Some of the exercises in the Golf Loopy Train like a Champion System, especially the golf-specific strength and endurance movements, require the use of weights of some form – usually dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls or resistance bands.
The amount of weight you should use depends on what the exercise is trying to achieve, and how proficient you are.
A good rule of thumb for your weight training is to use a weight that makes the movement challenging, but enables you to complete all of your repetitions (reps) with proper form.
If the last couple of reps aren’t hard, then the weight is too light.
If the speed or tempo of your reps drops off significantly during the set, or you can’t complete all of your reps, then the weight is too heavy.
Are Light Weights Best for Golf?
Many people think that golf athletes must use light weights with lots of stretching, but that’s just not true.
Stabilising strength and explosive power are key elements of a great golf swing, and mobility is more important than basic flexibility. See Will Physical Fitness Improve My Golf?
In order to benefit from a weight training exercise, you must choose a weight that is appropriate to your goals and your current strength level.
If the Golf Loopy Train like a Champion System programme workout says you should be completing 10 reps, then the 10th should be very difficult but you should be able to complete it with proper form. If you feel like you could do 20 reps, then you’re wasting your time!
After the first two or three weeks of training, you should be lifting weights that are heavy, but allow you to complete each movement with perfect form.
But Won’t Tired Muscles Affect My Golf Swing?
If you’ve been inactive for a while, then you’ll certainly feel some muscle soreness for a few days after you start working out. This is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and it’s caused by stressing your muscle tissues beyond their normal capacity (and “normal” is near zero if you’ve been inactive). DOMS usually lasts for about 3 days.
Even after you’ve been exercising for a while, some soreness after almost any vigorous session of exercise is normal.
For most amateur golfers, mild soreness won’t be too much of a problem. After a few weeks of regular training, the increases in your energy levels, strength and swing efficiency will far outweigh any problems caused by a little occasional soreness.
If, however, you regularly play competitive golf at a high level, you’ll be concerned about any possible impact on your performance come the start of a competition. For these golfers, the Golf Loopy Train like a Champion System includes an In Season Programme which will maintain your mobility, your muscle and joint function, and protect you from injury, without causing muscle fatigue.
If your coach has you trying to build your golf-specific strength by practising your swing with a weighted club, get a new coach!
Golf gadgets that promise to increase your swing strength should be treated with equal disdain.
A proper golf-specific fitness regimen should be based around simple, basic training that builds your total-body strength and stability. Good old-fashioned push-ups and squats are amongst the best strength exercises for golf.
More complex and innovative movements are valuable for injury prevention, and for improving your mobility, balance, fine muscle control and body-awareness.
Focus on Quality of Movement
You should try to challenge yourself with weight without sacrificing technique.
Don’t let your ego make you go for a heavier weight – men, especially, tend to start too heavy! Many women tend to go too light at first.
Make it your goal to improve the quality of your movement with every repetition. When you move better, you perform better, and you benefit more.
In the Golf Loopy Train like a Champion System programmes there are sections at the beginning of each workout dedicated to injury prevention and movement (balance, stability, mobility, and warming up sleepy areas of your body).
The goal with these movements is to simply activate a muscle that’s not functioning optimally. For instance, since many of us spend so much time sitting down and being inactive, it’s important to activate the glutes at the start of a training session.
The majority of these moves only use your bodyweight, but where weights are used to provide additional resistance, don’t worry about how much weight you lift.
If you’re properly activating the intended muscles, then you’re accomplishing the goal.
Learning New Exercises
An all-too-common mistake, when first learning a movement, is to use a weight that is too heavy and to cheat – using bad form to force the weight up and then drop it without control.
You should first strive for perfect technique, and only then progressively increase the resistance. When you try a movement for the first time, try the exercise with just your bodyweight first, and then err on the side of caution and choose a light weight.
Draw on your experience, you’re often likely to have performed a similar movement pattern before, so use that to give you an idea of how much weight to choose.
At first, simply focus on learning proper technique. Once you’ve honed the skill, it will be far easier to move more weight, and you’ll derive greater benefits as a result.
Over the course of a couple workouts, you’ll find the appropriate weight.
In the Golf Loopy Train like a Champion System programmes there is a section of each workout dedicated to building explosive power in your golf swing.
When you train for power, your goal is to move fast, in an explosive (plyometric) movement.
You should focus on using a moderate resistance and moving it as quickly as you can, while always maintaining control and proper form.
If you’re unable to perform a movement explosively then the weight is either too light or too heavy.
For explosive exercises, the end of the set shouldn’t necessarily feel harder. Your effort level should remain relatively high throughout the set.
Choosing the Right Size Medicine Ball
For most exercises, a medicine ball weighing 3-4% of your body weight will be appropriate – that’s about 2 to 3kg (4.4 to 6.6lbs) for most people. As you progress through the programme and the exercises get easier, either throw the ball harder or progress to a heavier ball.
Quality of movement is much more important than how heavy a ball you are using.
Effective strength training requires that you progressively increase the resistance over time. If you’ve been using the same weight for three months, then perhaps the first two weeks were beneficial, and 11 weeks were wasted.
In the Golf Loopy Train like a Champion System workouts, most of the exercises are performed for a fixed amount of time. In most cases, a guide will be given for how many reps you should expect to complete in proper form.
When you are performing a movement with fewer reps, increase the weight. When the reps increase, decrease the weight accordingly.
As your strength improves, you will feel like you could increase the reps above the guide we give, or the last couple of reps won’t be as difficult. At this point, increase the weight to make the movement more challenging and effective.
Make a small incremental change in the weight, and then adjust as needed until you have the right level of difficulty. Usually, a 10 to 20% increase will be sufficient.
Do not plan to fail – if a workout prescribes 10 reps, then choose a weight that will enable you to complete 11 reps with proper form, but only just.
When using very heavy weights, always use a spotter.
If you have any questions or comments about this or other articles on Golf Loopy, please send us an email.
You May Also Like…
There are a number of golf-specific strength exercises in the Golf Loopy Train like a Champion System.
Golf Anatomy and Kinesiology, a collection of articles describing the roles of the muscles involved in the golf swing.