We are pleased to bring you part 3 of the ultimate strength and conditioning guide for golf, written by Golf Performance Coach, Michael Jordan. Michael will be breaking down each element of golf fitness and will dive deeper into how each element impacts your ability to play better and how to improve them effectively. Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2.
Power for Golf
I think Power is hugely overlooked in golf fitness. Strength, speed and mobility have stolen the limelight. But power is what links strength and speed and if you’re not training power you’re leaving a lot on the plate.
When we talk about power we’re looking at the rate of force development (RFD) - the measure of explosive strength, or simply how fast you can produce force. Once you’ve built a good base of strength, you need to learn how to recruit that strength quickly in order to then put that into speed.
What are the best exercises to develop power for golf?
Given that the golf swing takes roughly 1 second, you need to be able to produce high levels of force in a relatively short time and as such you need to consider what exercises you use to train power if you want to make your workouts as efficient as possible.
Power is often best trained using the following types of exercises:
- Olympic Lifting
These types of exercises place a huge focus on moving weight quickly. It’s worth noting that you can use the “standard” resistance exercises for training power but there needs to be a clear distinction between the way you train them for each adaptation. A barbell bench press can be performed with heavy loads for strength, but can be adapted to focus on the speed of the movement, whether that’s through a reduction in the number of reps or the weight used to allow speed to be produced in the movement.
Whilst I love the Olympic lifts, the skill requirement to perform them well enough to train power can be a serious barrier to entry. For most of my golfers favour programming throws and jumps as these allow the athlete to move with enough speed to cause the adaptations required.
Here’s a video showing some of my favourite power exercises for golfers:
Intent becomes a key focus during power training. You must use exercises and loads that allow you to execute your reps with control whilst focusing on the speed of movement. Once speed begins to drop off the continuation of a set no longer benefits the goal of increasing power as you start to move towards training strength.
When is it best to train power for golf?
As the off-season comes to an end, power training is a great way to Segway from strength training into more sport specific training. Not only is the speed of the movements more specific to golf but the door is now open for exercises that are more closely linked to the swing itself, such as medicine ball throws.
If you’ve spent 4 months of your 6 month off-season working on strength, the final 2 months are perfect for focusing on developing power and then speed.
Power training is also a great way to train during the season. Given that quality of training and speed of movement is the focus, the overall demand of power can be significantly less taxing on our nervous systems than strength training. Therefore we can use power training to maintain our explosive strength throughout the season and continue to ensure we can deliver as much force as possible through the club.
Power work can also be fantastic as a way to prime the body during the playing season. By using a lower volume approach, we can prevent any negative impact on our performance on the course whilst continuing to cause positive adaptations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Jordan, has 7 years worth of experience working in the fitness industry. Since graduating Loughborough University with an Honours degree in Human Biology, he has spent his career coaching clients from all walks of life. Having opened 2 gyms, coached hundreds of individual clients including professional athletes performing on the international stage, Special Forces and prepared a military team to successfully cross the Antarctic.
As an avid golfer (2.5hcp), Michael understands the importance of effective Strength and Conditioning programming and has developed a platform to bring golfers the highest level of programming available in order to develop their golf whilst building an athletic body that functions optimally for life. Click here to learn more about Michael and his programs.