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MUSCLE GROWTH FOR GOLFERS

First things first...


You will not lose mobility when you gain muscle.


You will not mess up your swing when you gain muscle.


You will not lose feel, "look like a bodybuilder," or any of the other negative connotations regarding gaining muscle mass.


As a golfer, you SHOULD SEEK MUSCULAR GAINS...


Even more broadly, as a human, you should seek muscular gains.


I'll briefly explain 4 reasons WHY and then, the more important, HOW.


WHY #1: More muscle means more speed.


The larger your muscles are, the more force you can produce with them (generally).


More force production will allow your body to create more energy, and apply more positive work into the club.


More work into the club means a greater transfer of energy into the ball at impact.


More energy transfer, more speed.


Therefore, if we work back our logic - more muscle means more potential speed.


DISCLAIMER: Even if you pack on muscle, you need to apply that newfound muscle into your golf swing. You need to swing faster. You need to alter your technique to allow for more speed. Gaining speed is a COMPLEX PUZZLE - and gaining muscle is just one of the critical pieces.



WHY #2: More muscle means more resilience.


Bigger, stronger muscles are going to be less likely to injure or strain.


While this is a very reductionist statement and injuries, like clubhead speed, are unbelievably complex, this statement tends to be true.


By gaining muscle mass, your body will become more resilient and will achieve greater longevity.


WHY #3: More muscle means more joint health.


Muscles cross joints, and with it, they are a central provider of joint stability.


They contribute to the function of joints - helping them move fluidly and under control.


By growing our muscles, we can create more stable joints that can transfer and absorb large forces.


WHY #4: More muscle means more HEALTH.


And finally, the process of putting on muscle, which I will discuss below, naturally lends itself to higher levels of overall health.


Putting on muscle requires physical activity and strength training.


It requires adequate nutrition and protein intake.

It requires proper recovery and sleep.


All of which will have a compounding effect on other aspects of our health, movement, and longevity!



HOW DO I GROW MUSCLE?


Growing muscle is a 3 step process.


FIRST, through strength training and physical activity we stress muscles.


This stress creates micro-tears and damages the muscle.


SECOND, within the muscle are cells and structures that respond to this damage by rebuilding the muscle, creating adaptations that promote growth.


This process of rebuilding is fueled by PROTEIN, the nutrition you take in, and proper recovery.


THIRD, we need to repeat the first and second steps consistently for a LONG period of time to see visible and usable changes in muscle growth.


Let's dive into each of these steps in a bit more detail...


 

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Step #1: Stress the muscle


By strength training and loading the body, we stress muscles.


This stress creates damage and micro-tears in the muscle.


But what is the best way to go about training to promote muscle growth?


Many roads lead to Rome...


There are many different ways to go about training to maximize muscle growth, but the one thing that appears to be necessary is - HIGH MUSCULAR FATIGUE.


Which exercises should I do?


When your goal shifts to maximizing muscle growth, the exercises I recommend don't change much as compared other strength, power, and speed related goals.


Here's a short (and incomplete) list...


Squat.

RDL.

Lunge.

Hexbar Deadlift.

Push-Ups.

Bench.

Shoulder Press.

Bent Over Rows.

Pull-Ups.


When it comes to maximizing muscle growth, exercises like these will stress multiple muscles and muscle groups at one time and also allow us to LOAD the body far greater than single joint movements like bicep curls, lateral raises, and knee extensions.


Don't hear what I'm not saying... Single joint movements like these absolutely have a place in training.


Attacking specific muscle groups and joints can be a useful tool to create resilience in common injury spots or build strength/hypertrophy in a limiting muscle.


I'm just saying, exercise selection wise, prioritize the bigger movements.


How many reps per set?


If we create a spectrum that has low load, high reps on one side, and high load, low reps on the other, where should your training fall on that spectrum?


3 sets of 12 reps at a lighter weight?

5 sets of 3 reps at a heavier weight?

Or maybe somewhere in between?


Turns out, it doesn't really matter.


That old saying of "6-12 reps for hypertrophy" isn't really true.


Muscular adaptations will change slightly across the spectrum of rep ranges, but muscle growth is basically the same.


The only thing that truly matters is that you are creating high amounts of tension in the muscle and taking it to a point of large fatigue.


Both of which can be done with 5x3, 3x12, or somewhere in between.

In the end, my recommendations for choosing how many reps to complete:

  1. Change it up often. Some weeks do higher rep ranges, other weeks do less with higher load

  2. Always push to large fatigue. As long as you are finding a weight that pushes you and you end a set feeling fatigued - you are on the right path.


How many sets should I complete?


The research points towards completing at minimum 10 sets per week on a specific muscle.


So, for example, if you really want to grow your biceps, doing the following would achieve what seems to be minimally necessary:


Monday - 3 sets of DB Bent Over Rows

Wednesday - 3 sets of bicep curls and 3 sets of pull-ups

Friday - 3 sets of landmine bent over rows


Conclusion for Step #1


In the end, the stress piece is fairly simple, but also maybe the hardest because it requires taking our body to uncomfortable amounts of fatigue.