If you’re reading this, there’s a chance you’re an avid golfer. As much as we like to get on the course, are you putting enough stock into performance training in a gym setting? There are numerous aspects of performance training, which will help your golf game tremendously.
At Par Four Performance, we have created the Par Four Pillars of a Golf Training Program (clever, right?). These, in our opinion, are the core components that should be added to any training plan to maximize your golfing capabilities.
Energy System Development
This is an area of training that everybody reading could improve on. Golfers need to have control of their movement, and that is what we are talking about here. If you believe putting your leg on a bench and touching your toes is improving your mobility, we need to re-evaluate what mobility truly means.
Using gravity to assist you into a stretch is considered a passive stretch, and focuses on improving your flexibility. Flexibility is a component of mobility, but they are not the same thing.
The ability to actively move your body into the positions you need to get into is the true definition of mobility. As we mentioned above, flexibility is gravity-assisted, while mobility is gravity-resisted. This means that you’re trying to fight gravity to get from point A to point B by using voluntary muscular contractions.
An analogy we like to use is thinking of flexibility like a glass, and mobility like water used to fill that glass. The more flexibility you have, the bigger the glass is. Without something to drink, however, that glass is useless. As you gain more active control over your flexibility, it is like adding more water into the cup. Our goal is to have the biggest cup filled with as much water possible.
To paint a picture for you, if you can’t actively achieve 90-degrees of shoulder external rotation (ER), you will have a hard time getting your club into an ideal slot during the backswing. Even if you have 110-degrees of passive shoulder ER, if you only have active control of 70-degrees, you will fall short every time making your swing inconsistent while increasing your risk of injury. We should be aiming to close the threshold between your passive and active ranges of motion.
Stability is also a component of mobility because you need control to get into desired positions for golf and other sports. For us, stability training focuses primarily on training your body to prevent unwanted movements.
Training the feet, hips, spine, and shoulders to create stability becomes important to allow our body better control of movement. This enables us to create more force, allowing for improved body mechanics and distance on your shots.
If we use the shoulder as an example again, poor scapular stability can prevent your arms from getting where we need them during our golf swing. This again will create an inconsistency with your swing.
We may come off as the mobility guys, but strength is what we love most. Strength and mobility go hand-in-hand. Without one or the other, good luck owning your movement capacities or your golf swing.
Having good strength levels offers a multitude of benefits. Strength helps us produce more force, which is always good for adding more yardage from the tee box. It also helps us better absorb and distribute forces throughout our joints, which helps keep us resilient on the course allowing us to play pain-free rounds.
ENERGY SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT
This is another overlooked concept of almost every fitness program, especially in the golf world. We can consider golf a very powerful, dynamic sport living in the anaerobic world.
Our anaerobic system is one of the body’s energy systems that doesn’t require oxygen to create energy. It allows for short burst movements roughly ten seconds in length, which the duration of the golf swing fits within.
On the other end of the energy system spectrum is the aerobic system, where oxygen is required to create energy. Activities that fit into this would be anything that lasts over 3 minutes to complete. Think of going out for a run.
In order to have success through a full round of golf without becoming tired and inconsistent through the back 9, you need to have a healthy blend of these two energy systems. This is where proper energy system development can not only improve your fitness but your golf game as well.
These four pillars create the context for every performance-based program we develop. Training becomes an important component that helps us improve the way we move and feel on and off the course, as well as allow us to maintain our body’s health.