T Nation

Training Golfers Westside Style

Recently i had the opportunity to train a high level competitive golfer in his offseason. Most of the golfers i get are usually older, have zero athletic ability and mostly need mobility and strength to help get them through the couple rounds they play. Most of the competitive athletes ive trained are from team sports so this was an interesting change. As with most golfers (sorry if im offending anyone)his flexibilty needed work, had some imbalances and needed his nutrition improved. However, he had a decent weight training backround, was a good athlete in other sports and was looking to get stronger and more explosive. He was overtraining bodybuilding style when i got him so our first phase was used to correct imbalances, teach form, and then he went through a basic strength phase to get stronger. From there I decided to use a modified Westside Template to help increase his explosiveness, he also needed posterior chain work. While i didn’t have him maxing out on ME days (I didn’t see the need for it for a golfer), his ME work consisted of 4-6RM work for whatever exercise he was doing. His DE days were pretty similar to the westside format (although i used some explosive rowing movments to replace benching) and also included explosive med ball throws, ect. On his ME days i would use pulling movements as ME exercises most times since the lats play a major role in the swing. Ive never trained a golfer this way before, so i could be way off but he had fantastic results and is crushing the ball. Most golf training i’ve seen even pros use is shit based on some “functional equiptment” like a buso ball. I was wondering if any of the coaches on here have trained golfers in this way (I know CT has a golf backround), what there experiences were and if they made other modifications to the program.

Boss14
What does his exercise consist of? Is he training 3x a week? or 5x and is full-body, or split routine? Westside is good for golfing but, modify it and make sure you include dynamic flexibilty in your work-outs with him. escpcially in the hips, trunk muscles, shoulders , back ect. I agree, no need to stand on a bosu ball when you are trying to hit on a flat surface and drive over 700yards.

In health,
Silas C.

Golfers benefit greatly from the bigger movements. As you can see from my name I am a golfer and have seen first hand the benefits of oly’s and their variations. A westside protocal would help a golfer but it can be optimized further than that. Oly’s and their variations, complete trunk work (abs, obliques and lower back), ROTATOR CUFFS!!!, lats, delts, traps, hams, quads should all be included. One very overlooked aspect of golf training is training explosiveness. Every movement should be done from a complete release of tention e.g. rack presses, rack pulls, cable rows letting the weight rest, on the ground skull crushers. Doing every movement with a release of tension will increase the golfers explosiveness. This shouldn’t be done for more than two weeks. It really kills the joints. Almost every movement can be done with a release of tension. And probably the first most overlooked type of exercises that are overlooked are rotator/delt specific movements. These puppies need to be as strong and stable as possible with both low and high level golfers.

PGA what do you mean by release of tension? Is it stretching the muscle out and pausing for a second at the bottom Then exploding the weight up?

Also are you really going to try to get your tour card? Within the next 2-5 years I am hoping to go to Q-school, or tryout for nationwide. Last year was my first year that I really focused on wanting to be a pro golfer. My swing was fundamentally sound but there were some minor areas that I needed to work on. I went to get my swing video taped and found some things to work on. All last year I worked hard on it day after day at the range trying to make the changes feel natural. I worked on putting and chipping over the winter in my garage. This year I have already shot my lowest round for 18 holes and so far the conditions here in upstate NY have been under 65 and usually windy. I am looking foward to a good year and am going to focus on my shotmaking and scoring/decision making.

Last year I sort of just took the most aggressive line on every shot, I wasn’t overly concerned with my scoring I just wanted to see how many shots I could pull off. This year I am going to try all year to break par.

uhhhhh, oops looks like I went off there for a minute, anyways, If you are trying to make the tour, which by your name looks like it might be your goal, let me know how you are doing. We might even be able to help eachother out some, I know a good support structure can really help a golfer.

Later

Great topic. I am 41 and have played for about 12 years. Got very serious about training maybe 5 yrs ago. Handicap went from 15 to 7 during that 5 yr. period.

Funny thing is I play a lot less now then I did then, but train a lot more often. Used to play at least 4 rds./wk and practice two days. I now play 2X/wk. and practice 1 day. Not getting better but I am not slipping either. Crushing the ball off the tee, particularly in the beginning of the season.

I use Westside, as a model, most of the year.

