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Should Golfers do CrossFit?

In short, probably not.


But it's not that simple.


Quick disclaimer... Every CrossFit gym/coach is different.


Some coaches are awesome.


Some not so much.


Some gyms program athletes in very beneficial ways.


Some not so much.


This article represents generalized thoughts about my experiences with CrossFit.


My Experiences with CrossFit


I was a "crossfitter" for ~6 months.


I was doing the WODs, the Murph, the Fran, and whatever other crossfit workout I could find or create.


At the time, I loved it.


It pushed my training to a new level of intensity.


It, in part, made me fall in love with fitness and the gym.


I loved the high after a grueling workout or the burn during it.


I thought I was the hardest worker in the gym because of how much I was crushing myself.


But, it didn't last very long.


I didn't get hurt or anything, I just realized there are better ways.


I wasn't preparing my body the best way I could be.


So I moved on.

 
 

Why CrossFit is GOOD.


There is some good and bad in CrossFit - we'll cover both.


As a whole, they do a great job at developing a community of likeminded, hard working individuals.


In my experience, gyms seem to do a good job at motivating and encouraging.


Most gyms are good at scaling workouts for less advanced trainees and pushing the more advanced athletes.


The exercises utilized within a CrossFit gym are generally good (but often misused and limited).


Squats. Deadlifts. Pullups. Pushes. Cleans. Snatches.


I personally don't use Olympic lifts, but that doesn't mean they are bad.


I wrote about Olympic Lifts for golfers HERE.


In general, CrossFit has some GOOD within it.


The big takeaway is this:


If you train at a CrossFit gym, and enjoy it, keep it up! Just be mindful of some of the things I'll discuss below and fill in some of the pieces that your training may be missing.


Why CrossFit is BAD.


First, it's not designed for golfers.


CrossFit was initially designed to be a test of fitness. It's since been altered to provide general fitness qualities to the general public.


It wasn't designed to maximize performance and longevity on the golf course.


Second, the workouts are extremely fatiguing.


Golfers need high power output. Along with that, they need strength, mobility, and a minor aerobic capacity to walk in-between shots.


Growing these qualities in training DOES NOT require us to maximally fatigue ourselves, like most CrossFit workouts call for.


In fact, golfers should be completing training sets in a relatively LOW FATIGUE state in order to maximize intensity, intent, and the load they are moving.


When you are doing 50 squats for time (CrossFit style workout), loading is less important than the fatigue accumulating, aerobic capacity you maintain and speed you are completing the reps at.


But if we do 4x6 squats with 3 minutes of rest in between sets, we can now push the loading and maximize our INTENT each set. This will promote positive adaptations for the sport of golf such as strength and anaerobic capacity.


Check out the example workouts below - fairly similar exercises and volume - one good and one bad.


Good Training Example:

1a.) Back Squats, 4x6 @ 85%

1b.) Squat Jumps, 4x3

1c.) 3 minute rest


2a.) Push press, 4x6 @80%

2b.) Dumbbell Rows, 4x6e

2c.) 3 minute rest


Bad Training Example (which I literally saw on Social Media from a golf CrossFit coach the other day):

4 rounds for time

- 8 Kettlebell Deadlifts

- 8 Kettlebell Lunges per side

- 8 Kettlebell Push Press

- 50 Yard Farmer Carry

- Rest 60 seconds


Lastly, a lack of multiplanar loading.


Most CrossFit exercises are sagittal plane in nature and solely loaded via gravity based tools like dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells.


Which, I'll note, ARE NOT inherently bad. We need these tools and the exercises that come with them in our training.


The issue arises when our training is ONLY made up of these exercises.


CrossFit exercise selection is often limited.


As rotationally driven athletes (and humans for that matter) we should be loading and moving through the transverse and frontal planes with exercises such as Pallof Rotations, Med Ball Throws/Slams, and Skater Jumps.

In Conclusion...


If your goal is to train for the sport of golf, or become your highest performing ATHLETE, there are probably better ways to train than CrossFit.


The point of this article is not to bash CrossFit, but instead provide my thoughts, opinions, and experiences with it.


There are many positive to CrossFit, and I know many coaches that are doing a GREAT job at their gyms.


If you enjoy it, don't stop!


But, in my experience, there are better ways to train and prepare your body - especially for the sport of golf.


Like SCRATCH ;).


.

.


Carter Schmitz

Founder and Head Coach - SCRATCHGolfTraining.com

CSCS, TPI


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!