Swing Power - Where Does It Come From And How Do We Test It?
Most people would like to hit the ball further. It makes the game easier, and more fun. A common question we get asked by clients and online followers is where does power come from in the swing? Or they might tell us they have powerful legs, but weak upper bodies, or vice versa.
The golf swing is a total body movement, and requires power from the legs, trunk, and upper body. By assessing our power levels in these three areas, we can gather information that allows us to gain a better understanding of areas in our body that may be power deficient, and by doing so, gain useful information for deciding what our clients need to work on.
Here at Hansen Fitness For Golf we use three primary power tests to measure your power.
Vertical Jump: We use the vertical jump to measure lower body power. The ability to push your legs into the ground to create “ground force” is critical in producing the clubhead speed necessary to hit the ball far. There’s a good chance if you cannot create enough power in your legs to have a decent vertical jump, you will struggle with creating high levels of power with your lower body in the swing. This is not good, as our leg muscles have a very high potential for power compared to our trunks and upper body. Ideally we like to see a vertical jump of over 22 inches. This is a high standard, but the main thing is that you get a baseline of where you are now, and try to improve it over time.
Medicine Ball Sit Up & Throw: This is our trunk or “core” power assessment, The trunk links the lower body and the upper body. If we are weak in this area we tend to lose energy from the legs, that could have been transferred to the upper body and club had our trunks been stronger. For this test we use a medicine ball that is 5% of the clients bodyweight, and the goal is to throw the ball 22 feet.
Seated Medicine Ball Chest Throw: For our upper body assessment we use this exercise. Without a powerful upper body we will not be able to transfer the energy from our lower body and core to our upper body, and club, optimally. This is the test where there is most often a large discrepancy in power levels between females and males, even at the same bodyweight, and is usually a great one for females to work on. For this test, just like the Sit Up & Throw, we use a medicine ball that is 5% of the clients bodyweight, and the goal is to throw the ball 22 feet.
When analysing the results of the tests there is two things we are looking at. The first is the raw number of each test individually. We want to see how the client scores in each test independently. The second is the relationship between the tests. For a well balanced golf body, we want the vertical jump score in inches, to be equal to the distance of both the medicine ball throws in feet. This way we can tell if the client is low or high in power overall, or has a specific area of their body that requires particular attention. Once this information has been gathered it makes it much easier for us to write training programs with an individualised focus, increasing the chance of positive results.
If you are interested in finding out more about our power assessments, or scheduling one, please get in touch.