By release of tension I mean the release you get from a box squat or a deadlift when the the muscles you are working have zero load on them producing a more explosive movement. You get that moment of complete relaxiation of the muscles then EXPLODE! Almost every movement can be done this way, military presses can be doen in a rack with the pins set at the right height rest the bar on the pins then explode. The only work that might not be beneficial for a golfer is chest development. Not because of strength imbalances but because of loss of range of motion with front delt and chest development. Too big of a chest will just get in the way.

Yeah I’m trying to get to tours. This year has been slow. I’m finishing this semester of school and once that is done then I can get into full swing, pun intended.

PM me if you have any questions Vegita.

The external resistance of a golfer is small, so heavy 1-4 reps isn’t necessary, but what is needed is a increased volume in reactive exercises to increase their elastic strength. I would definitely increase lat,forearm, delt, rotator cuffs, rear delts, abdominals, etc … but implementing NOT sport specific (golf swings) reactive upper body, and trunk exercises in the gym would be ideal. They get plenty of reactive work simply by swinging the club during practice, and playing rounds of golf, so implement by their defiences.

So, (taking the context from a db hammer article) …

  1. they swing their clubs with more reactive power? - traing them to be stronger while maintaining their reactiveness on the fields (golf course), by simply swinging their clubs.

  2. they swing their clubs with less reactiveness, but seem to power the ball more? Increase their reactive abilities in the gym.

Since it was the offseason and he wasn’t doing any golfing, he was able to train 4x/wk, his cuff work was done on upper body days and also included work for his scapular-thoracic stabilizers. His core work was done each day, on lower body days he did stabilization work (planks, side bridges, ect.) and on upper body days he did more traditional work (wood choppers, reverse crunches, ect.) in various planes.

Boss sounds like you had the right routine. Did you include deads and squats?

Next time you get a golfer have incorporate walking planks. This is TOTAL core movement. CT described them in his Mega Shoulder Glider article. They are great and a mainstay in my routine.

I included deads (trap bar, sumo, and rdl) since his posterior chain was real weak. Squats were also in the program, but mostly for DE work.

Could someone post or pm me a sample week? I generally do not follow a program when I lift, I just go in and do what I want to at the time. I had no real goals in the gym other than to get a little stronger overall and maybe a little bigger. Now that I have some evidence that it can assist me in my golf game, I would like to take it to the next level. I am limited to my home gym which includes a power rack, an oly barbell set and a bowflex. I have a chinup bar attached to the ceiling as well. Thanks

I’d be interested in viewing a sample week as well if someone has the time.

Good thread by the way, I haven’t tracked one in a while.

Here is a quick one. It has a full 7 day one and a condensed version. Sorry I cant be more in depth right now. I’m styding for finals. PM me if you have any other questions.

In Season

Day 1 4x8
Regular Deads
Good Mornings
Wide Stance Squats
Straight and Side Lunge Super Rep

Day 2
Various Planks
Extended Horses
Standing Cable Crunches (Vegita you can do Hooked leg weighted crunch/situps here)

Day 3 4x8
High Wood Chop (Vegita you can use dumbbells here or medicine balls)
Low Wood Chop (Vegita you can use dumbbells here or medicine balls)
Russian Twist
Cuban Press
Lying L Rotator Cuff Abduction
Lying on Side Cross Chest Adduction

Day 4 Off

Day 5 4x8
Sumo Deads
Seated Good Morning
1 Leg Leg Press (Vegita you can do 1 leg squats here)
Hang Snatch (3-5 reps)

Day 6
Cuban Press
Lying L Rotator Cuff Abduction
Lying on Side Cross Chest Adduction
Various Planks

Day 7 4x8
Standing Violent Horizontal Straight Arm Dumbbell Swings (20 reps)
Pull-ups (palms facing away)
Cable Row
Lying on Bench Cable Crunches (the best ab strength gain movement EVER!)

Condensed Version

Day 1 4x8
Regular Deads
Wide Stance Squats
Standing Cable Crunches (Vegita you can do hooked leg weighted crunch/situps here)
Various Planks

Day 2 4x8
High Wood Chop (Vegita you can use dumbbells here or medicine balls)
Low Wood Chop (Vegita you can use dumbbells here or medicine balls)
Russian Twist
Cuban Press
Lying L Rotator Cuff Abduction
Lying on Side Cross Chest Adduction

Day 3 Off

Day 4 4x8
Sumo Deads
1 Leg Leg Press (Vegita you can do 1 leg squats here)
Hang Snatch (3-5 reps)
Lying on Bench Cable Crunches (the best ab strength gain movement EVER!)

