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Golf

Building Power And Muscle In The Gym Has Helped Lexi Thompson Develop Subtle Strengths

The RSNG team

Lexi Thompson’s workout videos have become the stuff of legend across social media. They have inspired golfers everywhere to build power and punch, in order to boost clubhead speed and yardage. The result of her efforts has been an average driving distance of 280 yards last season.

In the face of a constant evolution in new rivals, the 27-year-old Florida native has stepped up her pursuit of competitive advantage in the gym, adding considerably more power to a game that already possessed aggression and energy. Here, she tells RSNG how…

The golfing old-school can sometimes seem dismissive of attempts to build speed and power, away from the course, but Lexi Thompson was an early champion of lifting weights to hit the ball harder.

“It makes perfect sense to me, and I get a thrill out of hitting the ball hard,” she says. “It’s a good feeling. If you don’t enjoy that feeling, you shouldn’t be playing golf!”

In fact, it’s a surprise to see that Thompson is only in fifth position in terms of yardage, though her ability to challenge at every tournament doesn’t rely solely on distance and power. “It’s all for nothing unless you can combine it with aim and direction, and that’s where the breakdown of power and precision really comes for me.

“It’s why when I’m building strength and muscle at the gym one day, I will be looking to strengthen my core on another. You need everything flowing in the same direction or you’re just going to explode power, without utilizing what I call ‘subtle strengthening’ elements, at the same time.”

“It makes perfect sense that you are only as strong as your weakest part, so that’s why I always focus on a total-body workout as much as I can”

Thompson’s workouts hit the glutes (as you would expect) but also work on wrist strength, neck muscle protection, pelvic flexibility, and even the need to protect ankles and the achilles tendon.

“I’ve had many injuries over the years and a lot of the time they will occur at my weakest part, or perhaps part of my body that I’ve neglected to put through a proper routine for a few days.

“It makes perfect sense that you are only as strong as your weakest part, so that’s why I always focus on a total-body workout as much as I can,” she says.

That dedication to ensuring all elements are covered is reflected in the fact Thompson also sticks firmly to a diet plan that complements everything she does in the gym, or on the fairway.

The golfer (whose career earnings now top $10million) says she works out to artists as diverse as Pitbull and Metallica, and starts most sessions with squats using a kettlebell.

“Most of my workouts look at a main principle of pushing and maximizing glute movement and tension, as so much of what we do pushes through that area.”

Next, she performs 10 single-leg deadlifts per side. “It’s all about good posture, keeping your core tight and really focusing on your balance.” What follows is hip rotation, using a band – again the focus is on balance and centring.

“Every workout will always finish with a long warm down – it gets my body back into a point of rest and flattens the curve ahead of whatever my next job is”

“Every workout will always finish with a long warm down. For me this is two-fold. Firstly, it gets my body back into a point of rest; and secondly, it lets me wind down mentally and flattens the curve ahead of whatever my next job is for the day.

“I need a really clear definition between golf and the rest of my life, so I find it really helpful to move into one mindset and consciously move out of it. The two should never cross over,” she says.

This separation has helped Thompson to become a golfer able to put mental wobbles to one side. An often outspoken figure across social media, her strength and energy isn’t just reserved for the gym.

“I don’t think any of us want, or would invite, conflict or negative energy into our lives, but what I would say is having something to rally against can certainly be useful when doing a workout routine!” she says.

“Having that element that makes you grip harder, or push for longer, is definitely a useful thing, but you need to know and be able to control at what point that switches off.

“If you take that sort of negative energy onto a course then you are a loose entity and it can lead to wild things happening, and not all good!” This has led Thompson to becoming more able to compartmentalize.

“I think, over time, I’ve gotten a lot better at moving the media spotlight to one side. My time now as a professional golfer is a thing in its own right, as are the other things that I do.

“I came to realize I could only sustain my career if I learned how to properly separate the two,” she adds.

Thompson’s other challenge is to improve her putting game to the same level as playing off the tee. “What I love about golf is the power and the subtlety and the way they conflict with each other within one or two shots. I am always working to perfect both and feel I am getting closer…”

WHAT NEXT? Ever wondered how Nelly Korda retains her pin-sharp focus under pressure? Find out in the RSNG interview…

Photos: Shutterstock/ Rex