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GonnaBreak70

Best Body Build For Great Golf?

73 posts in this topic

Hi, I'm 18 years old, 5'10'' and 140 pounds.

I decided that with some of my free time I'm going to put on some weight and bulk up. (About 10-15 pounds.)

I'm already in great shape and very flexible, I've done Gymnastics, Jiu-Jitsu, Ballet:(

I feel that by weighing more and being stronger, Ill have more distance and control over the ball.

The question is what type of workout would most benefit me and help me reach my weight goals? And what type of build is the all around best for playing golf?

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Really i advice most people to work on the whole body, just because its important to be balanced. With the golf swing, an weakness can hurt.

A few books i like, Men's Health exercise book, it has just about every weight lifting move possible, and variations. I also like New Rules for Lifting, Abs. This book does alot to work out the core and the weaker muscles around the hips. They got a warmup session thats amazing.

I am a huge fan of free weights. Since you did martial arts, and Ballet :p, your probably strong in your ankles and knees. But i always recommend working on balance. I like to fold a work out mat into 4, fold into the middle, than over again. Then just balance on that, one leg at a time.

http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html

This site has a huge amount of information on different type of exercises as well. There listed by muscle group.

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The one thing about free weights and BJJ is you need to plan your shoulder exercises with a lot of thought.  I've seen guys that beat on their shoulders in the gym, go to their BJJ classes, and then wonder why they have injuries a lot.  If you do BJJ 3 or so times a week, then it may come down to choosing one or the other.

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Most young men are strong in the arms, shoulders, and chest (beach muscles). I'd put more focus on core, hips, gluts and legs. Most 18yo have good flexibility, but maintaining flexibility in the spine, legs, shoulders is great for golf.
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You really want to find a good personal training who can devise a good program for you and your goals. The traditional lifts (bench and so forth) are not optimal for developing golf strength and power. You want more of the rotational drills. You can google to find a bunch.

There isn't one good build for golf.  Brian Kortan was 5'3 and drove the ball 290. There are a bunch of ~6"3 guys out there also. There are pretty skinny guys and some fat ones. It is all about hand eye coordination and the ability to generate power.

Originally Posted by GonnaBreak70

Hi, I'm 18 years old, 5'10'' and 140 pounds.

I decided that with some of my free time I'm going to put on some weight and bulk up. (About 10-15 pounds.)

I'm already in great shape and very flexible, I've done Gymnastics, Jiu-Jitsu, Ballet:(

I feel that by weighing more and being stronger, Ill have more distance and control over the ball.

The question is what type of workout would most benefit me and help me reach my weight goals? And what type of build is the all around best for playing golf?



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This really isn't as complicated as you might think.  I'd suggest that whatever plan you decide to follow to do it regularly, at least 3-4 a week.  As was said focusing on the entire body is good.  When you work out hit it hard so that you feel it when it's over, and finally just as important as hitting it hard in the gym (or wherever) ramp up your diet so that your body has all the clean fuel it needs to power your workouts, speed recovery, and support growth.  At your weight it sounds like your diet currently won't support the growth and gains you're interested in so be sure to make sure you give your body what it needs.  If you do both of these things at your age you can see astonishing gains in a very short period of time.  I wouldn't worry about tayloring what you do to golf, what you want are all around gains, and doing that will naturally help your game.  I will also say that diet is usually the most overlooked aspect when people want to effect some form of body composition change.  Matching your diet to your goals will be what dictates whether or not you succeed.  I also wouldn't worry about any gains being detrimental to your game.  If you maintain flexibility added strength will just make things easier, from opening pickel jars, moving furniture, to smashing drives and iron shots.

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Annika Sorenstam and Tiger Woods are the most famous exponents of weight training.  It's probably just coincidence that when it came out that they were lifting heavy, their games were headed downhill.

Harvey Pennick, or maybe it was Bud Shrake, said that golfers need the kind of muscles that can crack a whip, not lift a wagon, or something like that.    That's considered an old fashioned view these days.  I'm not so sure.

