Ahh leg training… many a hard, painful session has been spent training legs. In my opinion your legs and glutes are the engine of your golf swing, the stronger and more powerful your legs are, the more explosive speed you can generate and generate it in a controlled manner.
I like to think of my legs as literally an engine, if you have relatively weak legs, let’s say a 1.2 litre engine, how do you expect to generate a huge amount of speed? That’s where golf specific training comes in, if you build those 1.2 litre legs up to some strong 3.5 litre V8’s then you are looking at some serious speed in your golf swing!
Equally, if you have a fast swing but don’t have stability in your legs then you have a WILD swing! Your legs are your only connection with the ground and they are the base of your swing, make it a stable one.
Here are 4 of my favourite exercises for strong powerful legs, they have helped me and my golf massively.
Some of you will be screaming “obviously!” But I can’t stress enough how good squats are for not only your legs but your core and posterior chain too! A barbell or any free-weight squat (like a goblet squat with a kettle bell or dumbbell) will build huge amounts of strength and will also help to strengthen the small stabilising muscles all throughout the legs, these are the ones that are usually missed when using machines as they are fixed in the plane of movement, a free-weight back squat is literally all on you and your body has to keep everything balanced. Another great benefit of the squat for golf is that it trains a good movement for the start of the down swing, so many powerful golfers have a slight ‘squat’ at the transition, Tiger and Rory for example. Now I’m not saying you should actively try to do this but the movement pattern of squats alone has helped me to keep my hips back in the downswing as I had a tendency to early extend and pull my butt in towards the ball. Give squats a go, even if you start with no weight at all to get the form down, you won’t regret it! I usually like to train the squat in a moderate rep range to get a good mix of strength and hypertrophy, around 5 – 8 reps for 3 – 5 sets.
Now, I have mentioned this in the Back training post in this same series, you can check that out here. And for good reason, the deadlift is one hell of an exercise! It will build total body strength, and it gets you really using the ground to generate power, as you literally have to lift from a dead stop. It targets mainly the hamstrings back and glutes. When performing the deadlift, always make sure to learn decent form before adding too much weight, it is one of the safer exercises in terms of going to heavy however, if it’s too heavy it’s not moving off the floor! You can perform variations on the deadlift, one of my favourites to bring a bit more hamstring into it is the stiff leg deadlift, where you perform a deadlift with a lighter weight, set up with a minimal bend in your knees and keep it the same angle throughout the whole movement so you aren’t using any ‘push’ from your quads. The deadlift is a movement I like to train heavy and rarely go above 5 reps but be warned that it is a hard lift to recover from so don’t push too hard close to playing an important round of golf or you may regret it!
3. Dumbbell Lunges
Dumbbell lunges are my go-to exercise when I want to build stability, they are exceptional for it. If you have never performed them before then you will know exactly what I mean when you do! Dumbbell lunges are great for building solid legs, they are a nice mix of quad, hamstring and glutes and you get a good stimulation in the abs too! Sometimes I like to mix it up a bit and hold a kettlebell or dumbbell at my chest, this makes the exercise even more unstable, great for those small stabilising muscles. I like to hit these for a 3 – 4 sets of 12 – 15 and get a good pump and really fatigue the muscles.
4. Box Jumps
This is where the real explosiveness comes into play! One of my favourite plyometric exercises. Starting with a relatively low box and getting the sequencing correct, work your way up to a box you can comfortably jump 3 – 5 times per set, I like to perform at least 5 sets, then try to make incremental gains, small gains in this exercise relate to huge gains in explosive power! This is one of the best ways to train for power (strength / speed) and has a great carry over effect into golf, the best players in the world use the ground to really spring through the hitting area, creating huge amounts of speed in the process. This exercise will compliment the first 3 on this list really well, putting all that new strength and stability to good use.
There you have my 4 best exercises for supreme power inducing legs! you can perform all 4 in one workout or spread them out depending on how you like to train.
Check out my other posts here on great golf exercises, workouts and tips.
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