Fitness Friday: An exercise to generate serious clubhead speed
*Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. This week he presents one excercise that, if done consistently, will really increase your clubhead speed. Look for Weekend Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman**.
Here's Ron: I always smirk when I hear trainers say golfers need better "torso separation" to generate power. It invokes images of a magician sawing a guy in khaki pants and a golf shirt in half. What they really mean is that your hips need to be able to rotate toward the target faster than your upper torso does. This creates a whip-like action that generates a whole lot of clubhead speed. Just watch Rory McIlroy's hips when he swings a driver to understand why he can crush a ball.
Many golfers, however, swing down into the ball with their hips and upper torso moving together. You might have heard the term "keeping the club in front of you." This type of simultaneous body rotation produces a swing where the chest remains facing the clubhead throughout much of the swing--back and through. This is an effective way to play provided you can keep the club from coming too much across the target line on an out-to-in-path. In fact, it provides a great deal of accuracy, and many professional golfers have made a lot of money with this type of swing. Just watch Jason Dufner through impact to see how effective it can be.
Unfortunately, what it won't do is generate the same type of clubhead speed that players such as McIlroy, Gary Woodland and Alvaro Quiros (check out Golf Digest's September issue) possess. If you really want to get longer off the tee and you've already been properly fitted for a driver and ball, then your only other option is to learn to fire your hips toward the target faster and develop some of that "torso separation" trainers keep talking about.
Your goal should be to have your hips facing the target at impact while your chest is still facing the ball. One exercise that can help train this movement is the lateral Heisman. It got its name because the movement somewhat resembles the famous college football trophy. I intended to include the lateral Heisman in the new, advanced 20-in-20 workout, but it got left on the cutting room floor. So consider this a bonus exercise you can add to that workout or whatever routine you are currently doing (see the video below). It's important to note that when doing this exercise, the minute you become so fatigued that your form becomes sloppy, you should stop, rest and then work on moving in the opposite direction.