LONGEVITY is something we all want.
We want to play the sport of golf for the rest of our lives.
What should we be doing to make sure of this?
FIRST, understand the demands!
The sport of golf is demanding.
It's fast, powerful, and impactful.
The fact that you are here reading this makes me think that you understand the demands of the sport of golf, but if you don't, let's dive into some specifics because this will help shape the way in which we achieve longevity.
First, the sport of golf demands very high amounts of rotational power output. Power is a combination of force and velocity. Therefore, we need to create bodies that can both create and withstand large amounts of force and velocity.
Furthermore, it demands us to create/absorb these large outputs 40-60 times throughout a round of golf!
The golf swing demands fairly large ranges of motion at certain joints like the shoulders, hips, and spine.
It demands us to maintain attentional focus for 5 hours.
It also requires us to walk 3-7 miles and takes place outside in the heat and sunshine, which can be an impactful environment.
These are all things we should be considering when looking to achieve longevity in the sport.
KEY NUMBER 1 - SPEED Training
SPEED is the first thing we lose as we age.
But yet, the golf swing exposes our body to high velocities (yes, even you ~75 mph clubhead speed swinger).
In order to counteract this from a longevity standpoint, we should be continuing to expose ourselves to speed in training.
Throwing medicine balls.
These are all great options to continually expose ourselves to higher velocities in training. Doing so will keep us prepared for the higher velocities that our golf swing uses.
KEY NUMBER 2 - STRENGTH TRAINING
A stronger body is NECESSARY if longevity is the goal.
Stronger muscles will help support joints more effectively than weaker ones.
Stronger muscles will be harder to break, pull, and strain.
Stronger muscles will give your body more movement options and a wider motor toolbox.
Strength training will also support a healthier body fat percentage, improving the function of the human body as a whole.
STRENGTH = GOOD
KEY NUMBER 3 - MOBILITY
Mobility training is all about making sure that your joints and bodies have the necessary ranges they are going to be exposed to.
Making sure we have BOTH mobility AND strength within large ranges of motion is imperative for the sport of golf.
Which specific joints and bodily areas should we be prioritizing for mobility?
First, the SPINE. In your golf swing, your spine rotates, extends, and flexes. It moves in three dimensions. Yet, many rarely expose it to similar positions in training due to a faux "risk of injury."
However, failing to move your spine in training means failing to prepare your spine for the golf swing, which only HEIGHTENS the risks of injury in my opinion.
Move your spine in training. Try this SPINAL FLOW!
Second, the HIPS. The hips need large ranges of external and internal rotation in order to help our kinematic chain coordinate and large power be created. The hips are, in many ways, the leaders of the downswing. They initiate the rotational uncoiling.
However, if they can't move independent of our torso, they will struggle to lead the movement.
Thirdly, the SHOULDERS. Our shoulders undergo massive ranges of rotation as well as abduction/adduction. These large ranged positions can oftentimes be weak due to the minimal stability offered at the shoulder relative to other joints. Therefore, training the shoulder to be a stabilizer and strong within large ranges of motion is crucial.
Find out how we should be training the shoulder joint HERE.
KEY NUMBER 4 - LOAD MANAGEMENT
The golf swing is an impactful motion.
It places a ton of strain on the body.
Although injuries are very complex and are always caused by multiple factors, I believe one of the central causes is poor load management.
The most common spot I see issues ran into regarding load management is with my fellow Midwesterners. We do very limited golf activity for 5-6 months and then go to the range and reach for the jumbo bucket.
We need to think of the golf swing like lifting heavy weights.
Ease into higher volumes and loads of golf swing.
Start with the small bucket once per week. Then move to twice per week. Then reach for the medium bucket. Etc.
Be aware of the stress the golf swing can place on your body and if you are feeling beat down, sore, or extra stressed, scale back the volume of golf swing you are applying on that day.
KEY Number 5 - ALL THE HEALTH STUFF
I talk about this all the time, so I won't beat on the point - but this is probably the MOST IMPORTANT KEY.
If you are trying to improve your golf game and resilience to injury in the sport of golf it impossible to look beyond HEALTH.
Nutrition. Hydration. Sleep. Recovery. Psychosocial health. Mental well-being.
From a longevity perspective, all of these matter SO MUCH MORE than doing an extra set of bicep curls tomorrow or some speed training next week.
If you aren't dialing in the surrounding health habits, you are missing the most important key to longevity.
LONGEVITY IS A PROCESS
You can't create longevity in one day.
You can't create longevity in one week.
Or one month.
Or one year.
It's an un-ending PROCESS and JOURNEY to create a highly resilient physical body.
It starts with you committing yourself to physical preparation.
It starts with you joining the SCRATCH Community ;).
Founder and Head Coach - SCRATCHGolfTraining.com
Carter is a strength and conditioning coach out of the Milwaukee area working with athletes, in-person and virtually. Having helped hundreds of athletes, ranging from the middle school to the professional level and beyond, Carter brings a breadth of experience and knowledge to every athlete he works with. He launched SCRATCHGolfTraining.com in the summer of 2021 to help empower golfers to greater performance and longevity.
Carter believes ALL golfers are athletes, and they should be training accordingly.
Become a SCRATCH Athlete today, and start training like the ATHLETE you are!