The 3-month training bootcamp that helped Cam Smith take his game up a notch

A three-month strength training bootcamp has helped Cameron Smith power through the 2021 season so far.

A three-month strength training bootcamp has helped Cameron Smith power through the 2021 season so far.

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Cam Smith’s game is firing on all cylinders of late — from winning the Zurich Classic with fellow Aussie Marc Leishman to shooting a 62 during the first round of the RBC Heritage, the young Australian is poised for great things this season.

And as with any elite athlete, Smith’s success didn’t happen overnight. He is reaping the rewards of the hard work he put in during the PGA Tour’s three-month shut down due to Covid-19 in 2020. 

While many players took that time to relax and get in a true offseason break that isn’t usually possible because of the Tour’s wraparound season, Smith and his trainer Nick Randall used that time to undertake what Randall calls “a very rare, uninterrupted three month block of strength training.”

In this three month span, Randall and Smith set out three goals: 

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1. Build muscle mass

2. Build strength

3. Increase power 

With these goals set up, Randall created a workout program to suit Smith’s needs. 

Month 1: Strength training to increase total body muscle

During the first 30 days of their time together, Randall focused Smith’s programming on increasing his muscle size. Normally, the pair wouldn’t go so hard in this regard because it tends to leave players tight, sore and with reduced clubhead speed as a result — not something you want for a Tour player.

For four weeks, Smith hit the gym three times a week, doing a battery of exercises that resulted in a total body workout. Here’s the actual breakdown of his programming: 

– 1x lower focus (legs, glutes, core)

– 1x push focus (chest, shoulders, triceps, core)

– 1x pull focus (back, biceps, core) 

Each of Smith’s workouts gradually increased in volume over this first four-week period. 

Month 2: Increasing lower body muscle 

Randall’s second month of training with Smith had a lower body focus, since the legs and core are crucial to a powerful golf swing. This time, however, Randall split Smith’s lower body workouts into two sessions and increased his training volume. During this month, Smith increased his workouts to four times per week and gradually increased the volume of sets and reps over this period. 

Here’s the breakdown of Smith’s lower body programming: 

– 2x lower body focus (1 quad-focused workout, 1 hamstring/glute focused workout)

– 1x push focus (chest shoulders, triceps, core)

– 1x pull focus (back, biceps, core)

Month 3: Power 

Once Randall and Smith got word that the Tour would resume play in June at the Colonial, increasing Smith’s power became the final focus of their three-month bootcamp. Dropping down to three workouts per week, Randall had Smith lowering the volume and increasing the intensity (weight and speed) of his main lifts. 

When working on increasing power, Randall explained “the idea is to get the body used to moving fast again, reduce muscle soreness and supplement with more mobility work to regain any lost range of motion.” 

Smith’s workouts during this final phase of his strength training looked like this:

– 1x lower body focus (legs, glutes, core)

– 1x upper body focus (chest, back, biceps, triceps, core)

– 1x combined focus (legs, glutes, shoulders, core)

The volume remained consistent across this month of training because the goal was for Smith to lift heavier to power up his swing. 

While you aren’t a Tour pro, you can learn a thing or two from Cam Smith’s strength training cycle. 

First of all, it’s okay for golfers to strength train, in fact it’s encouraged. Lifting weights, when done correctly, can help you build a bigger engine for your swing meaning more power off the tee.

Second, a good golf fitness program will take into account your goals on the course as well as provide a balanced approach. For example, Randall knew that working with Smith to build muscle would negatively affect his range of motion for a time, so he also made sure to incorporate mobility and recovery work.

And third, you don’t have to go it alone when it comes to your fitness. Seeking out the advice of a golf fitness expert will likely help you achieve your goals a lot faster and in a much safer way than trying to do it on your own. 

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