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Reactive Strength: What is it, and Why you Need it to be a Top Performer on the Golf Course

It is no secret that one of the key performance Indicators of a high level golfer is club head speed. The more speed an athlete is able to create whilst maximizing all other aspects of the game, the higher chances of them hitting lower scores.

Strength and Conditioning has come a long way in the past decade, especially when it comes to golf performance. Athleticism was something never truly prioritized in the golfer. The more specific to a golf swing you could make an exercise, the better. However we find more and more how being strong, quick, and all power producing, seem to be some of the highest priority when it comes to maximizing golf performance. One of the most important and beneficial things a golfer can train to increase athleticism is their reactive strength.

So what even is Reactive Strength? Reactive strength is the athlete’s ability to maximize the stretch shortening cycle (SSC). In other words, it is the body’s ability to produce a lot of force quickly after some sort of stretch. Think of plyometric type exercises such as jumping, hopping, sprinting, etc. One of the king exercises of demonstrating and training this is the drop jump. Once the athlete hits the ground after stepping off of a box or some type of elevated surface, their body has to react and produce force in order to jump once hitting the ground.

Reactive strength can be broken into two parts. One being how QUICK can you handle the impact and react off the ground, and the second being how HIGH can you get after the impact These two together sum up the stretch shortening cycle. Your body’s ability to jump high and fast after some type of impact. Every time we run, jump, sprint, change direction in sport, it’s happening after some sort of stretch or impact with the ground. Every time the foot hits there is a rapid stretch and your body has to display reactive strength to that impact. High levels of this are needed for high level athletes.

How do we develop this? As coaches and athletes, we need to know the muscles involved, formational patterns, synergist muscles working to support, and primary joints working. The vertical jump and the golf swing both require a lot of the same muscle groups and patterns to be trained for reactive strength. Looking at the research, if we train to develop the vertical jump, it will give us the ability to maximize vertical peak power and reactive strength in our swing with the proper transfer. In the golf swing, one of the points to maximize the SSC will come after the stretch of the backswing into the downswing. If both the force and quickness of the transition is maximized, speed is maximized. The vertical jump force and quickness comes after impact. Both need high ability to transition but also produce force during that “propulsion” phase.

So what are you waiting for? Start to jump in your program, start to hop, start to sprint short distances! All of these training aspects are going to contribute to higher reactive strength, creating a more powerful athlete.

Founder, CEO

Chris Finn

P4S Golf
“We Give Golfers A Clear Path To Longevity In Golf – Low Scores, More Distance And Less Pain.”

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