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What We Learned From Golfers

When you think about some sports and how they relate to strength training you might think of pro football players or maybe pro baseball players. When you read about a scandal involving steroids, growth hormone or other performance drugs those athletes might come to mind. People generally agree that being stronger in those sports is an advantage. But what about an almost purely finesse sport like golf? Does strength matter much?

I wanted to know so we did our own little test. Whenever we test a bunch of people we always learn more than we bargained for. It’s been one of my favorite things to do over the years. A few years ago we went to a private gold club in Idaho and asked for volunteers to do an early version of the Static Contraction workout that used slightly lighter weights and slightly longer hold times. The trainees were middle aged experienced golfers; four men and four women averaging 47 years of age. We took them to a driving range and measured how far they could hit two dozen balls. Then we trained them for six weeks and went back to the driving range to measure again.

Some of the things we learned included:

  • after just 7 workouts the men increased their overall strength 73%
  • the women increased their overall strength 95% (Yes, women with less testosterone made greater gains.)
  • individual muscle groups broke down as follows:
  • Chest strength +58%
  • Shoulder strength +57%
  • Quadriceps strength +86%
  • Hamstring strength +78%
  • Abdominal strength 170%
  • Low Back strength +58%
  • Triceps strength +133%
  • Biceps strength +72%
  • Forearm (flexors) +87%
  • Forearm (extensors) +93%
  • Overall Average Strength Gain +84%
  • All of their  drives improved – from a few yards to up to 30 yards in distance
  • They also reported having more energy and stamina and even an improved short game

All of the above was done with an average of 6.6 workouts spread over six weeks. The total exercise they did in all that time was 14.5 minutes of actual lifting. That’s less than what most personal trainers would have you do in one workout! Yet, look again at those strength increases. That’s what training efficiency is about. And the older you are the more you care (or should care) about the reduced grinding and punishment to your body from longer, more frequent workouts.

Odds are you conventional workout isn’t give you strength gains like the ones above but is creating more wear and tear on your body. So why do it if there is an alternative?

Here are some of the comments from the golfers on this study:

“I am definitely hitting the ball a lot further since doing the workouts – and hitting it farther more consistently. Also during the time I was in the study my handicap went from a 14, which I was carrying pretty much all the year before, to a low this year of 9.7.”

“I like the fact that I get the strength without getting bulked up, so that my muscles are able to stay relaxed through my swing. My consistency is also much better.”

“After six weeks doing the program my drives are much stronger.”

“This has really improved my power – even in my fairway irons. I’ve noticed a lot of shape and fitness benefits as well. I have way more energy since starting this program.”

”I’m golfing much better. I played in a tournament recently and am hitting the ball really far now. I love the fact that this program is so lifestyle-friendly. I have time commitments, as most men and women do, and to have a program that is this effective that only takes two minutes a week to perform is a godsend. This is optimum!”

“My drives, particularly my 5-wood off the fairway, improved tremendously as a result of this program. I was more balanced and it didn’t seem to take near the effort for me to hit that ball properly and to hit it a lot further. I won a long ball championship recently, hitting the ball farther than all the other women who participated in the tournament.”

“I think everybody ought to try this program. And the fact that it helped me tremendously proves that you don’t have to be an advanced athlete or in really good shape to pick up on the program and get really good results.”  

Golf is a sport that is viewed as almost 100% finesse rather than relying on power or strength. Yet, these very experienced golfers who did not improve their technique in any way over the six weeks were ALL able to improve their game with efficient, effective static contraction strength training. A stronger golfer is a better golfer.

You can buy the improved version of the workout these golfers used. It’s dirt cheap and it’s available right now from Amazon. If you golf you should give this a try. If you know a golfer please tell him or her about this.

The Long Drive Workouthttp://www.amazon.com/The-Long-Drive-Workout-ebook/dp/B007YATFWS/

Also available at Barnes & Noble.

What Can A Tiny Amount of Exercise Do?

A few years ago we conducted a static contraction training study using eight middle-aged golfers. We wanted to determine how little exercise could not only result in increased strength but also how it would transfer to athletic performance. We chose golf because swinging a club uses a very exaggerated range of motion and our abbreviated Static Contraction workout used no range of motion. That right, no movement exercise to see if it would improve a full-range sport like golf.

The subjects were given a workout that consisted of six exercises performed on one day and six different exercises done on a different workout day. Each exercise involved a 10 to 20-second static hold. A weight was lifted into position (sometimes with assistance) and then held statically without locking out. This was back in the days when we still thought a person needed to hold the weight 10 to 20 seconds. Now we know that is not only not necessary, it also means using a much lighter weight.

So these workouts had an actual exercise duration of only 60 to 120 seconds. Over a six-week period these subjects performed between 4 and 9 workouts, averaging 6.6 workouts in the six-week period. That is as little as one minute of actual exercise about once per week for six weeks.

So what happened?

Their Results

Measurements of their strength in twelve muscle groups were compared for a before and after calculation of improvement. The results of their fourteen minutes of exercise over six weeks were as follows:

Chest             +58%
Lats              +60%
Shoulders         +57%
Quads             +86%
Hams            +78%
Abs               +170%
Lower Back    +58%
Calf               +51%
Triceps           +133%
Biceps             +72%
Forearm Flexors    +87%
Forearm Extensors +93%

OVERALL         +84% after 14 min of exercise spread over 6 weeks

Compare the above results with a conventional training protocol. Most people do at least two exercises per muscle group, perform three sets and perhaps 12 or 15 reps per set. Allowing just five seconds per rep this makes for at least 36 minutes of exercise per workout. This is usually done three times per week. So, in six weeks a conventional program would involve 648 minutes of exercise. That’s 42 times more work than the subjects on our study! But are conventional results 42 times better? How could they be? Look at those improvement numbers again. When was the last time you had 6 weeks even equal to that, never mind surpassing it?

Performance Improvement

Remember, these golfers were exercising in a way that did not involve stretching or moving the weight over a full range of motion. So how did this affect a full range of motion activity like a golf drive?

Every one of them showed an improvement. The increase in drive distance varied from 5 to 31 yards! Keep in mind that these subjects had been golfing for up to forty years and had handicaps as low as eleven. So getting any improvement in golfers who already play at this level is impressive. Getting it with 14 minutes of exercise spread over six weeks is truly revolutionary.

The fact is every sport – even a finesse sport like golf – is improved by an increase in strength. Muscles are responsible for all movement in the body and stronger muscles will deliver more power to every aspect of movement, irrespective of its range of motion.

Since this study we’ve gone on to improve static contraction training. Further research showed that static hold times could be reduced to even less than what the golfers used. Workouts can be spaced farther apart as a trainee gets stronger. I work with advanced trainees who train once every six weeks, yet they gain in strength on every exercise each time they work out. The weights they hoist are enormous.

We believe the time is coming when most people will have a better understanding of the role of proper, efficient strength training methods and frequency. For the person who wants maximum results with minimum time invested, an ultra-brief but ultra-intense workout will be performed about as often as they get a haircut. Anything more is just lifting weights as a busy-work hobby.

Static Contraction Sustainable Workouts