Rory McIlroy isn't the biggest guy, but he can certainly hit the long ball. The 5-foot-9 four-time Major champion currently boasts the third-longest average driving distance on Tour at a momentous 314.2 yards—ahead of reputed bombers like Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka.
Although McIlroy wasn't able to nab a major victory this year, his 11 top-10 finishes currently rank first on Tour. His fitness routine is an integral part of that success.
It's no-frills, which is just how the two-time PGA Player of Year award-winner likes it."Forty-five minutes, I get in, I get out. It's not too complicated, but it works for me," McIlroy says.
After a short warm-up that includes some shoulder pre-hab work, scapular stabilization exercises and hip mobility moves, McIlroy knocks out several sets of each the following:
- Trap Bar Deadlift. McIlroy likes this as a "low-risk" alternative to heavy back-squatting, which is really smart. He'll usually work up to a couple heavy sets around 250 pounds, then drop down to 200 for some higher-rep hypertrophy work.
- 15-Degree Incline Dumbbell Press. Dumbbells play a massive role in McIlroy's routine thanks to their innate ability to destroy asymmetries. "I don't use a barbell when I'm doing stuff (like) pressing. It's always a dumbbell. Because I know (with a barbell) that I'll be able to get it up some way, but it won't be efficient and it won't be correct form," McIlroy told Flaherty. "So I'm always using dumbbells instead of using a barbell because I know I still have imbalances in my body and I try to make those as close as possible to each other."
- Neutral Grip Pull-Ups. McIlroy will work up to a set of heavy two, often adding a 25- or 45-pound plate around his waist to up the intensity.
- Farmer's Walks or Side Planks. Both excellent choices that help reinforce Rory's core strength and stability.
If you're looking for an effective full-body strength workout, you could do a lot worse. McIlroy also detailed how putting more of a deliberate focus on breathing has become a big priority for him. He sets aside at least 10 minutes a day to focus solely on his breath.
"I breathe for at least 10 minutes a day. I make sure that I put my feet up on a block, I make sure that I breathe properly. And that's something—I never thought about breathing until about a year ago. And just to make sure—you know, I've had some problems with my ribs. I've had a stress fracture in one of my ribs. And that's because where my rib cage sat. So I'm trying to get my rib cage down, trying to breath through my diaphragm and breath the right way. And that's really helped. We all breath, but we never really think about do we breathe properly? So if there's one thing I do in my routine everyday, I breath," McIlroy says.
"I close my eyes, I focus on my breath, and I do that for 5-10 minutes, and then all of the sudden, you open your eyes, and the world seems like a bit of a better place."
Photo Credit: Nike