Cannon Performance Blog

How Strength Training helped Rory McIlroy

In August 2006 Ballyliffin Golf Club was the venue for the Interprovincial championships. For any non Irish reading this, the interprovincial championships is a team competition between the four provinces of Ireland. Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. I was playing for Leinster and  a 17 year old kid called Rory McIlroy was playing for Ulster. It was here that i first noticed Rory’s interest in fitness. I had just finished a workout in the gym and bumped into Rory in the lobby. “I want to get myself some of those” he said pointing to my biceps. I don’t think they were that impressive back then! But that moment always stuck in my mind as I’ve watched Rory turn himself into an athlete. He has always had an interest in fitness and making himself stronger. With enthusiasm, its a lot easier to have dedication and he clearly has for strength training.

Earlier this week at his media conference at the PGA Championship Rory talked about how he has gained 3kg of muscle in 8 weeks and how much stronger and stable he has become.

Ive had a lot of questions about the topic this week which is the reason for this blog post!

What is Strength Training?

It is the process of effecting overload through the use of progressive resistance exercises with the aim of effecting positive force-time adaptations.

So why has Strength Training helped Rory become a better golfer? There are several reasons.

Injury Prevention

When Rory first turned pro he suffered with some minor back injuries. Back then he didn’t have the strength and stability to cope with the incredible amount of clubhead speed his golf swing produced. This was causing some dysfunction in his body leading to some pain and injury. He quickly addressed this and brought in Steve McGregor to design a programme to make him stronger in areas that needed stabilising such as glutes and abdominals. Since then he has had no back injuries. Building strong tissues- bone, muscle, tendon, ligament has enabled Rory to withstand the forces of gravity and the force of his golf swing.

Stabilisation of his neuromuscular system

Strength training involves both muscle and nerve adaptations. Strengthening the neuromuscular system results in a greater force and power output during a dynamic movement ( such as the golf swing) where speed is a key influence on the amount of force expressed. Rory is better prepared to perform his sport skills with a strong neuromuscular system.

Power and Force

Rory is ranked 3rd in driving distance on the PGA Tour this season at 310.3 yards. Last season he was 8th at 302.2. Interestingly in 2012 he was 5th at 310.1. He has certainly got his distance back this season and hitting it further than ever but more importantly he is hitting it straighter, leading him to hit more greens in regulation. Rory has been training quite a few years now and has a higher training age. This means he is much more specific with his strength training which is required for the enhancement of force and power. Being heavier but with  lower body fat  will help with this.

Leaner and meaner

Strength training burns calories and will reduce body fat levels with the help of a good diet. Increasing the proportion of lean tissue in the body will as a consequence burn more calories during exercise. Also being stronger,  looking leaner and feeling fitter will give anybody a huge psychological boost.

Without doubt strength training has helped Rory McIlroy become the worlds best player. With three majors under his belt already, the sky is the limit to how many he could win in the next twenty years. Being in great shape will help him play for another 20-25 years at the highest level.

Rory is a great role model for young golfers. Not only is he an amazing golfer but also an extremely polite and likeable guy. Any up and coming champion should watch his press conferences and how well he speaks to the media.

Strength training can help to instil order and discipline to any young athletes lifestyle. Which Rory is clearly showing at present.

“The weak don’t last. The strong do.” Ruby Walsh

2013 was a great year. The 2nd half of the season didn’t quite match the first half but any year you win a championship, especially if its the biggest one held on the island of Ireland, its a year to be very content with. All in all i played very inconsistent golf all season but as a friend of mine pointed out, you would much rather play inconsistent and win than play consistent and not win. For 2014 my goal is to play more consistent and win! With the work I’ve been putting in during the off season i see this as a very realistic goal. continue reading

“Fail to prepare, Prepare to fail” Roy Keane

It is the start of September and the golf season is coming to an end. It is the time for review and to evaluate how the season went. A lot of golfers have already thought to 2014 and what they need to do to improve their games for next season. The intelligent and motivated golfers have already put plans in place and have put the wheels in motion to start their off season training in all aspects of their game. continue reading

The Story so far

The first half of the amateur season is done and dusted and after a couple of weeks off, the second half is about to commence with the North of Ireland starting monday. Ive been working on some technical stuff on my swing with Seamus Duffy the last couple of weeks so hopefully i can go into competition mode by monday. Its important to keep working on the fundamentals and skills when you get some time off. It can be very hard to do this during the season in Ireland with so many tournaments in quick succession. But i have done some good work the last couple of  weeks and it will keep me in good shape for the reminder of the season. Im hoping the second half of the season will be just as exciting as the first half. It has flew by so quickly but i guess thats what happens when you are having fun. Im going to write a little about my thoughts on each tournament so far this season and ill start with the latest tournament first. continue reading

The One A Into the West

‘On my last visit i talked about the four Bs. After a bitterly cold few days in Rosses Point there is only one A we need to talk about and that is ATTITUDE’

A week before the tournament top Irish coach Seamus Duffy organised a mini tournament for players that he coaches in the breathtaking resort of Rosapenna in Co. Donegal. It was my first time to the area and the scenic views on the drive to the golf club almost caused me to drive off the road. It really is that beautiful. The views don’t stop when you get to the golf course either. Stunning. A really fine golf course that tests every part of your game. It would be a fine venue for The Golfing Union to send a championship to in the foreseeable future. To make things even more enjoyable the director of golf Mr Frank Casey Jr looked after us so well we all believed we were tour players.  continue reading

SeveBallesteros

The Four Bs

‘If we were all playing our very best, there would be only one winner, every time; and that would be Sandy Lyle’  Severiano Ballesteros

Before turning professional the talented Scottish golfer Sandy Lyle was advised by his father that if he was to make it as a pro golfer he should be keen to avoid the three Bs. Birds , Booze and Boredom. Very wise words that Sandy would appear to have followed winning two major championships and an induction to the World Golf Hall of fame. Sandy has probably not been given the credit he deserves for his talent and success as a golfer. He certainly wasn’t a big hit with the media and a lot of people just couldn’t warm to him but his record speaks for itself and Sevy didn’t give out glowing compliments if it wasn’t the case. continue reading

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