For purposes of this article, I wanted to give some thought into which exercise I would pick if I could only pick ONE.
Let's say I have an athlete, and they only have time for one exercise per week.
I think this will be an awesome thought experiment AND also provide insights into how you should be prioritizing your golf training if you're limited on time.
Let's give it a try.
First, how many muscles does it stress?
There isn't an exercise that truly stresses only one muscle... it's not possible.
But some exercises stress more muscles and some stress fewer.
For example, a bicep curl will effect the muscles responsible for elbow flexion and also the synergistic muscles of the shoulder and forearm... so it maybe stresses 6-10 muscles (not including the many miniscule finger muscles)?
But an RDL will stress the muscles of the forearm, upper back, mid back, lower back, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Further, each of these segments contain many individual muscles that make up the muscle group as a whole... so it probably stresses 50+ muscles?
The obvious answer here is that the exercise we choose must be multi-muscle. It needs to train both the lower and upper body in some capacity. We need to maximize the bang-for-our-buck that we get!
Secondly, is it easily PROGRESSED and INTENSIFIED?
The exercise we pick today needs to be easy to progress.
It also needs to be intense enough to actually create adaptations.
We need to be able to add load to the exercise, add volume, change the tempo, and alter it in ways to produce many adaptations.
I love walking, but it's not very easily progressed and nowhere near intense enough to create the necessary strength and power adaptations we're looking for.
Similar for plyometrics and jumping exercises... they are difficult (impossible?) to add load to in order to create strength adaptations.
Thirdly, what positions does it expose us to?
The exercise we select should expose our body to positions that will help prepare us for our golf swings and lives.
For example, the golf swing requires large amounts of hip, spine and shoulder mobility.
While it will be difficult to select a singular exercise that exposes all three of these joints to expanded positions, they are important to consider.
So, let's pick ONE.
This is tough... But I am going with the
(Drum roll please)
Honorable mentions included:
I chose the hexbar deadlift for three reasons:
First, it stresses many muscles and positions. It challenges the lower body squat/hinge pattern as well as isometrically maintaining shoulder extension.
Secondly, it is easily progressed via increasing the weight or attacking it with more speed.
Lastly, the positions it exposes us to will help prepare us for the sport of golf. It will mobilize our hips. It will strengthen our low back (a common injury spot) as well as our lats, forearms, upper back, quads, and glutes.
What do you think? Did I get it right? Would you have chosen a different exercise?
Let me know in the comments below!
This was a fun though experiment into why we select certain exercises in our training.
Moral of the story... do some deadlifts!
But also don't forget about all of the other exercises.
I'm grateful that we DO NOT have to simply choose one exercise.
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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!