Every golfer would like to add distance to their drive. Establishing a base of strength is the first step in producing more power, which will ultimately allow you to put extra distance on your shots.
It is important to keep in mind that the amount of weight lifted is not the priority. Adding weight on top of dysfunctional movement patterns is never the way to go for any sport, but especially not golf. If you are consistent with your strength training the impact to your golf game can be immense.
Here are three of the top exercises that are guaranteed to add some yards to your drives.
The lower body is the engine that will generate power off the tee. There are hundreds of variations of the Squat that all have benefits when executed correctly. With my athletes, I prefer to use the Front Squat for a few of reasons.
- The upright torso position forces the golfer to engage their core in order to keep a proper position. This upright torso position is also the most biomechanically efficient way to produce vertical power, an element of the golf swing that is often neglected.
- The position the bar is held requires the athlete to engage their upper back. A limitation in upper-back strength and mobility is one of the most common issues we see present itself in the golf swing. A proper Front Squat will help combat this issue.
- The Front Squat also takes compressing forces off the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine, or the lower back, is the most common injury for golfers. As always the number one priority is to avoid and prevent injury.
This combination of factors makes the Front Squat an excellent squat variation for golfers. As with all exercise, adding heavy weights on top of dysfunction will only hurt your progress, so take things slow and you will be surprised with the impact it has on your game! Typically 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps will get the job done!
The Hip Thrust is an underrated exercise that has a huge bang for your buck when done properly. The hip thrust is another exercise with hundreds of possible variations, and in my programs we utilize a large number of them!
A great benefit of the Hip Thrust is that it allows the athlete to feel the glutes and hamstrings activating and isolated. The Titleist Performance Institute actually uses the Single-Leg Glute Bridge hold as one of the Level 1 movement screen exercises. TPI has screened thousands of professional golfers on the PGA Tour—if they deem it important I tend to agree!
The athlete should dig their heels into the ground and push up, raising the hips. You should see a straight line from knee to shoulders with the hips completely extended. Once in the top position simply lift one leg, the leg that is in the air should be completely relaxed. Perform 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps; with a 3-second hold at the top positions to greatly impact glute activation!
Training anti-rotation will result in rotational power. In other words, we are tightening the coils of a spring when we train anti-rotation, so when it is time for the spring to pop, it is more powerful. A great and very well-known anti-rotation exercise is the Plank.
Planks strengthen the transverse abdominals that sit under your “6 Pack” abdominal muscles. Strong transverse abdominals will allow you to produce rotational power through the midsection. Planks are a difficult exercise that take time to progress, and because of the isometric nature of the exercise they can become boring.
I recommend alternating leg lifts or arm lifts while holding Planks. By alternating leg or arm lifts it makes the exercise less boring, and can activate other important muscle groups. It is important that when lifting a limb that midsections does not tilt or shift. By resisting this shift you are now training anti-rotation and building that power we spoke about before. Perform 3-4 sets of 30 seconds to 1 minute, or 10 lifts on each leg/arm, to help tighten the core. Consistent and gradual improvement will translate to increased mobility, stability and power in the golf swing!