Do your game a power of good
Rory McIlroy's secret to success is not so secret: he openly credits his new body, honed over the past 18 months through strength training, as the foundation for his rise to the top of the golfing world.
With his new posture, physique and strength, McIlroy, who works with British trainer Steve McGregor, is able to swing more powerfully yet stay balanced, and uses less effort in making his signature long drives.
Hong Kong former No 1 James Stewart also credits strength training for improving his shot distance. 'When I have been training consistently, I really notice the increases that I can achieve,' says Stewart, a touring professional and executive director at the J&J Golf Academy at Discovery Bay Golf Club.
Stewart works out with golf biomechanics coach Ross Eathorne at Optimum Performance Studio in Central. 'Three times per week for a month will produce significant results,' says Eathorne. 'And training for a progressive flexibility-balance-strength programme of three to nine months will change your game.'
Try this series of exercises demonstrated by Stewart and watch your game improve.
Standing cable woodchop
What it works: provides the strength foundation for developing power for driving and middle-distance shots.
Method: stand with feet apart, knees bent, both hands on cable, arms straight. Pull cable in front of chest over two counts, keeping abdominals engaged and arms straight. Return to start position over three counts. A set consists of eight to 12 repetitions on each side; do two or three sets with a one-minute rest in between.
Standing cable chest press
What it works: integrates arms, torso and legs; helps downswing movement.
Method: with weight on right foot and left heel raised, push cable forward over two counts. Keep left arm straight. Ensure spine is aligned and back knee is bent. Return to start position over two counts. Eight to 12 repetitions on each side per set; do two or three sets with one minute rest in between.
Standing cable row
What it works: encourages rotational forces through the middle back and maintains proper function in spinal joints.
Method: with weight on left foot and right arm straight, hold the cable. Place left arm on hip and engage abdominals. Pull right elbow back and straighten left arm, like shooting an arrow, over two counts. Return to start position over two counts. Eight to 12 repetitions on each side per set; do two or three sets with a one-minute rest in between.
What it works: teaches correct way to bend and ground body into the earth. Vital in building a stable base for a powerful coil.
Method: with knees bent and arms straight, bend from the hips. Keep chin up and abdominals engaged. Lift dumb-bell over three counts, emphasising lower back arch. Return to start position over three counts. Eight to 12 repetitions per set; do two or three sets with a one-minute rest in between.
Medicine ball power swing
What it works: conditions and develops power for long distance. Emphasises core engagement, balance and shoulder and pelvis rotation.
Method: holding the medicine ball, get into the golfer's stance, emphasising top of backswing arm position. Mimic the golf swing all the way to follow through, keeping as fast a tempo as you can to maintain fluidity. Six to eight repetitions per set; do four to six sets with two to three minutes' rest in between.
Rip Trainer pelvic rotation
What it works: helps the drive from hips and legs. Trains abdominal muscles and improves hip rotation.
Method: hold rip trainer in front of body, keeping chest open. Rotate pelvis while keeping the bar horizontal. Return to start position. A set consists of as many moderate tempo repetitions you can do in 30 seconds; do two or three sets with a one-minute rest in between.