Health & FitnessApril 15, 2016

Fitness Friday: Want to swing faster, carry the ball farther? Do this

golfer-jumping-illustration.jpg
Illustration by Alison Seiffer

A recent study published in the International Journal of Golf Science adds further proof that if you want to hit the ball farther, you need to add plyometrics to your workout. A group of skilled adolescent golfers were tested before and after employing an eight-week program that focused on jumping exercises. The results were that the golfers, on average, showed a three-percent improvement in clubhead speed and carry distance. That might not sound like a lot, but keep in mind the results came in a short amount of time and the golfers didn't have to change one thing about their swing techniques. Also consider that these golfers were skilled players, so it stands to reason that a higher-handicap amateur might see much bigger gains from doing a plyometrics workout.

If you want to start jumping for joy, heed the advice of Golf Digest fitness advisor Ben Shear:

"Box jumps are great, but the traditional jump only works in one plane of movement—the sagittal plane (forward and back)," Shear says. "That probably isn't going to help golfers who already struggle to maintain their posture when they swing down into the ball. Instead, they need to learn how to rotate at the same time they are pushing off the ground with their legs. In other words, moving in the sagittal and transverse (rotational) planes at nearly the same time."

A standard box jump also can be problematic, because there is an intimidation factor of worrying whether you can leap onto a platform. Most people are hesitant to try box jumps out of fear of getting hurt. So instead of focusing on how high you can get off the ground, Shear says he's got a plyometric routine that is safer (no platform needed) and more effective in helping golfers use both their bodies and the ground to generate power. Click on the video above to see it demonstrated.


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