There is one thing that I have consistently seen among golfers who hit the ball far and those who do not.
Golfers that lack distance off of the tee seem to have a longer, slower swing.
This makes sense since the slower the swing, the slower the club head speed. Less speed = less distance.
I also notice that my swing has issues when I am not confident over a shot. I will almost make a tentative swing at the ball. This slows down my swing and throws my tempo off. The results are never a good thing in this scenario.
Usually, when I make an actual, committed swing things go pretty well.
Now, I am not going to recommend swinging out of your shoes to get more distance. The point of this post is just to make the case for fast power training vs. slow training.
Fast vs. Slow
The golf swing is a powerful movement. Power is work/time. Shorten the time and power will increase.
This relates directly to our fitness.
Powerful movements need to be done quickly, with appropriate loading. The heavier a weight being used, the slower it is going to move. More weight will decrease power output.
This is different than force production. Producing force is strength. Strength can be slow. There are different types of strength and the speed of the movement will change depending on what you want to accomplish with it. This is, however, a very advanced type of training.
A 1RM deadlift test is the best example of absolute strength. The bar does not move very fast but it gets lifted to the top.
Strength lays the foundation for power. If power is work/time, increasing work while decreasing time is going to maximize power. Work is force x distance. More force, more work, and more power.
Where a lot of golf programs go wrong is the reinforcement of power. Doing exercises with too heavy of a weight is not powerful. We need to remember that speed is the key to power development.
Enter Medicine Ball Throws
I really like medicine ball throws. I use them a lot and find them to be really beneficial.
These are the best example of powerful exercises gone wrong. Doing a rotational medicine ball drill is a great way to be powerful. Using too much weight can make it not powerful, very quickly.
This is something that I made mistakes with when I was new to training people. If someone can throw a 6 pound ball, lets get them to 12!
Then I went to observe at Cressey Performance and noticed that the medicine balls did not go higher than 8 pounds. Even then most throws were done with 4-6 lbs. 200+ lb professional athletes throwing only 6 lbs?
They are trying to maximize power output. Pitching is a powerful activity. No one accidentally throws over 90 MPH. They need to train in a manner that allows them to be as fast as possible.
This is absolutely no different for golf.
Good Medicine Ball Options
Any medicine ball throw/slam is good when one rule is followed: move that ball as fast as you possibly can. You will also probably benefit from using one weight less.
One of my favorites is an OH MB Throw. I never have any one go above 4 lbs with this one. Speed is the name of the game and we are already at a disadvantage overhead.
MB drills also give us the opportunity to improve mobility by incorporating rotation. Slams can use slightly heavier med balls because gravity is helping us out.
I also like to mix the two.