What do the best golfers in the world look like and how do they exercise?    Few to none look like body builders.  There are more athletic pro golfers now than in generations past, but they are not muscled like a builder.     They are more like past generation football quarterbacks than linemen or running backs.     I suspect the strongest guys on tour look heavy and out of shape.

One wonders if some golfers who have been crippled by physical disabilities such as a bad back or painful wrist, could have avoided disability by early weight training.  In golf, backs, wrists, shoulders and knees are critical.

Body type.   My own speculation is that thick pects and front delts obstruct the golf swing, that sloping shoulders are better than wide straight shoulders, and that it helps to have a long neck and a short chin.   That's Tiger Woods btw.   Even Tiger Woods the body builder has a rather flat chest.    On the other hand, there are some powerfully muscled guys and gals in long drive competition.  But they are not playing on the big tour, and more than a few have weird swings.

There are golf specific exercises you can do.  I don't know that one should do them a whole lot, because of imbalance and the danger of overuse.  Play golf twice a week and do those exercises twice a week and maybe you are overworking certain joints and muscles.   There's nothing wrong with a general weight program as long as you are careful, get good advice, and don't lift too heavy or too often.  (Careful with flat bench pressing, for example; going heavy there has caused a lot of damage.)    I've used weights for 45 years, and it took nearly that long to learn that muscles grow because of a lot of rest and nutrition separated by brief episodes of lifting.

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BTW, Charles Howell is a slim golfer who used weight training in college to add muscle.  You might look up info on him.

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You mean the Annika that start working out 5 days a week in 2000, added 20 yards to her driver and went on to shoot a 59, won a zillion events and went out on top? Or the Tiger that won a million events also? Tiger might have over done it at the end but without his fitness program, he wouldn't have the win total he has. No one thinks a golfer should live in the gym like a body builder. No athlete does. On the other hand I am guessing there are very few golfers that wouldn't play better hitting the gym with the proper workouts (i.e. not bicep curls) for 45 mins a 3-4 times a week. Now justifying that time for amateur versus swing practice might be hard. But for a pro with unlimited time it is a now brainer. Heck you can significantly increase strength (more recruitment) without gaining a pound if your worried about excess weight.

Is this work critical to golfers? Not really. Amateurs obsess about length but at the pro level it is more about accuracy and consistency (the difference between 290 and 310 isn't as big as the difference of being off by 10 feet on an approach shot).

Originally Posted by Ole_Tom_Morris

Annika Sorenstam and Tiger Woods are the most famous exponents of weight training.  It's probably just coincidence that when it came out that they were lifting heavy, their games were headed downhill.

Harvey Pennick, or maybe it was Bud Shrake, said that golfers need the kind of muscles that can crack a whip, not lift a wagon, or something like that.    That's considered an old fashioned view these days.  I'm not so sure.

What do the best golfers in the world look like and how do they exercise?    Few to none look like body builders.  There are more athletic pro golfers now than in generations past, but they are not muscled like a builder.     They are more like past generation football quarterbacks than linemen or running backs.     I suspect the strongest guys on tour look heavy and out of shape.

One wonders if some golfers who have been crippled by physical disabilities such as a bad back or painful wrist, could have avoided disability by early weight training.  In golf, backs, wrists, shoulders and knees are critical.

Body type.   My own speculation is that thick pects and front delts obstruct the golf swing, that sloping shoulders are better than wide straight shoulders, and that it helps to have a long neck and a short chin.   That's Tiger Woods btw.   Even Tiger Woods the body builder has a rather flat chest.    On the other hand, there are some powerfully muscled guys and gals in long drive competition.  But they are not playing on the big tour, and more than a few have weird swings.

