Bodyweight training is highly effective for building a more powerful golf swing. Bodyweight training is perfect for golf. Bodyweight training can be done just about anywhere.
Some experts would argue that it’s better than free weights.
Bodyweight exercises are great for increasing your range of motion and improving overall athleticism. In addition, bodyweight exercises don’t beat up your joints.
However, some folks argue that bodyweight training isn’t as effective as lifting free weights when it comes to muscle building. Bodyweight training gets knocked because it is associated with high reps, endurance, and Navy SEALS.
I disagree… take a look at the upper body development of male gymnasts. Pretty buff aren’t they?
Better yet, these gymnasts are explosive, flexible, and incredibly STRONG. All traits we WANT when it comes to building our golf body.
What can we learn from gymnasts that we can apply to golf?
Essentially that most people use bodyweight training improperly. Most people don’t know how or utilize bodyweight progressions.
They just do basic variations of pushups or inverted rows and then think, “this is too easy!”
… and they are right. Just doing those two exercises and not upping the challenge doesn’t provide enough overload to build muscles.
But what if you could do a one arm inverted row?
… one arm pushup?
… Handstand pushups?
… 20 pullups straight?
Once you get to those, you throw a weight vest on and do pushups, pullups, inverted rows, and even handstand pushups.
Once you toss in the weight vest, it’s technically not ‘bodyweight’ training, but you get the idea here.
Bodyweight + Resistance = Muscles
They idea is to keep upping the bar, making things more challenging, beating our personal records, and moving forward in our goal for a golf body.
Stay the Course
Some of the best coaches would argue that a pullup is better for becoming stronger than a pulldown on a cable machine. So why wouldn’t other bodyweight exercises be more effective than their counterparts?
… glute ham raises on a stability ball more effective than leg curls?
… bodysaw more effective than stiff arm pulldowns?
… stability ball or ab wheel rollouts more effective than an ab machine?
… one-leg pistol squat more effective than a dumbbell squat?
If you have never done the ab wheel, give it a shot, it blows the hell out of any ab machine.
The lack of knowledge surrounding progressive bodyweight training is preventing people from getting the proper results.
However, just cranking rep after rep, won’t do much at all to make you stronger. At some point, you will reach a peak…
You can use bodyweight exercises to build muscle fast, but only if you re progressing to more difficult variations.
How do you build size and strength?
Load + Tension = Strength = Muscle
Rep ranges need to be in the 6-12 range for your upper body. Lower body we shoot for 8-20 reps. Working up to a one-leg pistol squat would give you some seriously strong legs.
After all, a powerful leg drive is one key to power… the one-leg pistol is the big daddy of the bodyweight squat world. Work up to that, you are going to have some serious power in your swing.
However, bodyweight training isn’t the only weapon we use. The best cocktail is a mix of weights, bodyweight training, and range-of-motion/stretching.
Free weights allow us to track our progress with hard numbers. Bodyweight training gives us a ton of other benefits like increased range of motion and healthy joints. Stretching allows us to increase the length of our swing arc and also helps relieve tension and stress.
Put them all together for a nice cocktail that creates the ultimate golf body.
Christian Henning, NASM-CPT, gfs, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer