The ability to deliver explosive speed with the arms is one of the most important aspects of power in the golf swing. We call it the Arm-Chopping motion because the arms need to start up over the trail shoulder and explosively fire down across the body to over the lead hip. Many players tend to eliminate this power source by trying to keep their arms pinned to their chest during the downswing. This may help improve accuracy but it will definitely limit power development.
Here are some examples of exercises we incorporate to develop arm-chopping power:
● Arm circles warm-up
● Chopping strength with no trunk rotation to rotation
● Lifting strength with no trunk rotation to rotation
● Pushing strength with no trunk rotation to rotation
● Pulling strength with no trunk rotation to rotation
● Kneeling throws for speed
● Med-ball tall and half-kneeling bounce passes
● Heavy bag cross-body punching
Just as a reminder, we would train through the power matrix with these exercises as well. See previous articles for more info. I am a big fan of doing a lot of these exercises in a kneeling position to emphasize the use of the arms. Here are some examples of how we would train for each:
Absolute Strength - Rotary chop (picture)
Explosive Speed - Pitching
Speed Strength - Overhead med-ball slams (picture)
Opposite Side Power - Med-ball lifts/backward toss (picture)How do you know when to move from one training method to the next (absolute strength to explosive speed to speed-strength)? Well, this is going to be different depending on your age, training experience, fitness level, previous injuries, training frequency, goals, etc. We have different periodization schedules depending on goals, linear and non-linear. Linear periodization is what most of you may have seen before; 4-8 weeks in each phase and then move to the next. In non-linear periodization, we incorporate some of each method in each phase but have a focus during each phase.
Training volume is going to vary and we always stress the quality of movement over trying to hit a certain number of sets and reps. In general, you can start with these parameters for power:
● Repetitions - Less than 5 (usually 3-5)
● Sets - 5+
● Rest - 2-6 minutes between sets
● Tempo - AS FAST AS POSSIBLE
Always make sure you are physically capable of performing these exercises before starting a program. It is best to be screened by a professional so modifications can be made to certain exercises if necessary. This will not only help prevent injuries but will also allow you to maximize your potential with each exercise.