Articles Men Men's Fitness Men's Health

Training Secrets That Keep Jon Rahm a Powerhouse on the PGA Tour

21 total views

Jon Rahm is a big man on the PGA Tour. Not only does he tower over his competition in the rankings, but at 6’2” he stands above most of them at the tee, too. The sheer size of the Spanish pro is intimidating, and also misleading to outsiders who think his mass is some indication of lethargy. Despite being blessed with natural ability, Rahm actually credits long sessions in the gym moving serious weight and doing coordination drills for helping him rise above the rest of the field. We caught up with Rahm about his workouts, his favorite gym gear, and his enduring drive.

Men’s Journal: How did you approach training at the outset of your pro golf career?

Jon Rahm: Since playing in college, I’ve really evolved the way I train, partly because there were a lot of limitations from the NCAA when I was in college. Every moment of preparation was spent hitting balls instead of in the gym. I do believe that the amount of time expected for you to practice for professional golf is likely greater than a lot of other sports. There are so many different elements and environments to be prepared for. But because of that, my workouts were fairly neglected and I didn’t really grow in that area until I met a few people from Titleist Performance Institute (TPI).

John Rahm hits out of a sand trap.
Courtesy image

Tell us about the people who helped you through that journey?

I met my trainer Spencer Tatum through TPI, which was co-founded by my swing coach Dave Phillips and Greg Rose back in the day. Getting to work with someone from that system was great because he was well-versed in what I needed for my particular swing, in addition to what exercises benefit golfers in general. It was also great because they had a line of communication between them, so they could adjust their individual work with me depending on each other’s feedback.

There’s been a significant jump in both my power and ball speed over the last few years. When I first started, I had almost zero real connection or coordination between the different sections of my body beyond just the swing. Since then, we’ve worked a lot on challenging my coordination in many different ways. That’s led to even more coordination in the swing and, because of that, a much better swing.

Let us be a fly on the wall of your gym. What do these workouts look like?

I’ve come so far with the training. The warmups I do now used to be full workouts for me. In the gym, we focus a lot on compound movements and lifts. There are no isolated movements or exercises. If I’m doing deadlifts, then we’re doing something bodyweight-related or explosive immediately after. We want to keep asymmetry in our work, both in body and energy. That asymmetry is so important in a golf swing.

Much of what we do is sequence related. The Exxentric kBox3 [a platform that uses a flywheel mechanism for resistance] has been crucial in helping me use certain parts of my body better. We use every single attachment there is during the lifts. The equipment helps make sure the force is equal both ways, which is great for the swing and keeping good posture. I’m also accelerating and decelerating at the same speed. I carry any stress that I have from the week or the day in my shoulders, so we want my workouts to help with alleviating that, which means working out the back a lot. The spine takes a lot of punishment with all of the twisting that we’re doing in the swing.

Any favorite workout gear?

I like to be comfortable in my life—and that goes double when I’m in the gym. I’m not the kind of guy you’ll be seeing decked out in skin-tight pieces. I want my fit to be loose and easy to move around in. Most of the time, I start my workout in a hoodie. I like the Cloud Hoodie and Cloud Pant 2.0 from TravisMathew. I’ll wear the hoodie through my warmup, which helps me loosen up faster and take it off before the real workout begins. The gym where I go has a turf area that we utilize a lot, and the pants are good to protect my knees during bodyweight exercises.

Do you adapt your training to different courses on the tour?

Because of how crazy the schedule is on the PGA Tour, there isn’t really time to prepare for any course in particular. If we’re getting any time off, it isn’t more than a week or two. I would say that the Torrey Pines course on the Tour has been the most challenging in the past, especially when they put in new grass. Because of the way the grounds are layered, you need a lot of power to get through it—and everyone leaves with their wrists hurting. There are definitely periods where I’m training more, like leading up to a driver test. I want to be showing up to those events with my full capability.

What kind of wear and tear do you usually feel on your body after a big tournament weekend?

The way I feel after playing a tournament depends on the course. I’m usually not feeling any pain after a relatively flat golf course because of all the work we put in before. Still, it’s very easy for your hips to feel tired, hip flexors particularly, with the amount of walking we’re doing. If we’re walking through a lot of tough terrain, I might start to get sore shins and calves.

