Anyone who watched the US Open at Winged Foot will have seen the explosive tactics used by the eventual winner, Bryson DeChambeau. He may be a divisive figure in golf but you cannot argue that he doesn’t create his own path in the sport.
During the week we kept hearing the phrase “bomb and gouge”. DeChambeau famously spent the winter piling on muscle and reinventing his swing for this season. In a charity event during the PGA TOUR hiatus this year he clocked a drive in with a clubhead speed of 140 mph and a ball speed of 203mph.
These insane figures are closer to long drive numbers than tour professionals. Today on the blog I want to help you achieve more speed. Here are five exercises that you can do anywhere that will get you started.
One major contributor to swing speed is leg power. Power and strength are different so they need to be developed differently. Plyometric movements like jump squats help you develop this power which can really increase your swing speed.
How to do it:
To do this move, do a normal bodyweight squat. Form is important here so have your feet hip-width apart and keep your core nice and strong. Sit back into the squat too, you should be able to wiggle your toes at the bottom as the weight should be in your heels. When you reach the bottom, brace your core then explode out of the squat and straighten your legs into a jump. Land with soft knees and repeat.
You can help your golf swing more by adding a twisting movement during your jump to force your hips to fire, much like they do during your swing. Do the squat as per normal but, as you power out of the move, twist your hips so that you land facing 90 degrees from where you started. Build this twist up as you start to gain power in the jump and speed in the hips.
Girls love to go to the gym and do booty workouts these days. Some of the moves they do could help your golf though and the hip thrust is definitely one of those. I’m not trying to turn you into an Instagram model, trust me here, this is one that top golfers do too. This is a move that will help develop the muscles in your glutes, another key muscle set in the golf swing.
How to do it:
Lie on your back and plant your feet on the ground as if you were going to do a sit-up. Tense your core, always important, and lift your hips toward the ceiling. During this move you should feel tension in your glutes. Hold your hips high at the top of the move for a count of three, where you feel the most tension in your glutes, then lower yourself to the starting point. Do twelve reps of this and three sets. Add weight to your hips if it is too easy. Don’t make eye-contact with anyone during this, it gets awkward.
If you look at pictures of elite golfers at impact you will see how tense their glutes are. These muscles are really important in power creation and often overlooked when people are training for golf. Go on, try a booty workout for the sake of your golf game.
Now for a change of pace, the last two exercises have focussed on the lower-body and have been about power. This one here is about stability. Power during the golf swing is all well and good but you absolutely need stability to help you control that power and channel it properly during the swing. Think of a race car with inadequate breaks, it will be fast but it will have no control.
How to do it:
Get yourself on the ground and in a position as if you were about to do a press-up. Instead of doing a press-up, drop to your elbows and tense your body through the core. Squeeze your abs and relax your shoulders, you want to keep your body in an angled straight line from head to toe. Hold it here for a minute and repeat this three times. If you can’t hold it that long then start where you can and build up.
The plank works all of the muscles in your core and is a great way to help you control your midsection through the golf swing. A strong core will help you coordinate the upper and lower parts of your body better through the golf swing and will give you more control to use the power you create more efficiently.
The plank is such a good exercise for your golf swing that we will double down on it. Swing speed can be created through separation between your upper and lower body. Again, this is all well and good but you need to be able to control your body during this. So we will take the plank and add a literal twist to help you with this.
How to do it:
Get back into the plank position that is described above. Instead of just holding that position and gritting your teeth, this time you will twist your upper-body to one side and reach that hand up to the sky. For example, turn your body to the right and reach your right hand to the sky whilst opening your chest up. Alternate the side that you are turning toward and repeat eight times on each side. Do three sets.
After doing a set of planks then plank twists, your core should be begging you for mercy. In time, this pain will become stability in your swing so that you can attack the ball harder than before. If you get some abs in the process, you’re welcome.
Some of the exercises above may be obvious to some of you, however this last one may not. What does running sprints have to do with the speed of your golf swing? Well being able to create explosive speed for a sprint will help you create explosive power from your legs during the golf swing. Think of the power that Rory McIlroy or Bryson DeChambeau get as they drive into the ground during their swings.
How to do it:
Go out for a run and make sure you are well warmed-up. Sprinting at an all-out effort can cause you to strain or pull muscles so be careful here. Get yourself to a street with lots of street lights or something similar to help you mark out a sprinting area. Now run as hard as you can, I mean literally leave nothing back. Repeat this five to ten times and try to get faster as you do this more often. You can also start increasing the distance that you sprint over.
Your whole body has to work to help you sprint at full speed. If you think of an Olympic sprinter, their whole body is working to propel them at top speed. Working on sprint training will work your upper-body too and help you build power in your golf swing.
Golf has undergone many revolutions during the centuries that it has been played. Bryson DeChambeau may be ushering in the latest iteration of the sport which is becoming ever-more athletic. He is showing that raw power that can be harnessed properly can bring great rewards on the course.
If you are not training your body for golf then you are missing out on an important aspect of improving your game. Get yourself out there and start doing these exercises. They require absolutely no equipment and they can start you on a path of golf-specific fitness that will pay dividends in your golf game.
By Kenny Pallas (@kjpgolf)