Power Training Mistakes for Golfers

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The US Open just finished up in Washington this weekend and we saw Jordan Spieth win yet another major tournament.

Maybe Dustin Johnson should have hit that 3 footer to force the playoff but Spieth’s 3 years on tour have been nothing short of remarkable to this point.

One of the factors contributing to his success is that he works with a team of TPI professionals that best help him train. He has a golf coach, fitness professional, and chiropractor that work in conjunction to help him perform at a high level.

This is the trend that golf is going towards. Golf pros will no longer be able to charge $100/hour to give the same cues to each person and use the same swing for everyone. They are going to be forced to understand how the body moves and what limitations the swing may have. It will then be their responsibility to coach the swing appropriately.

There are a lot of golfers that are just not in shape enough to do the things that someone like Jordan Spieth can do. I, for example, do not turn into my back hip very well which means that I cannot get as much of a rotation back as other golfers.

When it comes to training golfers there has been an extreme lack of information until recently. There is also a borderline negative attitude towards lifting weights and its potential to ruin the golf swing.

That is not true and I think we will see a shift in the training of golfers going forward. There will be a more open minded approach to training golfers and it will mean that the game will have more members continuing to play and playing well.

One of the biggest goals of training for golf is to develop more power in the attempt to hit the ball further.

Power is a function of displaying strength quickly. That means that we must have some kind of strength and it must be done fast (and under control).

Developing power is actually pretty simple but it can get screwed up pretty easily. Some common mistakes of power training follow.

  1. Ignoring Strength Training

Someone people want to hit the golf ball further but they have not touched a weight in ages. They swing and swing at the range trying to crush the ball, but to no avail.

The missing element here is strength. They need to get stronger to hit the ball further. If power=strength/time (not a scientific equation) then increasing strength will increase power.

Total body strength training is important for golfers. They must have strong legs, upper body, and core.

Avoid old school body building programs for the best results here. No one is going to hit the ball better by doing 3×20 bicep curls with tricep pushdowns.

Make sure movements include hinging, squatting, pushing, and pulling patterns.

  1. Going Too Heavy

When it comes to power training the loads used should actually be pretty light.

I like using medicine ball throws for training rotational power in both golfers and hockey players. Everyone has to be a tough guy when it comes to med ball throws and immediately get the heaviest med ball.

medicine-ball-training-qa

This is the wrong approach. A lighter med ball, thrown as hard as possible, will yield the most power development. When throwing the ball against a wall, the average person should not be throwing more than 6 pounds, and most should be using 2-4.

Going heavy on a med ball throw just makes the exercise seem difficult instead of beneficial.

  1. Not Using Strength Movements

We can develop power by doing something quickly, under control. This means that we could take classic strength movements, lower the weight, and perform them fast to develop power. Squats, deadlifts, presses, and rows can all be utilized.

A single arm cable press could be done explosively to shift the training effect from strength to power without doing anything crazy.

The best part about that is it also allows for great exercise technique since the weight is a little bit lighter. It is a good opportunity to improve power but also to work on squat technique if speed squats are used.

Golf training typically means rotational med ball throws and flexibility work. People who still think like this are in trouble. It is too narrow minded and outdated.

It is no longer enough to hit the range maybe take 10 putts and go out on the course. We golfers to train to play this game for the rest of their lives.

People say golf isn’t so popular in the recent years, even though Spieth may be changing that. If we can get golfers to play the game forever then there won’t be a problem anymore. Smart training and improved performance are the keys to creating lifetime golfers.