By Ron Kaspriske
Picture two boxers. One is a mountain of a man. All muscle. Tall, too. The other is muscular, but much smaller in stature. He looks fit, but you can't help but fear for his life as he steps into the ring. Then the bell goes off. The two meet in the middle and the mountain doesn't waste any time. He winds up his right fist, getting ready to deliver a crushing blow to his smaller opponent. But before he can swing, the smaller fighter reels off three fast, but powerful punches and down goes the big guy.
What just happened? The big guy had all the strength in the world but didn't have the pliability to use that strength to his advantage. And while the little guy didn't have nearly the amount of strength as his opponent, he did have the capability to effectively use what strength he possessed. That's the difference between strength and power--and golfers need both.
You need strength to stabilize your body when you swing. Otherwise, you'd fall off balance often and leave your frame susceptible to injury. But you also need power to deliver the club with enough energy to launch it off the tee, or cut through a swath of sand, or escape deep rough.
Your body has more than one type of muscle fiber. Some contract and expand faster than others. Just look at the lower bodies of sprinters and compare them to marathon runners. If all you ever do is train slow-twitch muscles, as many distance runners do, you'll never be able to explode out of the blocks the way a sprinter can.
So when you hit the gym, you should be thinking in terms of strength training and power training, says Golf Digest fitness advisor Randy Myers, who works with several PGA Tour players. Myers spoke to me about this topic and offered up six exercises that help develop strength and power in our February issue (Read: Fitness: Strength vs. Power).
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(Illustration by Christian Northeast)