The issue has gotten a lot better since I started paying attention to my footwear. One of the biggest things I did for my foot health was work with Cuater from TravisMatthew on configuring a shoe that’s optimized for my foot. The training I’ve done for my legs has benefited my swings, but also my stamina for those long walks on the grass. If I play a tournament that weekend and come back home on a Sunday, then we’ll do a mobility session the next day. Of course, that depends on how I’m feeling, but there’s a lot of range of motion exercises. The next day, I’ll get back into the heavy lifts.

John Rahm prepares to tee off.
Courtesy image

Do you have a recovery routine that helps you bounce back?

One of the first things I do after getting back from the course is put my feet in toe separators. From there, I’ll bring my body against the wall with my feet up in the air and my back on the ground in an “L” shape. That’s a great way to promote blood flow and it relaxes me. The next phase is letting my feet fall down off to the sides and hit the hip flexors. I’ll also do the cobra stretch, which is great for my hip flexors—30 seconds on and off.

My whole stretching routine takes about 30 minutes, which is easy to do. I can watch a show or listen to something, so I’m entertaining myself and giving my mind a break as well. If I’m doing a tournament, I’ll go see the physio for a full-body massage. In addition to my trainer, my wife is great at keeping me accountable. There are days when I feel tired or lazy, and having someone who’s helping move you forward is great. She knows if I haven’t done my stretches and post-tournament routine.

Aside from feeling better in general, do you see real results on the course after you’ve been training hard?

This last week was a great example of finding success after putting the work in. During the winter months, especially the holidays, it’s easy to fall off with training. I never like to taper off too much, and I especially didn’t this year. Over the holidays, I was working out every day with my cousin back in Spain—and we have two egos you don’t want to put together. We enjoy challenging each other. He has the stronger upper body and I have a stronger lower body, which means we get to get the better of each other. It’s also the best case scenario, as far as improving on our weaknesses. So even if I’m not golfing every day, I want to be working hard because it makes it a lot easier for me to come back in the weeks and months ahead. I came back this January feeling as strong as ever.

How have your views on nutrition changed over the years?

This is a constant learning process for me, and it’s a factor in my life I’ll always be putting time into. I wish I was someone who could eat anything I want and operate at my best, but I’m not. I’ve tested a lot of different ways of eating and foods in general. From the time I warm up to the end of the round is five to six hours, and I’m easily burning anywhere from 1,500 to 2,500 calories, so I have to make sure I have that energy to go through. Staying hydrated on the course, especially on those hot days, is imperative. I’m conscious about how much water I’m drinking, and I’ll add an electrolyte mix from Skratch Labs in there.

My wife helps me a lot when it comes to picking and preparing my meals at home, or more importantly on the course. When we eat bread, we try to do gluten-free because I just feel better with less inflammation. I’m a big fan of sandwiches, so that’s what I’m bringing with me on the course. I’ll do a sandwich with gluten-free bread, turkey, cheese, lettuce, and mustard. I’ll have about three of those packed to eat over the course of the day. I’ll also have a banana in the pack as a pick-me-up.

John Rahm on the golf course
Courtesy image

A lot of players will eat nothing for eight holes, then do a big peanut butter sandwich. I don’t want to feel too weighed down when I’m swinging. I know that if I ate something like that I’d feel lethargic for a full hole before I got the energy out of it. I’ve learned that the hard way. It’s better for me to do small bites here and there. I have trail mix on the course with me with dried fruit like pineapple, mango, raisins, and nuts like pistachios and almonds. I like being able to grab a little bit of that between holes to keep energy up.

Your performances have been so great that they’ve put you in PGA Tour 2K23. How does that feel?

I’m ashamed to say I haven’t been able to play the game yet. I have it, sitting right next to my Xbox, but sadly I haven’t been able to turn that on since we had kids. When the kids go down around seven at night, the last thing I’m thinking about is turning on the computer. I’ve been traveling around with the Nintendo Switch, which is a lot easier for me to justify, as I can do it on the road. I’ve really been enjoying Zelda: Breathe of the Wild, which is such a complicated game.

At this point, what do you feel you have left to accomplish in the sport?

There’s always something to chase. I like the process of setting new goals. I sit down with a mental coach at the start of every year, not just for golf but for every aspect of my life. Being able to win tournaments is always going to be a big driving force for me personally. I want to be winning Majors and be number one in the world. That’s never going to change.

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!

Share this Post