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 Power Golf Strength Training 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Keeping Fit by . View all columns in series
Dr. Westcott

You are one of 25 million Americans who enjoys playing the great game of golf. If you are like most golfers, you want to play more golf, at a higher level, with no injuries. We refer to this as playing stronger and driving longer, both of which can be accomplished through a well-designed Golf Power Training Program.

Our recommended approach to golf conditioning involves three brief exercise sessions a week, leaving plenty of time for practicing and playing your sport. Each workout will include strength training, stretching exercise, and optional aerobic activity.

Strength Training and Stretching Exercise

Our research has shown significant benefits to golfers who perform regular strength training. As you can see in the table, the 77 adult golfers who completed just two months of our strength training program made impressive improvements in their health, fitness, physical appearance and driving power. Consider that they reduced their resting blood pressure by almost 5 mm Hg, increased their muscle strength by more than 50 percent, replaced 4 pounds of fat with 4 pounds of muscle, and increased their club head speed (driving power) by 3 to 6 percent. Note that the golfers who did strength training alone achieved a 3 percent increase in driving power, but those who performed both strength training and stretching exercises experienced a 6 percent increase in driving power.

Table 1. Results of 77 men and women who completed 8 weeks of the Golf Power Training Program.

Mean Resting Blood Pressure -4.5 mm Hg Muscle Strength +56.0% Body Weight -0.2 lbs. Percent Fat -2.0% Fat Weight -4.1 lbs. Muscle Weight +3.9 lbs. Club Head Speed +3.0* + 6.1%**

* strength training alone 3.0% faster swing ** strength training and stretching exercises 6.1% faster swing

Performance Power

In simplest terms, performance power is muscle force multiplied by movement distance, divided by movement time. That is, your driving power can be improved by increasing your muscle force, increasing your swing distance, or decreasing your swing time. Strength training is the best means for increasing your muscle force, and stretching exercise is the best means for increasing your swing distance. Decreasing your swing time is a more complex task involving practice and coordination, but it is certainly facilitated by stronger muscles and more flexible joints.

Muscle Force x Movement Distance Performance Power = Movement Time

Recommended Training Program

We have experienced excellent results with a progressive program of 13 strength exercises performed on Nautilus machines and 6 stretching exercises performed on a Stretch Mate apparatus. All of the strength exercises are performed for 1 set of 8-12 repetitions using slow movement speed (2 seconds lifting and 4 seconds lowering), full movement range, and gradual progression (1 to 5 pounds weightload increase upon completing 12 repetitions). All of the stretches are held for a minimum of 20 seconds in a position of muscle taughtness without discomfort.

Of course, other types of equipment may be used for the Golf Power Training Program. However, we believe you will attain most benefit by following the same basic exercises, training principles, and workout progressions presented in this program.

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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......moreWayne Westcott PhD
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