Alex Noren is the Hottest Golfer on the Planet: Here's How He Trains
Thu Nov 17, 2016 by TPI
The exploits of European Tour golfers don't get nearly enough attention stateside and Alex Noren is no exception. The 34 year-old Swede has been lighting the golf world on fire this summer, winning four events in the last 5 months.
Noren has always received attention at home. After winning the Omega European Masters in 2009 and the Nordea Masters in 2011, Swedish media were labeling him the "next big thing," but Noren battled his swing and a nagging wrist injury that bothered him for almost three years. By January of 2015, he had fallen to 704th in the world.
Fast forward less than two years and Noren is the newest member of golf's top 10 at #9. Any golfer knows, success is never an accident. Rory recently lauded Noren's work ethic, calling him "one of the hardest working players on Tour." Like most pro golfers, fitness wasn't the reason for his success, but it played a role in it.
If you look through Noren's blog or Twitter feed, you'll see he's one of the most dedicated gym-goers in golf. When he was updating it regularly, every other post seem to feature a gym session.
Noren's caddy describes him as "an ambitious golfer who is in the gym if he's not playing golf."
But Noren is just mindlessly turning himself inside-out in the gym. Like all elite athletes, he has a plan... And a trainer. Check out this quote from Pierre Johansson, trainer to Noren and several golfers on the European Tour:
"We have a clear plan of the goals that we want to achieve in the gym. The goals are the result of a functional screening connected to swing biomechanics and individual conditions."
Sound like a familiar philosophy?
"There are several main issues we're trying to address," Johansson continues, "The first one is to be able to stay injury free to be able to practice as much golf as needed to improve that specific skill. The second one is to create a perfect balance between mobility and stability. In order to achieve this, we choose exercises to improve range of motion, core strength and power in that order."
One thing that jumps out about Noren's routine is that he and his trainer incorporate more Olympic variations and barbell/power lifts than most.
These sort of exercises aren't for everyone. The Olympic lifts require exceptional mobility, as detailed here by Dr. Zach Long, a FMS/SFMA Certified physical therapist specializing in strength training. The European Tour Performance Institute, which offers an extremely robust mobile gym at the majority of European Tour stops, also wrote a terrific piece on whether or not golfers should Olympic lift.
Our Advisory Board member and course instructor, Robert Yang, offers an introduction to Olympic Lifting in Fitness Level 2 and a hands-on demonstration in Fitness Level 3. Like any exercise, there is a time and a place, but if you're coaching an athlete who has the physical capabilities to perform Olympic lifts, they can offer tremendous benefits.
Noren's routine features relately low rep schemes, as he is prioritizing power not mass.
"We do just a few repetitions at every move. I want to be as strong as possible at 76kg," Noren says.
Many underestimate the benefits of strength in golf (which we've covered in previous articles), but, as things being equal, strength can always benefit a golfer. As FMS instructor Brett Jones puts it:
"Absolute strength is the glass. Everything else is the liquid in the glass. The bigger the glass, the more of everything else you can do."
There are a bunch of ways to get it done in the gym, this is just one of them. Noren isn't particularly long off the tee, but his swing is athletic and, most importantly, durable.