When people think of power development in a gym setting exercises such as box jumps, power snatches and cleans often spring to mind. Indeed you’ll find these exercises to be a staple in many athletic training programs and are doubtless great power builders. However these the best tools for the job of getting more power out of a golfers swing?
Power is plane specific
In recent years research has demonstrated that power, as a physical ability, is plane specific. That is, you develop power in the direction of movement you are training.
The movements above are very sagittal plane dominant (movement is up and down). With this in mind the golf swing, which features movements in the transverse plane (rotation movement) and frontal plane (movement is side to side), should be trained using movements with a rotational and/or lateral nature.
A recent study into exercise effects on baseball pitch velocity found a correlation between these types of movements and an increase in fast ball speed. Pitching involves dynamic lateral transfer of weight from the rear leg to the target side leg, high speed rotation of the arms and shoulders around the hips and spine and the transfer of power through a kinematic sequence from proximal (close to the trunk) to distal segments (further away from the trunk) of the body. Movements that form a striking similarity to those required for power generation in the golf swing. We can assume, therefore, a fair amount of carryover from pitchers results into golfers club head speed. This study further identified only two moves that made significant difference to fast ball velocity: lateral jumps and med ball rotation throws.
Med Ball Rotational Throws
– Throw it like you mean it! Try to knock down the wall
– The key is to aggressively shift your weight from back hip to front hip, using your glute to fire towards the wall.
– Get the most out of lateral jumps by keeping your hips back to use your glutes and hamstrings.
– Land softly from each jump, but minimise ground reaction time by quickly pushing off to reverse directions.
– Increase the intensity of the exercise by holding a light med ball or looping an elastic band around your waist and attach it to a power rack at hip height, jumping away from the rack, to increase the tension of the band as you land.
– Lateral jumps develop the ability to rapidly develop and decelerate force, just as you are required to in the golf swing.
Add these two moves in at the start of your workouts, after a good warm-up. Follow up with some appropriate strength work to ensure strength, stability and structural balance, and your golden. Kick ass workouts and a research proven method to longer drives await!