Day 5 4x8
Pull-ups (palms facing away)
Cable Row
Standing Violent Horizontal Straight Arm Dumbbell Swings (20 reps)
Cuban Press
Lying L Rotator Cuff Abduction
Lying on Side Cross Chest Adduction

I am currently training a pro golfer also, but he has no background in lifting weights what so ever, but he is fairly athletic. I love using westside style programs for athletes, but with this guy i need to just build a base of strength first. I also have to rehabilitate his hip which he had operated on and his lower back which sports several herniated disks. Typically i do alot of lateral plyometrics along with medecine ball throws, most throws being of a rotational nature. I usually follow that up with box squats in a normal 3 sets of 5 type and then some posterior chain assistance exercise. On upper body day it is usually the same rep scheme on the bench followed by lots of back and shoulder work and some tris. Right now it is just a matter of making him somewhat strong and solid before he is even ready for westside type training.

I?ve train/trained 2 golfers one a PGA pro the other a regular guy who wanted to impress his colleges. Both golfers were not in optima condition to maximize there potential. My main priority was to increase there conditioning and to strengthen the abdominal region, obliques, erector spina, in other words the power zone (so called for lack of better words). I used GPP exercises and other energy system work along with weight training utilizing an auto regulating training approach, which proved to be very effective. Here are a few tips: Tip # 1 Most golfers need mobility work, but too much can be detrimental, utilize dynamic stretching, along with joint mobility drills. Tip # 2 focus on rotational core movements examples cable wood choppers, med ball twist, Russian twist with external resistances, sledge hammering ext., ext… Although do not neglect other abdominal exercises. Tip # 3 Create a strength base, in other words increase there strength before speed (strength is a more trainable motor quality then speed is). Tip # 4 don?t use advance techniques in newbie?s (it will decrease there effectiveness when there really needed). Tip # 5 the pendulum peridization approach could prove very effective in the newbie and intermediate golfers. That?s it for now have to go work, but hope it helps.

Vegita,

That’s awesome. Good luck with Q-School and the Nationwide Tour. Q-School costs like $14k doesn’t it?

What are you playing at (scratch, plus 2)? I’m about a 4 right now, but I plan to be at scratch or better by the end of the year. Good luck!

I know nothing about westside, except what I read (enough to know that I can’t find a gym in my area or anyone who can help me with it) but I can share some experience with golf and training.

Basically 99% of the stuff most trainers tell golfers is worthless. Golfers seem to be the easiest victims for the generally useless trainers at the chrome and spandex places, since they love to sit on a swiss ball curl pink dumbells.

Back when I was in High School (early 80s), golfers weren’t supposed to walk slowly by the weight room lest they bulk up too much. My football coach didn’t like that much so I quit football since I was a much better golfer than linebacker.

When I got to college, I started working with the football strength and conditioning coach. This completely transformed my game. I went from a plodder with a great short game to a power player with a great short game and went from protecting par to being able to go deep on tournaments. Chronic back problems ceased as he identified strength imbalances and had me fix them. It was great and I was in the best shape of my life.

BTW, Frank Stranahan, the first amateur to seriously challange for the Masters loved bodybuilding and was huge (especially for the 1930s). I wish I had a copy of one of the pictures of him posing to show folks who say they don’t want to lift because it will hurt their golf game.

Pats, I am not that good yet. Last year I played to a 16 hcp on a pretty difficult coarse. The whole year I was working through many different swing changes, setup changes and just overall expirimentation. Was really my first year as a student of golf. This year I feel fairly confident in my abilities and in 10 rounds of golf have already shot my lowest round ever, 82 in windy cold conditions. I am going to focus more on my gym training and trying to really play smart and score well. If I can get my hcp down low enough this year I will not take another season to work on mechanics but if I fail to get into the low singles this year I may have to take a third year of swing tinkering and not focus on scoring. Ultimately I hope that best case scenarion in 3 years I will be ready to make a run at a tour. If not then in 5 years maybe.

Vegita,

If your a student and you already haven’t read it, you may want to check out Ben Hogan’s book. It’s great.

As you know, to qualify for the Nationwide Tour means your pretty awesome. I’d guess most guys on that tour normally shoot 5-6 under on courses everyone can play.

You’ll need to play great. Good luck. I’m going to try as well.