Let's talk about rotation.
I've made posts in the past talking about how we should be including MORE rotation into our training.
I've discussed how, in general, fitness training programs don't utilize enough rotational work in their programming.
HOWEVER, the "golf fitness" world is often the exact opposite.
Left and right coaches add a rotational element to an exercise for no reason other than to make it more "golf specific."
It's not more "golf-specific," you've actually just made it less "golf-specific."
Let me explain.
Specificity or Transfer?
In my opinion, something that is "golf-specific" means that there is a greater transference to our performance on the golf course.
In order to create transference we need to do a few things but THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE IS... we need to create physical adaptations.
We need to get stronger.
We need to get more powerful.
We need to get more mobile.
We need a greater aerobic base.
These are physical adaptations that will follow us everywhere, and will most certainly transfer to the golf course!
And luckily for us, these ARE our central goals of the weight room.
To create these adaptations and uncover newfound athleticism.
It's not to build your golf swing.
It's not to increase the size of your backswing,
It's not to fix your slice.
We need to create physical adaptations that will then TRANSFER to the golf course.
Very seldom does this require the use of "golf-specific" exercises, at least like the ones depicted on social media.
Let's go through an example:
Lunge with a Rotation... Barf
Golf fitness experts will post a reverse lunge with a rotation exercise and call it "golf-specific."
It looks something like this...
This exercise can have a place in training... I'm not saying it's totally trash worthy.
You're warming up.
You're exploring spinal rotation in a low impact manner
You're playing golf later and don't want to be sore
But, as mentioned above, the goal of training is to create physical adaptations.
These physical adaptations are what will create a transference to your golf swing and to the course.
So, let me ask you, how many adaptations are being built in the exercise shown above?
The answer: Very few...
I am not stressing my lower body to the point of creating strength adaptations.
I am not moving fast enough, or with enough intent to create rotational power adaptations.
I am not truly challenging the limits of my movement to create mobility adaptations.
Comparatively, look at the one below...
This exercise is a similar motor pattern to the one above.
Both targeting the lower body.
But one incorporates rotation and a PVC pipe, the other is holding dumbbells.
The DB RFE Squats shown are actually creating physical adaptations, unlike the rotational lunge shown above.
Now, context matters...
Every athlete's appropriate stress level is very different.
Some may find that first exercise extremely stressful on their lower body and ARE actively building lower body strength adaptations.
Which is great, then use it!
BUT, in my opinion, every athlete should be working towards an external loading stimulus like the one shown in the second video.
SO, ROTATION... YAY or NAY?
In the example above, by incorporating a rotational component to a lunge pattern I effectively removed the external loading stimulus associated with the dumbbells.
Therefore, I removed most of the strength and power adaptations associated with the exercise.
Making it less effective and less transferable to the golf swing.
And by less transferable, I could also call it less "golf-specific."
We got there.
In general, a lunge with a rotation is less "golf-specific" than the loaded split squat variation.
Rotation does not equal more "golf-specific."
In fact, in this instance, and many others, it was less.
WHEN SHOULD WE BE ROTATING IN TRAINING?
There is absolutely a place in training that we should work to closer mimic the golf swing and complete rotational exercises.
As long as we are creating physical adaptations within the exercise, we are creating a transference to the golf course.
For example, as we grow our physical output base and get closer to the start of the golf season one thing we should be doing is expressing our athleticism in a more rotational-power pattern.
*** SCRATCH Athletes are doing this RIGHT NOW! ***
We aren't trying to replicate the golf swing, we are just trying to express our physical outputs and grow rotational power adaptations.
Here are a couple options that I am referring to...
Rotational Med Ball Slam
Rotational Broad Jump
These two exercises aren't "golf-specific" because they're rotational.
They're "golf-specific" because they are creating positive adaptations.
NOT EVERY EXERCISE SHOULD BE ROTATIONAL
Let's put a bow on this thing...
We SHOULD be including rotational exercises into our training.
But be wary when EVERY exercise shown on social media is rotational.
The most important point isn't whether rotation exists or not, it's whether adaptation is being created or not, and sometimes rotation can get in the way of this.
"Golf specific" doesn't mean "more rotation."
Let's go low.