There are golf specific exercises you can do.  I don't know that one should do them a whole lot, because of imbalance and the danger of overuse.  Play golf twice a week and do those exercises twice a week and maybe you are overworking certain joints and muscles.   There's nothing wrong with a general weight program as long as you are careful, get good advice, and don't lift too heavy or too often.  (Careful with flat bench pressing, for example; going heavy there has caused a lot of damage.)    I've used weights for 45 years, and it took nearly that long to learn that muscles grow because of a lot of rest and nutrition separated by brief episodes of lifting.



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Did Annika go out on top?   She faded in 2006-2007 and suffered from serious back deterioration before retiring in 2008.    Did weight training hold her body together or accelerate the injuries?  Did her increased muscular strength cause her to damage her back swinging a golf club too fast?   Complicating all that was her natural aging and involvement in so many business projects, so we can't conclude anything with certainty, except for that back trouble.  Maybe the weights ended her career sooner.

As for Tiger Woods, when Men's Fitness mag named him the fittest male athlete in 2008, he won only about six PGA events after that, nothing after 2009.      For 12 years, Woods had an excellent tournament record.   Did weight training extend his career or help finish it?  Time may tell us, or not.

I don't know how Tiger trained.  He looks like he trained for a "bar body," meaning an emphasis on chest and biceps, which look most impressive when you are seated at a bar.  Surely he did squats and deads and chins and so on, but I can't tell from his appearance clothed.

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You should try to be lean like Dustin Johnson.  He has pretty much the perfect body for golf because he is tall, lean, strong and flexibile.

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Or maybe the weights added 5 more years.  You can find a lot of golfers that never lifted a weight developing back problems (i.e. Fred Couples). Tigers leg problems seem a lot more running related than lifting (Well and a desire to change swings every 5 years or so). You can not ignore the 7+ years of success both of them had doing strength training..  It is easy to draw weak correlations to prove anything (Tiger hasn't won since he stopped sleeping with Elin. He also hasn't won since growing that goatee). FInding causation is a lot harder. In the end it is probably a combo of a lot of things rather than one thing that does in people. The guys at the top live on a pretty fine edge.

Originally Posted by Ole_Tom_Morris

Did Annika go out on top?   She faded in 2006-2007 and suffered from serious back deterioration before retiring in 2008.    Did weight training hold her body together or accelerate the injuries?  Did her increased muscular strength cause her to damage her back swinging a golf club too fast?   Complicating all that was her natural aging and involvement in so many business projects, so we can't conclude anything with certainty, except for that back trouble.  Maybe the weights ended her career sooner.

As for Tiger Woods, when Men's Fitness mag named him the fittest male athlete in 2008, he won only about six PGA events after that, nothing after 2009.      For 12 years, Woods had an excellent tournament record.   Did weight training extend his career or help finish it?  Time may tell us, or not.

I don't know how Tiger trained.  He looks like he trained for a "bar body," meaning an emphasis on chest and biceps, which look most impressive when you are seated at a bar.  Surely he did squats and deads and chins and so on, but I can't tell from his appearance clothed.



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True, PX.  For example, how does Tiger's distance correlate with his weight training?   Don't know when he started with the weights but his driving distance probably declined during weight training.    Was that from weights or from swing changes or because he became smarter about swinging at 70-80% or because of knee injuries?  Who knows?

One thing and I'll shut up on this.  When people brag about how much they lift or when stories about Annika or Tiger benching 300 lbs or 400 lbs or whatever hit the news stands, that is bad.  If a golfer takes pride in poundage or enjoys the rep of lifting heavy, they are too likely to harm themselves or their game.  And the bench press has stalled or ended a lot of athletic careers.  The flat barbell bench press is going out of vogue for everybody except powerlifters who have no choice.   A careful trainer will steer you away from flat benching when you get into heavier weights and into something like incline dumbell presses for pects.  In the case of golf, decline dumbell presses or flyes have more carry-over into the sport.    When someone asks "How much do you bench?" the smart answer is, "I don't."

