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trength Training
Should Golfers Do Strength Exercise?

© Wayne L. Westcott PhD

Perhaps more important, if golfers understand that strength training is a golf-enhancing exercise, they may be more inclined to perform this life-enhancing activity. As a generally sedentary group, golfers lose about six pounds of muscle every decade, which leads to a variety of degenerative processes (2). Regular strength exercise can replace lost muscle and prevent many related problems, /d3`{$gate_1 $clrOverride and{ALPS begin/$gate_1 F defsuch as obesity and osteoporosis.

It is interesting to note that golfers may not recognize poor physical function until they begin to function better. Many of the program participants reported feeling more energetic and less fatigued during their golf games. Some were amazed at how much more they enjoyed playing golf after completing the conditioning program.

Of course, injury prevention is a critical concern for golfers of all ages, and especially those in their senior years. Although we did not conduct an in-depth injury analysis, none of the program participants reported any golf-related injuries during the 1995 season. It is logical to assume that the subjects' increased muscle strength and enhanced joint flexibility provided a higher level of injury resistance, and empirical evidence seems to support this contention.

Suggested Strength Exercises
With respect to program design, it may be beneficial to analyze specific strength exercises relative to driving performance. Although simple observation of the golf swing suggests that it is essentially an arm action, this is definitely not the case. In fact, almost all of the power production originates in the large muscles of the legs and hips. As indicated in Table 3, these are the quadriceps (addressed by the leg extension and leg press machines), the hamstrings (addressed by the leg curl and leg press machines), and the gluteals (addressed by the leg press machine).

Table 3. Muscles and machines relevant to the golf swing.

Muscle Groups Nautilus Machines Relevance To Golf Swing

Quadriceps Leg Extension, Leg Press Power Production
Hamstrings Leg Curl, Leg Press Power Production
Gluteals Leg Press Power Production
Spinal Erectors Low Back Force Transfer
Rectus Abdominis Abdominal Force Transfer
Obliques Rotary Torso Force Transfer
Pectoralis Major Double Chest Swinging Action
Latissimus Dorsi Super Pullover Swinging Action
Deltoids Lateral Raise Swinging Action
Biceps Multi-Biceps Club Control
Triceps Multi-Triceps Club Control
Forearms Super Forearm Club Control
Neck 4-Way Neck Head Stability

The power produced by the legs must be transmitted to the upper body, and this force transfer is accomplished by the midsection muscles. These include the spinal erectors (addressed by the low back machine), the rectus abdominis (addressed by the abdominal machine), and the obliques (addressed by the rotary torso machine).
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About The Author
Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., is fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA. He is strength training consultant for numerous national organizations, such as the American Council on Exercise, the American Senior Fitness Association, and the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, and editorial advisor for many publications, including Prevention, Shape, and......more
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