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eeping Fit

Should Golfers Do Strength Exercise?

© Wayne L. Westcott PhD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Keeping Fit by Wayne L. Westcott PhD. View all columns in series

The muscles largely responsible for the swinging action are those that control shoulder joint movements. These include the pectoralis major (addressed by the double chest machine), the latissimus dorsi (addressed by the super pullover machine), and the deltoids (addressed by the lateral raise machine). Because club control is an important factor in a productive golf swing, the arm muscles should also be strengthened. These muscles are the biceps (addressed by the multi-biceps machine), the triceps (addressed by the multi-triceps machine), and the forearms (addressed by the super forearm machine).

Finally, golfers need strong neck muscles to maintain a stable head position and eye focus throughout thedef BMT begin/ dynamic swinging action. All of the neck muscles may be effectively strengthened on the 4-way neck machine.

Golf is a popular activity with large-scale participation among adults and seniors. Due to misconceptions that strength training may reduce their joint flexibility and restrict their swinging action, golfers have traditionally avoided this activity. Fortunately, recent research reveals that an 8-week program of strengthening and stretching exercises may significantly improve driving performance in seasoned golfers.

Just as important, the 15 Nautilus exercises and 6 stretches greatly enhanced the golfers physical fitness. The program participants recorded significant improvements in body composition, muscle strength, joint flexibility, and resting blood pressure. They also reported feeling more energetic and less fatigued during their golf games. The increased muscle strength that resulted from the strengthening exercises and the enhanced joint flexibility that resulted from the stretching exercises clearly contributed to more performance power and less injury risk. It would therefore appear that golfers should perform regular strength training as part of their golf conditioning program.

Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., is Fitness Research Director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA., and author of the college textbook, Strength Fitness. The author expresses appreciation to Fred Dolan, CEO of StretchMate, and Tom Cavicchi, New England Teaching Golf Pro of the Year, and Jane Bowler for their valuable assistance with this study.


1. Campbell, W., Crim, M., Young, V. and Evans, W. (1994). Increased energy requirements and changes in body composition with resistance training inolder adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 60: 167-175.

2.Evans, W. and Rosenberg, I. (1992). Biomarkers: The 10 Determinants of Aging You Can Control. New York: Simon and Schuster.

3. Harris, K. and Holly, R. (1987). Physiological response to circuit weight training in borderline hypertensive subjects. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 19: 246-252.

4. Hurley, B. (1994). Does strength training improve health status? Strength and Conditioning Journal, 16: 7-13.

5. Hurley, B., Hagberg, J., Goldberg, A., et al. (1988). Resistance training can reduce coronary risk factors without altering VO2 max or percent body fat. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 20: 150-154.

6. Koffler, K., Menkes, A., Redmond, W. et al. (1992). Strength training accelerates gastrointestinal transit in middle-aged and older men. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 24: 415-419.

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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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