Jamie Greaves, Strength and Conditioning coach, is hear to talk about golf-specific training plans and exercises

Training specifically for golf doesn't need to be a daunting prospect as you can start your golf fitness journey at any age. Strength and Conditioning coach Jamie Greaves has helped us to bust common myths and helped us to rethink whether we need to be training for golf and whether we're training in the right way.

This time we delve a little deeper into the exercises that are top of Jamie's training list, how his programmes can be adapted for all ages and his go-to strength and conditioning exercise.

What do golf-specific training plans look like for golfers, does it vary depending on their age?

You’d be quite surprised. I can show you the training programme for my nearly 80-year-old client, and if you looked at some of the exercises he does, then looked at a female tour player that I work with who is in their mid-20s, you'd see a lot of similarities.

My goal with all the golfers I work with is to get them moving better, get them stronger, then get them more powerful and swinging faster.

They'll all do some degree of mobility work. Juniors will do very little, I call it more movement exploration, not necessarily trying to improve their range of motion, just give them fun tasks to try. With the senior golfers, I might spend a little bit more time on mobility, because obviously, they do tend to lose a little bit of flexibility.

But every golfer I train is squatting, deadlifting, pushing, pulling, and usually doing some kind of medicine ball work, whether that be med ball throws, or tosses or slams.

Most of them are doing some kind of jumps as well. Potentially, for some senior clients, I might not do jumps because the landing can produce quite a lot of stress. I would just do faster, up and down motions when they don't actually leave the ground, to elicit a similar benefit.

You certainly will see quite a lot of similarities. An example could be a young golfer doing a back squat whilst a senior golfer is doing a safety bar squat. It's sometimes the case that I will modify the exercises and the range of motion.

Junior Golf Fitness

Talking of juniors, my daughter is 10-years-old, is it recommended that they should be doing golf-specific strength and conditioning training?

I work with a lot of young golfers and I would say that it doesn’t need to be golf-specific at that stage, a lot of them play other sports as well. It doesn’t however mean that children should avoid strength and conditioning training. You definitely don’t need to be at least 16-years-old before you start training.

Weight training doesn’t stunt growth, it’s still talked about but it was disproved decades ago. It’s perfectly safe for juniors to be engaging in physical activity, it’s going to be highly beneficial to them.

The opportunity to develop speed happens when you’re a child. If I looked at my longest hitters now, they all have a common theme as when they were young, they went to the driving range, absolutely smashing a driver over and over again. When I train juniors, there's a speed component to it but it needs to be fun and it doesn't need to be too specific.

They don't need to be thinking about what do I do here to impact on my golf game, at 10 just get them moving better or exploring movement. You can introduce them to some strength training, not with heavy weights but it's a good chance to teach them some movements that in future years they will do with more load.  I would get them jumping, throwing, sprints and just general athletic motions that would improve their golf, that would improve their football, cricket, netball, whatever sport they play.

Is there a go-to exercise that all golfers should be doing?

I am a big fan of a trap bar deadlift. That's an exercise that nearly every golfer I train uses. Mainly because it enables you to lift a lot of weight in a very safe and efficient way.

I would get someone to do a deadlift motion to add strength to the lower body. Obviously, it will strengthen the posterior chain, the back and to produce force for the floor, they push into the floor to lift the weight up. This exercise enables a golfer to move better and you can lift more weight with a trap bar as opposed to a regular bar.

For the purpose of improving golf performance, you could actually almost argue the trap bar is more specific to golf than using a regular barbell. You're able to produce more force and it's safer and it's so easy to learn. You can get a junior that's never done it to be trap bar deadlifting in a decent way within a few minutes.

What other exercises do you do with your clients?

All the golfers I train do the main movement patterns. As I’ve already said, they squat, deadlift, push, pull, and they'll do some single leg or single arm work and quite a few of them do some carries as well. Every golfer does these five to six exercises and they do the variations in those exercises that suit them.

For example, some of them do back squat, some do front squats, some do safety bars and goblet (kettlebell), depending on how they move their experience level, where we're at in the current season, those kind of things. But I would say, probably upwards of 90% of my golfers have trap bar deadlifted because it's the one exercise that is right at the top of my list.

Read about how you can start your golf fitness journey here.

About Jamie Greaves

Jamie Greaves is a strength and conditioning coach and an avid golfer. He started playing golf at the age of 10 and played college golf in the USA, where he reached a +2 handicap. It was during his time in the USA that he discovered his love for fitness and how proper training can positively influence your golf game. He currently works with a wide range of clients from players on the main professional golf tours such as Meg Maclaren, England representatives and county squads, going right through to regular club golfers and beginners. Jamie believes that the great thing about golf fitness is that everyone, no matter age or ability, can benefit!

Find out more about how Jamie can help you and your golf here or drop him an email here