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mecoleman

Weightlifting/Bodybuilding and Golf

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For nearly two decades, I was a competitive runner from all distances -- the 5K to the marathon.  Toward the last few years as a runner, I really got into golf.  With age, increased mileage, and a number of other factors, my back was severely damaged and required two epidurals to treat herniated discs.

Every time I would return to running, I would end up getting re-injured when I reached a certain mileage.  I started going to the gym and became hooked on weightlifting and bodybuilding.

I have gone from 145/150 pounds when marathoning to 210 when weight training.  The change in my body and overall size has really affected my golf game -- both in positive and negative ways.  I've lost a lot of flexibility, and I find that I'm struggling with my woods and driver, but absolutely nailing my irons and wedges.

I posted a topic about the right elbow in another discussion, but I'm finding that with my change in body type that I'm going to have to make some adjustments to my game.

I was just wondering if any of you have experienced the same (or similar) thing when incorporating weight training into your wellness routine.

Thanks.

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Strength training is important but if you aren’t doing mobility work to maintain what you have, it’ll be detrimental to your golf game. You need enough mobility to get into proper positions. 

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There's very little likelihood of someone who plays/practices golf regularly accidentally getting so muscular that they cannot get into position to swing.  For that matter, think about how many people you know, including men at prime testosterone producing years, who want to get their body into such a condition (they are probably not regular golfers), and are actively trying to do so but are unsuccessful.  The odds you do it by accident are quite slim.

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I never said it was by accident.

I was just curious of how many others have gone through the same situation — having to change their setup, certain parts of their swing, and adjusting their expectations based on previous performance.

Did it strengthen or hamper your game and in what areas?

10 hours ago, Shindig said:

There's very little likelihood of someone who plays/practices golf regularly accidentally getting so muscular that they cannot get into position to swing.  For that matter, think about how many people you know, including men at prime testosterone producing years, who want to get their body into such a condition (they are probably not regular golfers), and are actively trying to do so but are unsuccessful.  The odds you do it by accident are quite slim.

 

10 hours ago, tap2284 said:

Strength training is important but if you aren’t doing mobility work to maintain what you have, it’ll be detrimental to your golf game. You need enough mobility to get into proper positions. 

That’s definitely something I need to work on.

I’ll be the first to admit that.

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I think it's just a mobility issue. I think you just need to add in daily mobility work and you will be fine. I have seen some pretty big guys that have good swings, but they are flexible. The thing with weightlifting/bodybuilding is that you have to keep up with mobility work or things like this will happen. I can't say from experience because the only size I have gained is not the size you want to gain...lol, but I my workouts days are at a crossfit gym where the emphasize mobility so I haven't noticed any issues.

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3 hours ago, mecoleman said:

I was just curious of how many others have gone through the same situation — having to change their setup, certain parts of their swing, and adjusting their expectations based on previous performance.

Stretch more. I doubt you bulked up enough that it would impact your ability to make the golf swing. It's more likely you are training your body to move in a weight lifting way and lost flexibility in the golf swing movements.

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On 9/11/2019 at 9:09 AM, mecoleman said:

I have gone from 145/150 pounds when marathoning to 210 when weight training.  The change in my body and overall size has really affected my golf game -- both in positive and negative ways.  I've lost a lot of flexibility, and I find that I'm struggling with my woods and driver, but absolutely nailing my irons and wedges.

I posted a topic about the right elbow in another discussion, but I'm finding that with my change in body type that I'm going to have to make some adjustments to my game.

I was just wondering if any of you have experienced the same (or similar) thing when incorporating weight training into your wellness routine.

I went from 130 pounds to 210 through weight training. Granted, my gains were pretty slow. It took me about 8 years. But, it didn't hurt my golf game in the least. Actually it helped it quite a bit. Having said that I also incorporated yoga into my training program and that really seemed to help my golf game. Although, I'll argue that nothing improves your golf game like good coaching and consistent practice. … but I digress. 

A long time ago we used to have silly "exercise myths". Like "Weight training won't help you hit a baseball farther." We found that not to be true. Now, we have something called "the Steroid era" in baseball. A similar myth was "Weight training will ruin your flexibility." that's been proven not to be true. Weight training without proper stretching will ruin your flexibility can be considered to be true. But so is just existing without proper stretching will ruin your flexibility. 

What's my point? …

                                                  1 - If you want to be flexible, you need to stretch more. 

                                       2 - If you want to be good at golf, you need good coaching, a good plan and consistent practice. 

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5 hours ago, mecoleman said:

I never said it was by accident.

I was just curious of how many others have gone through the same situation — having to change their setup, certain parts of their swing, and adjusting their expectations based on previous performance.

Did it strengthen or hamper your game and in what areas?

 

Sorry, I misread your original post.  I thought you meant you were looking into weight training and were worried you'd bulk up.

I agree with the other posters, though:  get some stretching in, and see if the difference is your movements you've trained for or if it's your flexibility.  We've seen quite a few people come through here convinced they're inflexible when they're really just not moving correctly, and are capable of doing so when coached into it.  Consider a member swing video?

As for me, I went from considering a 200 yard drive to be a big poke to being disappointed when my driving average is under 215 for a round.  There are a number of factors in play here, including weight training, and I am not planning to eliminate any in order to study what affected what.

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I lifted weights and still lift weights for years long before I ever played golf. If anything it helps because I have well above average speed, no flexibility issues and I’ll admit I am terrible to stretch, I don’t do anywhere near enough mobility work if any at all. 

Don’t get me wrong I am not huge by any means but unless you plan to use performance enhancing drugs and get pro bodybuilder big you won’t have mobility issues imo.

The size you can naturally get without drugs imo would never be so big that you’d have to worry about mobility. I think if you are naturally flexible you will stay that way and if you are not then it is something you might need to work on anyway regardless of weightlifting 

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Weightlifting and bodybuilding are not necessarily the same (as you know).

Weightlifting is great for golf and life and EVERYONE should lift frankly.  there is no downside.

Bodybuilding is a different and more impactful choice.  Clearly, you've had some great success if you've progressed to the point that some things are now difficult.  But that's the tradeoff.

I have a friend that was an energetic skinny happy skydiver.  He started building and training hard.  He is now an energetic, huge, happy, bodybuilder.  If he puts on his old skydiving gear, he CANNOT reach his deployment handle (It's like a hacky sack down by your butt).  His choice, I hope he's happy.  He certainly got great results and wins comps and trains people for a living.

All I can suggest is get lessons and stretch and find the right pro that can teach you to work around if you want to be decent at golf.

5 minutes ago, Nail said:

The size you can naturally get without drugs imo would never be so big that you’d have to worry about mobility. I think if you are naturally flexible you will stay that way and if you are not then it is something you might need to work on anyway regardless of weightlifting 

disagree - I know several all natural builders that certainly have changed their mobility.  They need to learn to use their new bodies for their old hobbies.

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I'm 68. I find that weights and cardio that help with golf are a pretty good fitness regimen overall for someone my age.

I retired recently and have not gotten in much golf - or gym time - during the transition. I can tell, as the driver and FWs seem a bit heavy lately. So, let's talk weights and cardio, and intersections with summer heat.

The weights help with muscle tone and posture, especially posture late in the round. The longer clubs sometimes get a bit wild on the back nine - and I notice I'm slouching by not being in best shape. Also, the weights also improve durability for those shots out of shaggy lies, and running down hills on cartpath-only days.

For cardio, I mainly do treadmill and elliptical machine. I have trouble with my right hip, and running on hard ground gets painful about Mile 2.

Also, some of our rounds get played lately in steamy conditions with Heat Index > 110. Add to that "cartpath only," and you run a mini-marathon on some courses going to and from the cart.

On a couple of the hilly courses with raised cartpaths, it can be 120 yards out to go hit your shot, and 120 yards back uphill to the cart. Good cardio fitness is the difference between a steady set-up for the No. 18 driver, vs. breathing heavily during the swing.

And with the heat there's cramping. On a recent two-day tournament with the added running up and down hills, I started to dehydrate on back nine, Day 2. On one green, I had to drop my putter and shake out my hands to relieve the cramping.

This is a bit embarrassing, as in past years I often had good scores on hot days because I was in better shape than many competitors.

And there's the issue of flexibility. In my weight training, I go for moderate weight with high reps. I'm not body building. The gym has a True Stretch exercise scaffolding with a golf-specific workout. And I do my back exercises from my chiropractor. My pre-round warmup includes dynamic stretching which mimic motions of the golf swing.

For future, I would like to add a seniors' exercise class. Workouts for older trainees now include exercises specifically to increase sense of balance, which fades as people get older.

Edited by WUTiger
Tried to add picture; didn't take

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I'm seeing a lot of people interchange the terms flexibility and mobility so I'm going to put this video out there and hopefully that clears some things up:

IMO when it comes to the golf swing, people will say they lack flexibility when it's really their mobility that's the issue. An example of that is here:

And yes, getting too big can absolutely affect the golf swing. If your chest and arms get too big and you can't hit the same positions you did when you were smaller, it's going to affect your swing mechanics.

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2 hours ago, Nail said:

 

Don’t get me wrong I am not huge by any means but unless you plan to use performance enhancing drugs and get pro bodybuilder big you won’t have mobility issues imo.

 

Plenty of people have mobility issues who aren’t on PEDs and who aren’t HUGE. Have you worked with people in a training setting to see how mobility is affected/corrected by lifting/mobility work?

1 hour ago, WUTiger said:

I'm 68. I find that weights and cardio that help with golf are a pretty good fitness regimen overall for someone my age.

I retired recently and have not gotten in much golf - or gym time - during the transition. I can tell, as the driver and FWs seem a bit heavy lately. So, let's talk weights and cardio, and intersections with summer heat.