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Tiger was lifting in 99 and maybe earlier. He might not have looked huge (I think he was doing a lot more aerobics then before that first knee surgery) but that doesn't tell  you if he was a gym rat or not.. His driving distance over the years

1996 302

1997 294

1998 296

1999 293
2000 298

2001 297

2002 293

2003 300

2004 302

2005 316

2006 306

2007 302

2008 294

2009 298

2010 295

2011 296

I am not sure if I would call that  a decline in distance. This isn't really an apples to apples comparision with swing changes, club changes (Tiger played a steel shaft for a while and it was a pretty short club), course changes, ball changes, aging (what happens to most peoples distance after they turn 30), sample sizes (a couple hundred swings is not a lot), course strategy and who knows what else.

The other things is remember is that a lot of the information we get is BS. There might be an interview where some asks Tiger what he benches since they think it is something their readers will relate to. He says something like I never do max benches but 3 sets of 10 at 250. The author then goes well that translates into 1 rep max of 350 and publishes it.  You also tend to hear about the best session every not the normal week.

Originally Posted by Ole_Tom_Morris

True, PX.  For example, how does Tiger's distance correlate with his weight training?   Don't know when he started with the weights but his driving distance probably declined during weight training.    Was that from weights or from swing changes or because he became smarter about swinging at 70-80% or because of knee injuries?  Who knows?

One thing and I'll shut up on this.  When people brag about how much they lift or when stories about Annika or Tiger benching 300 lbs or 400 lbs or whatever hit the news stands, that is bad.  If a golfer takes pride in poundage or enjoys the rep of lifting heavy, they are too likely to harm themselves or their game.  And the bench press has stalled or ended a lot of athletic careers.  The flat barbell bench press is going out of vogue for everybody except powerlifters who have no choice.   A careful trainer will steer you away from flat benching when you get into heavier weights and into something like incline dumbell presses for pects.  In the case of golf, decline dumbell presses or flyes have more carry-over into the sport.    When someone asks "How much do you bench?" the smart answer is, "I don't."



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Not sure where this information comes from, but you can't blame the exercise for an individuals stupidity.  A properly executed bench press (back on the bench, controlling the weight not bouncing it off your chest) is perfectly safe.  Incline dumbell presses bring more deltoid into the exercise which fatigue quicker than the pecs and end up not doing much for the lower pecs.  Inclines work best after flat bench so that the pecs are fatigued and can benefit from the support of the deltoids.

Originally Posted by Ole_Tom_Morris

And the bench press has stalled or ended a lot of athletic careers.  The flat barbell bench press is going out of vogue for everybody except powerlifters who have no choice.   A careful trainer will steer you away from flat benching when you get into heavier weights and into something like incline dumbell presses for pects.  In the case of golf, decline dumbell presses or flyes have more carry-over into the sport.    When someone asks "How much do you bench?" the smart answer is, "I don't."



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Wow, reading all those posts made me really think about my own training. Half the things you both mentioned not to do, I do xD I always thought flat bench press, bicep curl etc was good for golf. Now I really dont know what muscle to train I guess a bit of everything should get me on the way. And what muscle groups are best to train? If I know the core muscles involved in a golf swing I can focus on those. You mentioned areas, but are there any particular muscles?

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Increasing your overall muscle strength throughout your body isn't going to hurt you in golf unless it comes at the expense of flexibility.  Most agree that training the core is key to golf, but it won't hurt to perform a routine for your entire body that includes bench presses, and arm curls.  The important thing to remember is form over weight.

Originally Posted by Golfz

Wow, reading all those posts made me really think about my own training. Half the things you both mentioned not to do, I do xD I always thought flat bench press, bicep curl etc was good for golf. Now I really dont know what muscle to train  I guess a bit of everything should get me on the way. And what muscle groups are best to train? If I know the core muscles involved in a golf swing I can focus on those. You mentioned areas, but are there any particular muscles?



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Unless your seriously going for, heavy lifting were you artificially increase your muscles to look fashionable, then you shouldn't have issues with flexibility. Actually if you lift weights correctly, you should slowly gain more flexibility as your range of motion should increase with strength.

I advocate working out the whole body, with emphasis on the hips and core.

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