Most people have seen the thoroughbred physiques of the modern day footballers, rugby players or MMA fighters. The strong, defined and functional physiques are in part due to their sport, but also attributed to the endless hours of training, dieting and rest that are needed to stay at their best! Love him or loathe him, you only have to look at Christiano Ronaldo’s bodybuilder like back, fitness model abs, and powerlifter like quads to see that he is a sporting specimen. Ronaldo trains for 2-3 hours a day out on the training ground doing phase play, sport specific skill work, speed, agility and quickness (SAQ) drills, as well as plyometric/explosive exercises to improve power and muscular endurance.
These exercises will help to develop a lean, defined physique, but it’s the diet (of course) and gym time that slaps on the meat! Footballers focus on power to weight ratio meaning lower body compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and knee extension/flexion are the recipe for most. The glutes (backside) are integral to linear sprinting power (just look at an average sprinters glutes), whilst strong quads, calves and core muscles are needed for the sharp lateral movements necessary when beating a player one on one. The vastus medialis aka the teardrop muscle (big quad muscle that inserts on the inside of the leg, just by the knee cap) is key to striking a ball and stabilising the knee, limiting the classic cruciate tears seen in some unfortunate players.
Take Sonny Bill Williams’ monstrous shoulders and arms which have been strengthened and sculpted specifically to endure the heavy impacts associated with rugby! Despite rugby being his primary profession and focus, Sonny utilises those huge shoulders, long powerful arms and 108kg frame to pummel people in the boxing ring too! He is currently the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association (NZPBA) Heavyweight Champion…not to mention an All Black too!
The above athletes have one thing in common; they both participate in high intensity sports that obviously require strength, speed and explosive power. Now consider the golfing legend that is Tiger Woods’….think of golfers of old and you would be forgiven for conjuring images of some (not all) poorly defined, slightly slender or overweight men in their early 40’s. However, a new breed have come to the fore (no pun intended) in the last decade, including the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory Mcilroy, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, all of which have physiques that start from the core outwards. The modern golfer needs to be able to maximise power during the transition from backswing to ball connection…because if he/she doesn't, then their competitors will! The shoulder strength, anterior abdominals (outer abs), internal oblique and transverse abdominis (inner/core abs), and hip flexor muscles have become primary muscle groups in optimising driving distance, endurance and accuracy (due to improvements in core stability).
Evolution has seen the golf pro turn into the muscular, proportioned athletes they are today.
Tiger Woods’ weight-training program is designed for balance, control and endurance. Exercises include dynamic movements such as:
Swiss Ball Stability
These dynamic, core targeted exercises should also be accompanied by plyometric (explosive) exercises that recruit the fast twitch fibres needed for power and swing speed. Alongside this they must also incorporate maximal strength exercises……..similar (if not the same) to the compound movements performed by Ronaldo and Sonny Bill Williams, now who’d have thought that for a golfer!?
The result is a muscular, lean, functionally strong athlete!