“Dear The Golfing Doc. What is the best piece of equipment for developing more strength for golf? Thanks. John J., Seattle, WA.”
When it comes to what is the best piece of equipment for getting stronger for golf, there really isn’t one that is better than the other. I say this because it all depends on your body and what you are trying to achieve in the gym. This is very similar to someone asking you what is the best training aid to improve your swing. Well, it all depends on what you are trying to improve.
While you may be familiar with traditional pieces of gym equipment like the bench press, squat rack, leg press machine and crunch machine, these are not always the best things to use to improve your strength for golf. I know everyone wants to hit the ball farther but simply lifting weights like everyone else isn’t the trick. I think we have seen over the last several years that even professional golfers who begin to lift heavy weights and put on a lot of muscle actually play worse than before. Strengthening for golf is very specific.
One of our favorite equipment to use at GOLFLETICA is the kettlebell. If you are not familiar with this, it is a lead or cast-iron weight shaped like a cannon-ball. The shape is always the same but the size of the ball can vary regardless of the total weight. For example, a 5 pound and 25 pound kettlebell may look exactly the same but then you hurt your back when you realize one is a lot heavier than the other. The same goes for their handle as well. Some are thin and narrow while some are thicker and uniform regardless of the weight to the kettlebell. We like to the use the ones that have the same handle and cannon-ball size regardless of weight.
One reason why we recommend using kettlebells for golf strengthening and conditioning is that they are great for developing dynamic and ballistic power. This is what you need as a golfer to create explosive, rotational power. There are basic exercises that implement the kettlebell such as a squat or lunge. I would suggest you work with a qualified trainer to help you develop and learn how to use this type of equipment correctly. Although a kettlebell is a great tool for developing dynamic power, it is also just as dangerous and capable of creating an injury if used incorrectly.
Before you rush out to the stores and buy a kettlebell, make sure you are in reasonable shape to try this type of training. You should have already been doing some strengthening exercises that have been working on your stability and mobility. Whether you have been doing this through other equipment such as resistance bands, body-weight suspension systems, or even just plyometric exercises, it is highly advisable you build up your strength to kettlebell-type training.
Here are some things to look for when purchasing a kettlebell for your personal gym. First of all, you don’t need to buy several of them in various weights. Normally, I would say something between 15 to 25 pounds is more than enough. I would then suggest getting a pair. This will allow you to do a wider variety of exercises versus just having one. If you want to test one out in the store, hold it with both hands between your legs and squat 20 times. If you can do that and feel a good burn in the muscles, then that’s probably enough weight for you.
Here is Shawn demonstrating some great exercises using the kettlebell. These have all been chosen to help your golf swing. If you experience any pain or unusual discomfort while performing any of these exercises, stop immediately and consult your physician. If kettlebell training is something you enjoy, search your area for a certified kettlebell trainer. For more great kettlebell exercises, visit Shawn’s blog at www.shawnfarmersese.com.