Golfers commonly are seen doing lots of exercises that “look” like the golf swing. It is not uncommon to also see them standing on Bosu balls and other unstable surfaces trying to improve their stability. While theoretically this all may make sense, when you look at the research the evidence is less than convincing.
Our philosophy is that if we are going to implement other training such as the above, in place of other traditional strength and conditioning tried and true methods, it needs to clearly add benefit to the athlete’s performance. That is where the idea for this post came from.
Squatting, hinging, pushing, and pulling are the four main movements we talk a lot about here at Par4Success, and it’s important to understand why we do them. The squat and the hinge are important fundamental human movements. A squat is when your hips move directly downward and your knees bend and move forward to accommodate them, whereas a hinge is when your hips move back and forward throughout the hinging motion with shins remaining more vertical.
In a hinge, most of the motion comes from your hips, while in a squat, most of the motion comes from your knees. Both of these motions are important in your ability to create force through the ground, and being stable and creating power through dynamic movement is important to the golf swing. Additionally, squatting and hinging both address spinal stiffness and core stability, which as we’ve discussed at length are very important to the golf swing and many other exercises.
When we look at our database of testing, vertical leap as well as the shot put are extremely correlated to fast club speed. This means the athlete can triple extend effectively from their hips, knees and ankles to create power from their lower body. Improving a golfer’s squatting and hinging strength as well as technique and ability to maintain spinal stiffness has shown to be correlated to improving club speed.
Pushing and pulling, as well, are important skills as a human being, but they affect golf performance as well. Pushing force directly correlates to the power you can create and your club head speed. Pulling force affects the golf swing less directly, but focusing only on pushing force makes you an imbalanced athlete, and it is important to not overdevelop in one very specific area.
The seated chest pass is another test that has shown clearly to be directly correlated to club speed in golfers. One’s ability to generate power from the upper body obviously is going to be reliant on pushing and pulling such as with the bench press and bent over row. Again, similar to the squat and deadlift, these big movements are critical to training the golfer to generate force in isolated planes of movement through multiple joints.
With these “big 4′ movements being trained, golfers can then look at medicine ball drills, eccentric flywheel rotational training and other “sport specific” movements to supplement and enhance their training to their specific needs. At the end of the day though, if a golfer lacks basic strength, all the other “fancy Instagram exercises” in the world aren’t going to impact their life and game as much as these simple 4 movements could.