The weights help with muscle tone and posture, especially posture late in the round. The longer clubs sometimes get a bit wild on the back nine - and I notice I'm slouching by not being in best shape. Also, the weights also improve durability for those shots out of shaggy lies, and running down hills on cartpath-only days.

For cardio, I mainly do treadmill and elliptical machine. I have trouble with my right hip, and running on hard ground gets painful about Mile 2.

Also, some of our rounds get played lately in steamy conditions with Heat Index > 110. Add to that "cartpath only," and you run a mini-marathon on some courses going to and from the cart.

On a couple of the hilly courses with raised cartpaths, it can be 120 yards out to go hit your shot, and 120 yards back uphill to the cart. Good cardio fitness is the difference between a steady set-up for the No. 18 driver, vs. breathing heavily during the swing.

And with the heat there's cramping. On a recent two-day tournament with the added running up and down hills, I started to dehydrate on back nine, Day 2. On one green, I had to drop my putter and shake out my hands to relieve the cramping.

This is a bit embarrassing, as in past years I often had good scores on hot days because I was in better shape than many competitors.

And there's the issue of flexibility. In my weight training, I go for moderate weight with high reps. I'm not body building. The gym has a True Stretch exercise scaffolding with a golf-specific workout. And I do my back exercises from my chiropractor. My pre-round warmup includes dynamic stretching which mimic motions of the golf swing.

For future, I would like to add a seniors' exercise class. Workouts for older trainees now include exercises specifically to increase sense of balance, which fades as people get older.

 

Seems like you are heading in the right direction for your fitness goals. Low reps for lifting weights can be a good thing as we get older to build strength so I’d say don’t avoid it all together. 

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3 hours ago, rehmwa said:

Weightlifting and bodybuilding are not necessarily the same (as you know).

Weightlifting is great for golf and life and EVERYONE should lift frankly.  there is no downside.

Bodybuilding is a different and more impactful choice.  Clearly, you've had some great success if you've progressed to the point that some things are now difficult.  But that's the tradeoff.

I have a friend that was an energetic skinny happy skydiver.  He started building and training hard.  He is now an energetic, huge, happy, bodybuilder.  If he puts on his old skydiving gear, he CANNOT reach his deployment handle (It's like a hacky sack down by your butt).  His choice, I hope he's happy.  He certainly got great results and wins comps and trains people for a living.

All I can suggest is get lessons and stretch and find the right pro that can teach you to work around if you want to be decent at golf.

disagree - I know several all natural builders that certainly have changed their mobility.  They need to learn to use their new bodies for their old hobbies.

I bet a lot of those Natural builders are not a bit natural. It is very illegal in America to use Ped’s so most are not even honest with close family let alone  friends. This side of the pond it’s not as illegal so there is a lot more honesty, now I’m not calling you a liar but if you were never a bodybuilder you likely wouldn’t know the difference but it’s fairly obvious to those who are involved. 

That sounded a bit patronising to be honest so apologies if it came across that way but most Natural bodybuilders nowadays are far from it. 

45 minutes ago, tap2284 said:

Plenty of people have mobility issues who aren’t on PEDs and who aren’t HUGE. 

I agree but imo they were like that anyway and it wasn’t lifting weights that made them that way. I never said only people who are on PEDs and are huge have mobility issues

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15 minutes ago, Nail said:

if you were never a bodybuilder

clearly not - I won't post pictures.....  ; )

cheers

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22 minutes ago, Nail said:

I agree but imo they were like that anyway and it wasn’t lifting weights that made them that way. I never said only people who are on PEDs and are huge have mobility issues

You didn't say that but you said that unless you plan to use PEDs or get huge, you won’t have mobility issues (in your opinion). I have worked with plenty of people who have mobility issues just based on they every day lives. 

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4 hours ago, Nail said:

The size you can naturally get without drugs imo would never be so big that you’d have to worry about mobility. I think if you are naturally flexible you will stay that way and if you are not then it is something you might need to work on anyway regardless of weightlifting 

I disagree. I'm not necessarily saying it's from lifting weights specifically, but if you do no stretching and no mobility work (even if you don't lift weights) you are going to loose some flexibility and range just from getting older, in my opinion. I see ladies in our senior Crossfit group that used to be cheerleaders, athletes, track stars, etc....that are now older and have a huge lack of mobility. I'm not saying that is every case, but I bet it's the majority.

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6 hours ago, rehmwa said:

I have a friend that was an energetic skinny happy skydiver.  He started building and training hard.  He is now an energetic, huge, happy, bodybuilder.  If he puts on his old skydiving gear, he CANNOT reach his deployment handle (It's like a hacky sack down by your butt).  His choice, I hope he's happy. 

How happy he is depends in part on when he discovered that he cannot reach his deployment handle.  By the way you told the story, I assume and hope he was on the ground when this discovery was made?

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