17 Aug 2021

“Fore!”: Hitting it long with golf-specific resistance training

Dr. James L. Nuzzo
Head of Exercise Science Research at Vitruvian
Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
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The best way to improve one’s golf game is to play golf. However, certain aspects of one’s game such as driving distance from the tee might by further improved by increased muscle strength from resistance training. A recent review published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined all existing studies that have tested if resistance training improves golf clubhead speed and hitting distance. 

The review summarized results from 20 studies. Thirteen of the 20 studies incorporated non-golf-specific resistance training. Non-golf-specific resistance training included traditional resistance exercises such as the squat and bench press. One of the 20 studies incorporated golf-specific resistance training. Golf-specific resistance training included swinging weighted golf clubs or making swinging movements against others forms of external resistance. Seven of the 20 studies included a combination of golf-specific and non-golf-specific resistance training. The duration of the training programs ranged from 8 to 18 weeks. 

The main finding from the review was that resistance improves clubhead speed and hitting distance. However, not all types of resistance training were equally effective at improving these outcomes. Non-golf-specific resistance training improved clubhead speed and hitting distance by 1.6% and 4.8%, respectively, whereas the combination of non-golf-specific resistance training with golf-specific resistance training improved clubhead speed and hitting distance by 4.1% and 5.2%, respectively. Moreover, the study that incorporated 8 weeks of only golf-specific resistance training found improvements in clubhead speed and hitting distance of 15.9% and 7.1%, respectively. 

The results from the review confirm the idea of training specificity. Resistance training exercises that most closely mimic the golf swing are the most effective at improving clubhead speed and hitting distances. Consequently, the researchers suggested the best way to improve clubhead speed and hitting distance through resistance training is to perform multiple sets of golf-specific resistance exercises at high velocities for 5 to 15 repetitions each set. 


One movement component of the golf swing is trunk rotation. Resisted trunk rotation exercises can be performed on your Vitruvian device using the following steps:

1) attach the handles to the device to your V-Form or Trainer+

2) select the “single arm rotation” exercise

3) select “pump” mode

4) select a relatively light resistance that can be moved at high velocity

5) set the number of repetitions to 5 to 15

6) set your movement range of motion in the first 3 calibration repetitions

7) for each repetition, initiate movement at the trunk and hips rather than the arm, rotating at a high velocity 

8) after the set is complete, switch to the other side and repeat the above steps

9) complete 3 sets of the exercise 

10) try some non-golf-specific exercises such as the “squat” and “suitcase deadlift” 


Uthoff A, et al. Effects of resistance training methods on golf clubhead speed and hitting distance: a systematic reviewJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2021. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000004085.

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