Golfer-Health Series: Building Strength

For those of us stuck in the snow-riddled parts of North America, the golf season is but a six or seven-month window of pleasure before we hibernate in our igloos for the cold months. This gives our bodies time to lose the muscle memory and flexibility that our well-oiled golf swings provide during the season. Today, in part-one of our Golfer-Health Series, we discuss a simple strength training plan that can get our muscles ready for the long ball and tall rough.

Dr. Philip Maffetone is a guru in advanced nutrition, sports medicine and exercise having wrote several books on the subjects. His book, The Healthy Golfer applies to our sport and should be your bible if you plan on playing injury free and optimizing your potential. In an interview with he gave his best input on how to stay fit in our game.

To obtain and maintain the proper muscle and bone strength, Maffetone swears by the low-rep and full-body approach rather than the high-rep isolated variation. An isolated “bodybuilder” type exercise will lead to fatigue and demands a long 48 hours needed for recovery, that we likely will not do.

The guru believes that our golf swing is a full-body natural motion and our weight lifting should mirror this as much as possible. He says that this approach will improve your endurance on the course, will reduce your risk of injury and reduce fatigue all while avoiding the buildup of bulk that is unnecessary for a smooth swing.

The proper weight to lift would be 80% of your maximum 1-rep-lift or something that you can hoist about six or seven times before significant fatigue. Also be sure to get advice from the gym trainer as proper posture during exercise is extremely important.

Here is an example of a basic workout program. For those who look to add more exercises be sure to follow Maffetone’s advice on “properly picking up a heavy weight off the ground, lifting it over your waist, shoulders or head” and then putting it down all while maintaining a full-body mentality.

  • Reps: 1-6 reps in each set.
  • Sets: 4
  • Lifting should be done relatively fast, not slow
  • Recovery between sets should be 3 minutes or more
  • Movement should be smooth and natural
  • As you get stronger, slowly increase weight and not sets
  • Perform three times per week

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