Maximum Distance: How Strength & Fitness Enhances Your Golf Swing Speed

The remarkable ball speed and lengthy drives achieved by today’s top golfers may be partly credited to advancements in equipment. However, a significant factor is the commitment of players to adopt a rigorous athletic lifestyle, investing time in the gym. 

Today’s leading players, while still embodying sportsmanship, have evolved into some of the world’s premier athletes, dedicated to rigorous training regimens.

Enhanced athleticism, characterized by increased muscle and agility, translates directly to faster golf club head speed and longer drives.

It’s a straightforward equation – better-conditioned athletes generate faster swings and cover greater distances on the course.

So what does this mean for you? 

To increase your swing speed and smash longer drives, it’s crucial to dedicate time to gym workouts.

Balance, stability, muscle activation, coordination, and speed are all things that contribute to long and consistent shots.  The below exercises hit all of these categories and if done consistently will change your game:

Planks – Balance and Stability

The plank exercise is a fundamental and highly effective core-strengthening activity that can significantly benefit your golf game and plug any power leaks in your swing.

How to Do a Plank

How To: Plank
  • Starting Position: Begin by positioning yourself face down on the floor, supporting your weight on your forearms and toes. Ensure that your elbows are directly beneath your shoulders.
  • Alignment: Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels. Engage your core muscles to prevent your hips from sagging or lifting too high.
  • Duration: Aim to hold the plank position for at least 30 seconds to start, gradually increasing the duration as your core strength improves.

Benefits for Club Head Speed

  • Core Stability: The plank primarily targets the core muscles, including the abdominals, obliques, and lower back. A strong core is essential for maintaining stability during your golf swing, ensuring a more controlled and powerful movement with no power leaks.
  • Enhanced Balance: Plank exercises help improve overall balance, a crucial element in golf. A solid foundation and better balance enable you to maintain control over your body movements, resulting in more powerful and accurate shots on the golf course.

Glute Bridges – Correct Muscle Activation

While the core is considered the powerhouse of the golf swing, the glutes play a crucial role as a close second. Inadequate activation of the glutes can result in the lower back taking over, increasing the risk of injury and diminishing swing speed.

How To Do Glute Bridges

Best Hip Exercise - The Glute Bridge
  1. Lie on a comfortable exercise mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your arms by your sides, with palms facing down.
  2. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips towards the ceiling. Ensure that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees at the top of the movement.
  3. Hold the bridge position for a moment, focusing on contracting your glutes and keeping your core tight.
  4. Slowly lower your hips back to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the descent.

How To Progress The Glute Bridge 

Since the bodyweight version of this exercise can be relatively easy for athletes already in good shape, we have also included some of the most common ways to make this exercise more difficult. 

Single-Leg Glute Bridges

  • Lift one foot off the ground, extending the leg straight in front of you.
  • Perform the bridge movement with the supporting leg, engaging the glutes and maintaining stability.
  • Alternate between legs for each repetition.

Weighted Glute Bridges

  • Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell on your hips while performing the bridge.
  • Start with a light weight and gradually increase as your strength improves.

Banded Glute Bridges

  • Place a resistance band just above your knees.
  • Perform the glute bridge while maintaining resistance against the band, targeting the outer glutes and pressing your legs outward.

Marching Glute Bridges

  • Lift one knee towards your chest while holding the bridge position.
  • Alternate between legs in a marching motion, challenging stability and core engagement.

Split Squat To Box Jump Superset – Bilateral Strength and Explosiveness

Golf is a predominantly asymmetrical sport, where maintaining equal weight distribution on both legs simultaneously is infrequent. Given this, it becomes crucial to develop bilateral strength coordination through exercises like split squats.

To enhance the translation of strength training into increased swing speed, consider incorporating supersets. Pairing a strength exercise such as split squats with an explosive movement like box jumps can be an effective approach.

How To Perform a Split Squat

  1. Stand with your feet together, and then take a step forward with one foot. The length of the step depends on your comfort and flexibility, but a common starting point is a stride where your front knee is directly above your ankle when you lower into the squat. 
  2. Keep your chest up, shoulders back, and engage your core for stability. 
  3. Lower your body straight down by bending both knees.
  4. The back knee should come close to, but not touch, the ground. The front knee should be directly above the ankle, forming about a 90-degree angle.
  5. Keep your torso upright, avoiding leaning too far forward.
  6. To ascend, push through the heel of the front foot to return to the starting position.
  7. Focus on using the muscles in your front leg to lift your body back up.

How To Perform a Box Jump

Immediately following your set of split squats do a set of 3-5 maximal intent box jumps.

Box Jump Step Down - OPEX Exercise Library
  1. Stand facing the box with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Maintain a slight bend in your knees.
  3. Engage your core and keep your chest up.
  4. Shift your weight onto your heels.
  5. Initiate a slight dip in your hips and knees to load your lower body, preparing for an explosive jump.
  6. Swing your arms back for momentum.
  7. Explosively push through your feet, extending your hips, knees, and ankles simultaneously to jump as high as possible.
  8. While in the air, bring your knees towards your chest to maximize height.
  9. Keep your body straight and aligned.
  10. 10.Aim to land on the box softy with both feet.
  11. Land in a stable position with your knees slightly bent to absorb the impact.

Key Takeaways

Golf has transformed from a leisurely pursuit to a sport where top players are now premier athletes dedicated to rigorous training regimens.

Athletic Lifestyle Impact

The remarkable performance of modern golfers is not just due to advanced equipment but also the commitment to an athletic lifestyle, resulting in enhanced muscle and agility.

Training Focus

To achieve longer drives, it’s crucial to dedicate time to gym workouts focusing on balance, stability, muscle activation, coordination, strength, and speed.

Baseline Exercises to Include

Simple exercises like planks, bridges, split squats, and box jumps can help you hit all of these key areas of golf fitness in the gym.  If done consistently, you will be able to tell a difference in your game.

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