Squat Cable Pulley Row: Grab a cable pully with one arm. While holding the pully, squat down to a 90 degree position and hold. While holding, perform 10 reps of the one arm row, using a smooth tempo. After you finish those 10 reps do the other arm. Rest 1 minute and repeat for 3 sets. Excellent for the shoulder complex, the entire back and especially your legs.
High Cable Cross: While this is a classic bodybuilding exercise, it is also probably one of the best for your stabilizers and rotator cuff. Standing between a high cable pulley system, grab a pulley with both hands. taking a staggered stance, bring the pulleys down from the high position and cross in front of your body. Perform 10 reps, rest a minute and repeat for 5 sets. Incredible exercise to develop those muscles that transfer the power developed in your core to your hands and eventually the club.
Straight Arm Pulldown (Side): From the same position you use to start the High Cable Cross, bring your arms straight down to your sides so that your hands touch the side of your leg. Bring your hands down quickly and return to the start position slowly. Perform 10 reps, rest a minute and repeat for 5 sets. Same basic benefits of the High Cable Cross, but just works muscles from a different angle.
You will notice that most of these movements are pulling movements or some kind of derivative movement. The golf swing is basically a pulling movement, so these basic exercises should help you develop your power even more.
Most golfers don’t realize it, but the shoulder complex is probably the most important piece of the power puzzle right after the core. Your shoulders transfer all that force from your core to your hands, so the more you work the smaller muscles in the shoulder the more force you can transfer to the club. Think of the core as your engine and the shoulder is the transmission.
As far as swinging the weight, you would be better off not doing it. The golf swing is a very precise movement that requires a very high level of technical proficiency to execute it correctly and consistantly. If you can hit the ball an average of 320+ then you must have a prety darn good swing. You don’t want to go ruining it by swinging a weight (and you will ruin it). The benefit will not even come close to the potential harm that could be done to your powerful swing.
Hope that helps!!
I would not say that large muscles are either good or bad. I am a fairly large individual (6’1" 250 pounds 6% bodyfat) yet because of my training I have absolutely no problem hitting all the positions I need to generate power. However, most of the time I would not advise a golfer to go out of their way to put on muscle size.
Some people have phenomenal genetics and can’t help but get bigger. But there is a gigantic difference between power training and training for size. Just because someone may train for only 5-10 reps does not mean that they are lifting for size. In fact, if you are training for power to increase swing speed, then 10 reps is about as high as you want to go for most exercises. It is the speed of the movement and the effort to move the weight that dictates the training effect.
Size training is typically slower training that is more focused on contracting the muscle as intensely as possible in order to stimulate maximum muscles growth.
Power training, on the other hand, focuses on the conditioning of the nervous system and getting as many muscle fibers as possible to fire at the same time so you can create significantly more power with the same amount of muscle mass. You can increase your strength and power significantly without adding on a single pound of muscle mass.
Here is one of my favorite analogies on strength and power: Strength is defined as the ability of a given muscle or group of muscles to generate muscular force under specific conditions. Imagine that you want to move a broken car and you have five people ready to help you push it. If everybody doesn’t work together or if they push at different times, then moving the car will be very difficult. However, if everyone pushes together at the same time, then moving the car is very easy.
This is basically the same way that strength is produced. Muscle fibers contract at the same time, and these contractions produce force. More muscle fibers contracting together equates to more force. Speed (power) training is basically the process of getting those muscles to fire at the same time so you can move more stuff in a shorter time span.
Power training is typically higher in intensity and effort than other types of workouts and, as a result, cannot be carried out for long periods of time. This is the reason that I typically recommend 3-4 sets of an exercise for 6-10 reps. This lets you get an extremely effective power enhancing workout in with a very minimal time investment.
Muscle endurance is great, but if that is all that you train for, then it will be extremely hard to realize any significant increases in golf-specific power levels. Also, endurance is not gained by doing individual exercises. Instead, endurance is gained based on how exercises and recoveries are structured throughout the workout.
My profile has a web site that might help to better explain my philosophy on golf-specific training. Just like anything else in life, progress depends on striking a balance between the different training components (speed, strength, flexibility, stability, balance, coordination, etc). There is a book that can be downloaded at that site in my profile that I might have had some input on
In short, my suggestions are more geared towards concurrently developing power, stability, balance, flexibility and strength. Size is not a concern for me at all and it should not be for most golfers. Let me know if you have any other questions.
P.S. Just as a note, one of Tiger’s first goals when getting on the PGA Tour was to put on 25-30 pounds. He did it and things seemed to be working out well for him. Point being, a little additional muscle won’t hurt anyone
This is a very good overview of what misconceptions are abound in the area of fitness dedicated to the golfer. You can find information for exercises and stretches for golfers all over the internet but much of it is purely false or principles that were developed decades ago. For instance, you can look at the golf channel and see the Titleist fitness series. In general, the exercises that Dr. Rose prescribes and the tests that he initiates are pretty valid and useful to the golfer. However, he does have some flaws (IMO) with his views on training for golf. Anyone who tells you that a golfer needs to train for muscular endurance does not know the information and/or hasn’t done a thorough movement analysis of the golf swing. The first part of any strength coach’s job is to do an initial movement analysis of the activity and prescribe a routine to fit it.
There is nothing about the golf swing that is endurance related. A golfer hits a shot and then has down time before arriving at their next shot. Sure, there are initial levels of all fitness components required to be a better golfer such as strength, flexibility, power and endurance. But the movement itself is purely POWER. A golfer must train for this. This doesn’t mean that you must do nothing but Hang Pulls, Power Cleans and Snatch exercises but you should realize that their is an explosive component to the swing and it must be trained through the full range of motion of the swing in as similar a fashion to the swing as possible. This means doing variable resistance exercises in the plane of the swing.
Power is defined as FxD/Time meaning Force created times the distance or Range of motion divided by total amount of time to complete it. The more force that can be applied to an object and covering the most distance in the least amount of time has more power. This is why the word Swingspeed is so important.
Back to the point about Dr. Rose. He claims that the most important principle of the golf swing is endurance which is truly false. He believes in training with little weight for more reps and JUST training for muscular endurance. Well, muscular endurance is inversely proportional to power.The muscle fibers that are recruited are totally different and the training is nothing alike.
Power movements and training typically produce very little residual muscle soreness because power training focuses on improving the ability of the central nervous system to recruit and activate as many muscle fibers as possible in as short of a time span as possible.
Nerve cells recover much slower than muscle cells and this is part of the reason why you cannot do a ton of speed and power work within a given week. Anyone who has ever done extremely short, intense power workouts will tell you that their ability to run fast, throw far or swing fast is usually significantly reduced for a few days after these types of workouts even though there is not an ounce of muscle soreness anywhere.
The reason for this is because the nerve cells responsible for speed are shot due to the high intensity training. This means they do not send signals anywhere near maximum speed, which means slower and less powerful muscle contractions. It is along the same lines of lifting a weight when your muscles are sore. The amount of weight you can lift is significantly compensated due to the cellular damage to the muscle fibers. You just can’t do as much until recovery is complete. Muscle cells are usually fully recovered from most activity within 72 hours while nerve cells may take up to 5-6 days to fully recover from an intense power workout.
I am a huge fan of the three major lifts (bench, squat and cleans) and have been for years, but I also realize that these movements are general power movements and none even closely resemble the golf swing (no rotation). Instead, they help develop general athletic power that serves as the foundation for developing sport specific power. As such, their place in a complete training program is important, but they are not the best exercise choices for maximizing golf specific power and maximizing your distance off the tee.
Point being with all this, power training (nervous system training) will very rarely produce the type of soreness that is synonymous with a hard muscular workout. You may not think you are doing a lot when in actuality you are doing a ton for your power levels.
Some Final Points:
(1) The strength and power gained in one activity does not automatically transfer over to other activities. The transfer in strength and power gets smaller as the lifting activities become more dissimilar from the sport movement. The usual power lifting movements (squat, bench, clean) have next to nothing in common with the golf swing (Weights – Very heavy masses moved at speeds much slower than the actual speeds needed for the golf swing, non-rotational. Golf Swing – Very light masses accelerated extremely quickly, rotational). As such, golf specific power levels cannot be expected to increase significantly just by doing these basic power exercises.
(2) In your training, you should focus on strengthening sport-specific movements, not individual muscles or muscle groups. If you fail to concentrate on movements and instead focus on muscles, you are minimizing the involvement of the nervous system, and gains in strength and power will not be optimized.
If you have big muscles, don’t worry, they will not hurt your swing. If you have small muscles, generating incredible power is still most definitely within your reach. The size of you muscles is mostly inconsequential for developing power. It is how you use what you have available, plain and simple.
You don’t want to be doing a ton of speed work early in the pre-season as this is a recipe for overtraining and injury. Using our current topic of speed training, most speed training work is done late pre season to get ready for the most intense training possible, which is the competitive season. It is difficult to practice as intensely as you compete.
I agree 110% that most athletes will not benefit from just speed training because there are a number of different training components (I mention a few of them above) that go into producing speed/power. We had discussed earlier in this post that there has to be a base level of conditioning in order to train/improve power and I agree with this. However, I disagree 110% that you can do true “speed” training every day (golf would be an exception to this rule due to the extremely brief maximum effort with very light weight) and part of this may be because I am misunderstanding your definition of speed training.
To me speed training is any movement that is done at maximum or near maximum velocities. So If Maurice Greene (former 100 meter world record holder) can pop off a 9.9 second 100 meters then a 11 second 100 meter is a piece of cake for him and this would not constitute speed training because it is far below his maximum speed. However, a 11 second 100 meters would be a supra-maximal effort for most people because they physically cannot run that fast, so this would constitute a speed training effort because it is at or very close to their maximum possible speed.
Using the same idea mentioned above, skill position football players (WR’s, RB’s, etc) can run fast but not at high intensities (there is a difference) everyday. They can run faster than everyone day in and day out because they are just flat out faster.
This idea illustrates the difference between running fast and running intensely. I think this is what you are saying in the last paragraph of your last reply.
I guess where we differ in opinion is that to me, speed training IS high intensity training, but it is NOT the only form of high intensity training. So if true speed training (maximal effort) is one form of high intensity training, then there is absolutely no way that you can train speed every day without performance dropping off quickly due to overtraining. I guess we agree to disagree.
Getting back to golf, Powergolfer, you should expect your swing speed to drop off if you aren’t swinging a lot. You will get this speed back quickly though. It is kind of like when you break your leg. While your leg is in the cast, it gets very skinny and weak. However, within weeks of getting the cast off, your muscles come back and a lot of your strength is regained. The rate at which you put on muscle and gain strength in the broken leg is absolutely incredible and it is because your leg use to be a certain size/strength before the injury, so it is easy to get back to the pre-injury size/strength. The simple, generic term for this is “muscle memory”. Again, this is an oversimplification of an advanced concept.
As a piece of constructive criticism, your selection of exercises look more geared towards beach muscles than improving your golf performance. Not that there is anything wrong with that……
Lifting in and of itself is usually not very efficient at developing speed because you cannot move the weight anywhere near the velocity that the golf swing requires. However, these is quite a bit of research that suggests that speed of movement is not everything in training speed.
Studies have suggested that the effort or intention to move a weight/implement as fast as possible can also produce "speed" enhancements, which can improve power levels. This is definitely a more complicated discussion, but I will try to make it simple. I pull off of my training history for a lot of my discussions, so I will do it again here
Very slow, heavy lifting that is maximal or near maximal heavily recruits your fast twitch muscle fibers. There is a training technique called contrast training in which you can use a very heavy load to stimulate your nervous system and then perform a similar movement with very little weight or resistance. An example of this is squatting 400 pounds and them immediately performing three maximum vertical jumps with no weight. The heavy squat weight "over stimulates" your nervous system (this is a massive oversimplification of what actually happens), so when you go to jump with no weight you can jump higher than normally possible.
I personally used this technique extensively to increase my maximum power, as do most power athletes. For example, in our testing sessions we would test our vertical jump, perform max efforts on power cleans and then test vertical jump again. On my best testing session I had a starting vertical jump of 32.5 inches, maxed out at 335 LBS in the power clean and then retested at 35 inches in the vertical jump. Within 15 minutes I managed to increase my vertical 2.5 inches, which was much higher than I had ever tested in my life. Funny thing was that this trend held true for almost all testers.
It was my "effort" to clean the weight as explosively as possible that produced this performance enhancement. I might have only moved that 335 maybe 20 MPH vertically (so it technically wasn’t a "speed" movement), but I tried as hard as I could to move that weight as fast as I could. The intention and effort was there, so it temporarily enhanced my explosive ability in the vertical jump.
Some quick examples of this training technique in action:
Heavy Squat/Vertical Jump (Total Body Power)
Bench Press/Medicine Ball Press (Chest/Pressing Power)
Between Legs Forward Med Ball Toss/Standing Long Jump (Horizontal/Forward Power)
Hammer Hip Throw/Golf Swing (Rotational Power)
Contrast training is a very advanced technique, and probably should not be performed by most athletes. It generally requires a great base and overall level of conditioning. Doing these types of exercises when you are not ready for them will almost certainly result in injury, as they are extremely explosive. Most readers of this post probably have no business trying this training technique. I just mention all this to show that lifting itself can actually enhance speed and power if done correctly.
I have never heard of the speed chain. I’ll look over it and PM you my thoughts. The concept looks interesting.
P.S. Sorry for writing a small novel every time I post. I am writing a book, so I am in the mode of writing until the keys fall off the keyboard
Here is a cheap and very easy post-workout nutrition option. Go to the store and get a few bottles of Gatorade. Have one after your workout. If possible also get some protein in you. The high glycemic carbs in the Gatorade will replenish your glycogen stores (energy stored in your muscles) and the protein will jump start the recovery process. In the end this means you will be better prepared for your next workout.
In addition, if you supplement with any other substances (creatine, glutamine, etc) the sugars in the Gatorade will help "push" those substance into your cells, making sure they can do their job.