Strength Training vs. Stretching - What's Better for Golf?

Are you not improving your flexibility, despite stretching often?

Some research suggests that strength training is more effective than stretching for improving flexibility! However, it’s more complicated than that. Ultimately, after doing my own research, I landed on a systematic review titled, “Strength Training verses Stretching for Improving Range of Motion.” The review included 11 studies all on the topic of strength training vs. stretching as it relates to joint range of motion. 

The paper concluded that both Strength Training and Stretching were equally effective in improving range of motion.

The key thing to point out is that the strength training performed in the studies was through a full range of motion. With this in mind, using free weights (dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, etc.) will be more effective than using machines. I’ve touched on this subject before in one of our previous blog posts, Exercise Tweaks for Golfers.

So, what does this mean for you?

Based on my experience, stretching alone doesn’t create a flexible golfer. It certainly helps, but in my experience, stretching without strength training doesn’t get the job done. If you’re someone who stretches a lot, but doesn’t strength train, I suggest you adjust. Since evidence suggests that strength training could be just as effective as stretching for increasing range of motion, consider adding strength training to your routine.

I wouldn’t recommend completely eliminating stretching, but if you’re pressed for time, simply decrease the amount of time you’re stretching and at the very least, add a small does of strength training. Here are two examples of full range of motion strength exercises that are great for the majority of golfers:

Picture of Jason Rivkin

Jason Rivkin

Golf Fitness Coach
FitGolf Performance Centers of the Delaware Valley
Questions? Email me at [email protected]

If you try these exercises and you find them to be too challenging or uncomfortable, do not continue, until you have consulted with your physician.  All exercises for golf should be customized to your needs after a proper evaluation.

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