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Fitness Friday: How to get explosive power

August 04, 2011

*Editor's note: Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. This week he talks about how to get explosive power in your golf swing. Look for Saturday Morning Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.

Roger Schiffman * *

Managing Editor

Golf Digest *

Here's Ron: Muscles function in many different ways. They support your skeletal system. They pump blood through your veins. They allow you to shut your eyes during the scary parts of movies. But for golfers, the one function that is most important is that they provide a burst of activity when called upon. It's called explosive power, and here's an example of the concept: The car in front of you just stopped short. Your brain quickly registers what's going on and sends a signal to your foot to stomp on the break. Without something called "explosive power," which allows your leg muscles to contract in a blink, you're going to rear-end that other car.

In golf, explosive power is needed as soon as you finish your backswing. During Tiger Woods' heyday, that power was easily identified in the way he could rotate his body toward the target in less than half a second. Snap your fingers and Tiger went from the top of his swing through impact. It was awesome to watch, but even more exciting to contemplate as something you could incorporate into your own swing.

I recently had dinner with Craig Davies, one of the top fitness trainers on the PGA Tour (his clients include Hunter Mahan, Sean O'Hair and Justin Rose). Davies is a free-thinker and often road tests his theories and practices before implementing them in his clients' fitness routines. For example, he's training his own explosive power by throwing heavy kettlebells in his backyard. When asked about the difference between strength training and explosive-power training, Davies says, "they're both important, but a golf swing isn't going to be very effective unless you can call upon muscle groups to fire quickly."

The next time you're going to swing your driver, think about a gunfighter in the Old West. If he can't get that six-shooter out of its holster in a flash, he's dead. If you can't rotate your hips quickly toward the target in the downswing, you're not going to carry that bunker or water hazard. So how do you get more explosive power? There are dozens of exercises that train the muscles to contract more quickly and powerfully. For two of my favorites, click on the video below.

*Ron Kaspriske

Fitness Editor

Golf Digest

Follow Ron on Twitter @RonKaspriske*