Improving Power Training for Golf

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Power development is important for golfers.

Distance is determined by club head speed. I don’t want to ignore the effect of certain qualities of the swing but that is not my place to comment on.

The more club head speed you have, the further you will hit the ball. As we age, club head speed decreases and that is why we lose distance over time.

Power is force x distance / time. To increase club head speed we can swing faster (decreasing time), or put more muscular force into the swing.

I honestly get very reluctant to talk club head speed. I think some people take the information and go down a dark path with it. I am all for improving power output but I also hate that some people turn club head speed into a measuring stick. “Gotta get to 120 mph.”

I prefer to just let training do its job. I don’t know my swing speed but I know how far I hit the ball. I also know that I have gotten stronger and hit the ball further every winter.

One thing I do understand is the relationship between strength and power. To improve force, we have to improve muscular strength. If we look back at the power equation it makes perfect sense.

What I see is that people will often train for power way too early on in training.

Strength is the Foundation

To develop power we must have a base layer of force production. If force production is low, then it does not matter how quickly we move because power development will be low.

By using strength training, we get a bigger base to pull from. Power is developed from the ground up. Your legs need to be really strong to produce power. Force is not initiated in the upper body or core. It starts in the legs, transfers through the core, and then into the upper body.

Use as many squat, deadlift, lunge, and hamstring exercises that you can fit into your program.

You Need Less Rotational Power than You Think

Swinging a golf club is about as powerful as we can get in rotation. Golf clubs are light, move quickly, and use our whole body to develop force.

You probably get less benefit from additional rotational training than you may think. Throwing a medicine ball is usually a lot slower and, therefore, less powerful than swinging.

Some people also try to turn the gym into a driving range. I have seen cables, bands, kettlebells, etc. being swung around trying to mimic the golf swing. Not only is this dangerous, it is not going to yield the results you are looking for.

You should spend most of your time on strength when you are still playing golf.

Plus, Overuse

Strength training does not get golfers hurt but overuse certainly does. We take a ton of swings and some people do not prep their body properly.

Instead, I like to train for power in ways that do not involve rotation during the golf season to avoid overuse. Rotational training is best served in the off season.

To reduce overuse, we want to train in a way that complements the sport. Golfers rotate a ton so they will be well served to work on other movement patterns.

Some options to develop power without rotating are below.

Both of these exercises develop power without additional rotation.

How Does Mobility Fit In?

Golfers need to be mobile. If you have been screened and it is determined that you need more mobility then that has to be addressed.

I think the worst way to do it is under high load and speed. Don’t do rotational MB throws thinking that it is going to help your mobility.

Mobility is your ability to move. If you have restrictions when swinging the golf club then adding weight to that pattern is not going to help.

Train and maintain your mobility through dedicated work.