The Golf Athlete Pathway represented in the image below is essentially my long term approach to training golfers, boiled down to a 1 page document. It aims to give a broad overview of the journey that an aspiring elite player would take when training under my supervision or guidance.
I realise that the majority of you reading this article are not aspiring elite players, and might well be happy just doing a really good job of Phase 1, thereby reaping the rewards of a body that moves better, feels healthier, has a reduced risk of injury and a greater potential to execute quality golf shots.
Whether your are dreaming of playing on tour, or just playing without getting hurt, I hope that my explanation of the 3 training phases and examples of workouts and exercises will give you a thorough understanding of how I train golfers.
Phase 1 - Building the Base
The first phase is focused on setting up a foundation of solid lifting technique and sorting out mobility, stability and posture issues, whilst developing good exercise and nutrition habits.
Stability - Training key muscle groups to stabilise and balance the body in both gym movements and golf swing. Key areas of focus are foot / ankle, hip, core, shoulders, neck / head.
Mobility - Increasing range of motion in joints that require more movement.
Posture - Developing awareness of neutral spine position, understanding individual postural traits, training the deep muscle system to automatically hold good postural positions.
Basic Lifting Technique - Mastering the fundamentals of squat, lunge, push, pull, rotate and brace.
Basic Strength and Muscular Endurance - Improving ability to move bodyweight and light resistance efficiently, conditioning muscles to tolerate and recover from training loads.
General Golf Movement Patterns - Learning how to rotate efficiently at the hips and T-Spine. Developing basic scapular control and applying it to golf swing mechanics.
Basic Nutrition - developing understanding of the importance of whole unprocessed foods, achieving a balance of macro nutrients (carbs, fats, proteins) and learning the basic skills of food preparation.
Intensity - Relatively light loads, less than 50% of max. Using bodyweight, resistance bands, kettlebells, dumbbells.
Rep Range - fairly high, generally in the 10-15 range.
Lifting Speed / Intent - slow and controlled, focusing on technique.
Exercise Grouping - quite simple, when exercises are paired together it's generally different muscle groups and movements (e.g. squat and push for example)
Exercise Selection - broad, aiming to learn many variations of squat, lunge, push, pull in order to help develop physical literacy.
Phase 1 Workout Example
Phase 1 Exercise Examples
Phase 2 - Growing Potential
Now we have mastered the basics, in Phase 2 it's time to get bigger and stronger, whilst paying more specific attention to movement patterns, nutrition and recovery.
Muscle Growth - increasing muscle mass throughout the body, with particular focus on legs and back.
Basic Power - learning how to move light loads fast, lots of jumping and throwing.
Recovery Strategies - understanding importance of post training and play recovery such as self massage, hot/cold contrast, cold water immersion, stretching etc.
Specific Golf Movement Patterns - collaborating with the golf coach to help ingrain body movement that coach wants to see implemented or ingrained in the golf swing.
Specific Nutrition - consulting with nutritionist / dietician to deliver individual nutrition plans and recommendations on supplements.
Intensity - starting to lift heavier loads, around 70% of maximum
Rep Range - 8 to 12 for most exercises
Lifting Speed / Intent - still quite slow, generally using 2-0-2 tempo (2 seconds up - no pause - 2 seconds down).
Exercise Grouping - starting to get more complex, often grouping exercises that use the same muscle group or movement.
Exercise Selection - Getting narrower, with a focus on gradually increasing volume on key exercises.
Phase 2 Workout Example
Phase 2 Exercise Examples
Phase 3 - Maximising Potential
This is the final phase of the pathway, aiming to transfer the physical gains developed in the first 2 phases to elite performance.
Max Strength - Training neural system and muscle contraction co-ordination to increase max force output.
Advanced Power - Focusing on vertical and rotational power production. Jumping, throwing and rotating as fast as possible with medium to heavy loads.
Specific Speed - Aiming for increases in club head speed, often working together with the coach to ensure there is no detriment to technique.
Tournament Routines - Combining training, warm up, recovery, nutrition and hydration habits into a repeatable routine for tournament weeks.
Intensity - getting quite high now, lifting heavy loads at close to maximum effort.
Rep Range - generally quite low, looking at 3-5 for major lifts and 8-10 for supporting exercises.
Lifting Speed / Intent - aiming to move everything as fast as possible in concentric phase (when the muscles are shortening - up phase in a squat or bench press for example).
Exercise Grouping - more complex now, often combining exercises in supersets or mini circuits.
Exercise Selection - becoming much more narrow, focusing on repeating key movements with heavier loads. Still some variety in supporting exercises.
Phase 3 Workout Example
Phase 3 Exercise Examples
If you are interested in progressing along the Golf Athlete Pathway, then check out the following products and services from Nick at Golf Fit Pro: