Learn how to generate more power with seated Russian twists
We all want it. Hackers and pros alike. It’s what turns head at tournaments and what most every amateur asks me specifically about regarding their golf fitness programs — how can I get more power in my golf swing?
Basically, clubhead speed and driving distance is related to power production. It’s important to realize that it’s not your golf club that creates power, but your golf swing and your body executing that swing. Increasing or improving your power outputs in the swing is a combo of improving mechanics of the golf swing and improving the ability of your body to develop power.
When we talk about power in a physical perspective, it’s simply the ability of the body to create the greatest amount of force in a short amount of time. The application of the idea of power developed by your body to the golf swing can be identified through clubhead speed. If the clubhead is moving faster at impact with the golf ball, what this tell us about the golfer and his or her body is that the golfer has developed a more powerful body and, as a result, clubhead speed has increased, allowing ball to travel farther. It’s a pretty simple equation.
So, it’s back to the basic question: how to generate more power in relation to the body. The simple answer is to generate more torque. Torque is power generation in a rotational pattern and remember, the golf swing is both a rotational and linear athletic action. To begin our quest to develop more power in our body for increased clubhead speed, we’ll look at an exercise we did months ago — the seated Russian twists.
This is a very nice exercise to start the development of increased power outputs by the body for a variety of reasons. It’s simple to perform. It focuses on the core region of body, where the majority of the rotation in the golf swing occurs. Most importantly, this exercise is rotational pattern movement and that means we can begin the process of increasing the torque output the body produces with it.
Add side-to-side rotations to your routine for more power
OK, maybe not everyone will hit it like Phil or Tiger or those guys, but when I talk about power, it is a combination of swing mechanics and the body. You must improve both to get to the point of bombing every drive.
In last week’s article, we laid out the foundation of what power is in relation to the body. In order to improve power outputs, we have to look at increasing the torque outputs by the muscles of our body. We presented a simple yet very effective exercise to start this process, the seated Russian twist.
Now in order to advance our power training in relation to our golf swing, we must start to introduce some of the other principles we talked about in previous articles. One is cross-specific training.
A quick refresher is that in order for us to improve the body in relation to the golf swing, it is ideal to train in the positions, movements and physical requirements of the golf swing.
Knowing this principal and relating it to the development of power, this would indicate to us that if we want to increase the power output in our golf swings, then we want to look at power exercises that place the body in the position to execute the golf swing. We want to utilize the exercise that takes the body through the movement of golf swing and focuses in on muscles used to execute the golf swing.
A great exercise to place in our routine after the seated Russian twist and one that is more cross-specific to the golf swing in relation to power development is the medicine ball side-to-side.
This exercise is rotational in terms of movement pattern, it’s set up in an athletic position similar to the setup position in golf and it trains the muscles used in the golf swing to produce power.
Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, body upright and hands clasping a medicine ball in front of the abs. Maintain this athletic position throughout the entire exercise and keep the elbows bent at approximately a 90 degree angle.
Begin the exercise by rotating your entire torso to the left and continue to rotate to the left until the shoulders are perpendicular to the hips. This is similar to the position of a full shoulder turn in the golf swing.
Remember to create rotation with the core region and focus on muscles utilized to create power within golf swing. Once you have completed the rotation to the left, return to the starting position and repeat the exact same movement to the right.
Begin with slow speed of movement and increase the speed of the exercise as you get comfortable. I like my golfers and athletes to begin with a single set of 8-10 reps and building up to three sets of 10 reps with this exercise.
Speed is the key to increasing power in your swing
Power has been the topic of late, as we’ve talked about how power in the golf swing is clubhead speed. Increasing clubhead speed is a combination of both your swing mechanics and body, which is where golf fitness exercises can help.
A quick review of the definition of power provides a very important principle we must always keep in mind in all of our power-developing golf fitness exercises — speed.
Yes, speed is a very important component of increasing the power in your body and golf swing. Remember, according to Vladimir Zatsiorsky, a professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at Penn State, power is the ability of the body to create the greatest amount of force in the shortest amount of time possible.
Power is not developing force over a long period of time but rather in a short amount of time. If we take this little nugget of information, plus our principle of cross-specific training, we can incorporate them into our golf fitness training. We know the exercises within the power-development section of our program must be executed at a high rate of speed.
What does this accomplish? Over time, it simply trains our bodies to generate more force in the shortest amount of time possible. The end result will be a body with stronger muscles, which will allow you to generate more power (i.e. clubhead speed) in your golf swing and thus increase your potential to drive tee shots 300-plus yards.
It’s a pretty simple concept once you break it all down, but let’s make sure we all understand how to implement speed into our golf fitness exercises. In previous examples, such as our Seated Russian Twist or Medicine Ball Side-to-Side Exercise, speed of movement is a very important component of these exercises.
First and foremost, it is important to learn the correct technique of each exercise. Once this is accomplished increasing the speed of the exercise is vital to getting the most benefit out of each one. Executing the rotation as fast as possible, while still maintaining the correct technique of course, is how you implement speed into these exercises.
For example, with the Side-to-Side Medicine Ball Rotation, I want to rotate back and forth maintaining the “athletic position.” I want to execute the exercise as fast as possible, which elicits the development of power in the muscles of my core over time. If you find yourself losing your technique as the speed of the exercise gets faster, slow it down a little and increase the speed in increments as your body adapts to the changes.
So that’s one new thing to keep in mind — power is equated with speed, and the way to increase the power in your body, at least as it pertains to your golf swing, is through power training executed at a high rate of speed.