Year-Round Strength Training for Golfers

Do you need to be training in a gym year-round?  The answer is a definite YES!

It happens all too often, you train all off-season, put on (x) number of miles per hour on your club head speed, start the season driving it further than you ever have.  You don’t think you need to be in the gym because you’re spending so much time on the course that you think it will be too much to handle.  In-season play and workouts, lifting the week of a tournament?  Nonsense! 

But then it happens.  You start to feel some pain, maybe in your low back, maybe in your knees or your shoulder.  You think, “Oh, it’s just some wear and tear, I’ll do some stretching tonight before bed.”  But it doesn’t go away.  It actually gets worse and eventually you have to withdraw from your next tournament.  Two months after the season has begun, and two months since the last time you saw the gym, you’re sidelined.  Sound familiar?  Maybe it hasn’t happened to you, but it has to someone you know.

One simple solution to this scenario can be described in three words, year-round training.  Neglecting the gym during the season and suffering the consequences later on is a term us coaches call detraining.

Detraining:  A partial or complete loss of training induced anatomical, physiological, and performance adaptations, as a result of training reduction or cessation.

In layman’s terms, if you stop training or diminish training enough, you lose all the progress that you have made in your mobility, strength and power development.  Therefore, resulting in below average performances and eventually an increased risk of injury.

Symptoms and effects of detraining can be as follow:

  • Loss of muscular strength: Strength can be maintained for 3-4 weeks following training cessation.  After that, you’ll begin to lose strength.
  • Muscle atrophy: Atrophy of lean tissues can begin as soon as two-weeks following training end.
  • Decreased power outputs: An end to strength training can create an increase in oxidative (slow twitch) muscle fibers and a decrease in glycolytic (fast twitch) fibers.  Therefore, reducing power outputs and club head speed.
  • Reduced Mobility: Overall joint mobility can decrease as much as 30% in 3 weeks following termination of strength training.

Now are you beginning to see how diminished training can lead to injury down the road? 

Yes, a strength and conditioning program designed for athletes is created with the mission of athletic development and peak performance in mind.  However, the number one goal of a strength and conditioning program is athlete durability.  By that I mean designing programs to put athletes at the lowest risk possible for injury.

So, do yourself a favor and save yourself from a sidelining injury next season and commit to training year-round.  Taking a step away from the gym may sounds like a good idea at the time, but you don’t want to be the one who has to withdraw or shows up with decreased strength, power and mobility come the most important competition of the year.