My adventures into golf physical preparation have been interesting. The most interesting of which is how to tackle in season or tour lifting. Biggest cry from golfers or golf based ‘thinking’ for lifting and its the recurrent issue of specificity.
In gym training raining occurs at much lower velocities than it does in actual sport. Average punch is around 10m/s (a movement I understand well) where as the average dynamic effort bench press may only reach 0.8-1m/s a golf swing (a movement im working to understand better) at a club travelling at 100 mph will be 44 m/s. Theory of dynamic correspondence suggests that as we approach a competition velocity must increase to make the nervous system more specific in the way it produces force.
As strength coaches we know the attainment of general physical qualities can enhance sport performance in some individuals particularly in beginners, but training modalities focused on more specific exercises may in fact be needed for optimal transfer of more advanced athletes to help improve. This where for you the athlete or coach using high velocity peaking can be particularly useful turning gym time into real world performance statements. What I am however is not a golf coach, my athletes don’t come into the gym to practice golf they come in to build physical capacities that transfer well to golf.
The In-season Dilemma and manipulating residuals.
Golfers have varying times between golf competitions plus travel time which makes training with regularity difficult but if planned properly very possible. I encourage golfers to have some sort of off season especially as juniors so that they can work on gross strength qualities. This means that as they grow up they will have a good strength base and can make the most of training residuals to plan training. Training residuals are the amount of time to takes to see qualities start to diminish from a established set point. The residuals vary but give us a rough idea of how long they might have. I have known athletes to take very long breaks and see only small decrements and others take short breaks and see a big regression. What is important is that once a quality is trained it is easily regained.
Lets take Issurins residuals for instance.
Aerobic endurance 30±5 days
Maximal Strength 30±5
Anaerobic glycolithic endurance 18±4
Strength endurance 15±5
Maximal speed (alactic) 5±3
The two bold qualities are the highest priority for golfers. That way when we have 2-3 weeks plus between events we can repeak maximal strength using an appropriate method and then switch back to high velocity work 5-8 days out from an event. Below is one of the methods I use in this situation.
This a great method for improving explosiveness and encouraging quality repetitions. I have mentioned in the past approaches like french contrast make up a portion of our heavier lifting cycles. We can in more advanced athletes merge both French contrast and potentiation clusters together. I’ve run with Cal Dietz’ method and had much success applying it to intially to boxers, MMA and BJJ fighters of varying shapes and sizes, but more recently to some of the golfers I work with. To quote dietz himself, you should consider this method;
“If maximizing the number of high quality reps is the objective, an alternative approach which shares some similarities with the French Contrast might be right for you: High Velocity Potentiation Clusters. These High Velocity Potentiation Clusters typically involve a single, high velocity rep of an exercise in the below 80% 1RM range, followed immediately by an unweighted, max effort plyometric that mimics the same movement. After resting for 20 seconds the pair of exercises is repeated for between six and eight reps. In general it is just a pair of exercises with rest in between, but I will also discuss some variations involving more exercises for advanced athletes.” – Cal Dietz
My preferred pairing being squat jump and vertical jump. We know for instance that squat jump has a strong relationship with club-head speed performance. What I generally aim for is an athlete leaving these sessions feeling better than when they walked in.
Potentiation Cluster Style Session.
Jump Squat (30%) and Box Jump vertical jump 2-3 x 6,6 or until velocity drop off. (hotel gym option DB jump squat)
Bench Press(35-55%) and Clap push-ups 2-3 x 6,6 or until velocity drop off. (hotel gym option smith bench throw)
Supine Rows or Pull-ups 3 x 5-8
Dimmel Deadlift or KB swing or somekind of speed based Glute/Ham-work.
Core Medley athlete dependant, this could anti rotation work, carries etc. Rotation based throws are about as specific movement wise as we get.
This is one way of approach in season lifting and may well change in time. What important is having a structure in place that allows for plasticity in the lifting approach the athlete takes based on how they feel, where they are and what is going to transfer positively to their sports performance.