter can be the end of the typical golf season in New England. With the gap of time between now and the warm spring, it is the perfect time for golfers to train like any athlete does in their offseason. Offseason training should be specific to each individual, working on your weaknesses and emphasizing certain parts of your golf game. Below, you will learn two exercises for strength, power, and mobility that golfers can perform during their off-season to elevate your game for the spring.
Having a solid foundation of strength is important for all athletes, including golfers. Strength development is important for swinging a club because it allows golfers to generating more force and hit the ball farther. It is also helpful for general health and to stay injury free throughout the golf season. Two of my favorite exercises to help golfers build stronger and more resilient bodies are the Hex Bar Deadlift and the Single-Arm Dumbbell Row.
Hex Bar Deadlift
The hex bar deadlift is a great exercise to build strength for all athletes. It is simple to learn and targets our posterior chain muscles (hamstrings, erectors, and glutes) that are important for powerful and explosive movements in sports. I prefer the hex bar deadlift over other deadlift variations because I’ve found athletes learn the movement faster and can make progress with the lift. The biggest cue I give my athletes is to lead the movement with their glutes by extending their hips. This way they’re more sure of not pulling with their backs or squatting the weight up and instead using their glutes and hamstrings to complete each rep.
Single-Arm DB Row
Upper body strength is often associated with pushing movements and exercises such as the single-arm dumbbell row are often neglected. The lats play a significant role in golf because they help the move the shoulder, which directly relates to your golf swing. Being one of the bigger muscles of the body and it’s role in the swing, it should be a focus in the offseason training of a golfer. The single-arm row is a great way to target this area because the driving muscle of the movement is the lats. To fully get the lats contracted in this movement, think about pulling the dumbbell with your elbow and trying to wrap it around your upper back.
Golf swings are all about power, that being, the amount of force you can generate in the shortest amount of time. My two exercise selections for helping golfers generate more power are the Rotational Box Jump and the Medicine Ball Slide to Single Arm Throw.
Rotational Box Jump
Golf requires a significant amount of rotation and the rotational box jump is a great exercise to work that aspect as well as lower body power. A box jump variation is a great exercise to reinforce proper glute engagement and develop explosiveness. Adding the rotation with the hips while jumping will help you work on your rotational power, giving you more pop to your golf swing. Like any box jump, athletes need to think about pressing as hard into the floor as they can on each rep in order to jump as high as possible.
MB Slide to Single Arm Throw
Medicine balls are amazing tools for golfers because they are perfect to use for throws and slams that directly work rotational power. Because they can vary in weight, you should grab a lighter ball and focus on speed more than just trying to throw the heaviest ball you can find.
The medicine ball slide to single arm throw is the perfect example of a rotational throw that involve the upper body and lower body working simultaneously to generate power. I like to tell athletes to focus on making the movement smooth, making the transition from slide to throw seamless. The smoother the transition is, the faster the ball will be thrown.
Mobility is the ability for your joints to move through their full ranges of motion. Having greater mobility will allow you to play with less pain and help you control your swing and club speed. Being mobile in the hips and the upper spine is vital in golf so that’s why I’ve chosen to go over T-Spine Rotations and 90/90 Switches.
A mobile thoracic spine allows you to have a more fluid swing, giving you the ability to generate more force throughout. A perfect exercise to work the mobility of the thoracic spine is T-Spine Rotations. The key to this exercise is to have little to no movement in your lower half, moving just through your upper back. You can add a foam roller between your top leg and the floor to lock out your low back from the stretch and target the thoracic spine better.
Like other sports, being able to efficiently move your hips plays a giant role in golf. A drill you can do anywhere to work on your ability to move your hips are 90/90 switches. A tip for this exercise is to dig your heels into the ground as you are switching positions. If you need to, don’t be afraid to use your hands for support if these are difficult at first. Gradually, if done consistently, you should be able to progress to not relying on your hands and transition smoothly from one side to the other.
Like other athletes, golfers should take time during the offseason to focus on areas that need improvement and develop sport specific strength and power. Athletes continually work on the physical side of their game and golfers should be no different. As a golfer, strength, power, and mobility play a major part in your game so they should be prioritized in your offseason training. The exercises listed above are a solid starting point for your training to improve during those off months.
Brandon Brelsford is one of the trainers at Olympia Fitness and Performance. He graduated from Rhode Island College with a B.S. in Community Health and Wellness with a concentration in Wellness and Movement Studies. After graduating, Brandon obtained his CSCS (certified strength and conditioning specialist) from the NSCA. Brandon enjoys helping his clients realize what they’re truly capable of and enjoys seeing their growth in and out of the gym.