Speed. Everyone wants it in the golf swing, but few really know how to train for it, or really want to put in the actual effort it requires to attain it. It’s a hot topic right now, and for good reason. The faster you’re able to swing the club, while maintaining optimal strike patterns, the further the ball goes, which very obviously puts you closer to the hole leaving you a shorter club into the green. So how does one go about increasing their speed? Is it through speed specific training with speed sticks? Is it through strength training? Is it by just swinging as hard as you can every time you practice? Lets answer a few of those questions, by the way it’s not the last one.
Put simply, speed and power are a function of strength. The stronger someone is, the more power they will be able to produce. If you want to look at power as an equation, it’s Power or Speed = (Force x Distance) / Time. Simply put we increase force through strength training, we increase distance in the back swing through mobility training, and we decrease time through speed specific training. That’s the short quick and easy answer.
For those that want a more in depth answer, let’s look at the very first variable in this formula, Force. Force is the maximum amount of energy you can transition into an object. How do you increase this variable within the equation though? The big answer to this question and the one above is through a COMBINATION of strength training, mobility training, and speed training. To break this down further and in a simple manner, a bigger/stronger muscle is going to be a faster muscle. The common rebuttal to that though is “look at the power lifters and strongmen who compete, they are way too big to even swing a club” to which my response would be that everyone’s strength is specific. A power lifter or Olympic weightlifter can lift any amount of weight off the ground faster than anyone because that is what they specifically train for. They also train those muscles that drive those movements in isolated, non-specific ways as well, because they know that a bigger muscle is a stronger muscle. That’s why I wanted to specifically emphasize that it’s through a COMBINATION of strength training, mobility training, and speed training. Training just for strength alone isn’t enough to increase speed, you need speed specific work in conjunction with your strength and mobility training.
The body follows what is known as the S.A.I.D principle, which stands for, Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand. The body is incredibly good at adapting to whatever stress or demand you place on it. If you’re training to get stronger, while simultaneously doing some sort of speed training, for example speed sticks, you will increase your club head speed, but you can’t have one without the other. Speed training specifically keeps your central nervous system on par with how strong you are, and is a skill that needs to be trained and developed just like any other part of the golf swing.
The next part of this equation is Distance, which in the golf swing can be measured by how far the club head is away from the golf ball. The further you can disassociate the upper body from the lower body, the larger that distance gets. This is where mobility plays it’s part, and why you see long drive competitors with incredible shoulder turns. This thoracic spine mobility that they have allows them to “coil” up to a maximum degree which increases the distance that the club travels.
Time is the final piece to the puzzle, and is what we are fighting against here. We’re looking to accelerate from the top as quickly as possible to reduce this part of the equation as much as possible. This is where speed training plays it’s biggest role, again we are training our nervous system to fire as quickly and efficiently as possible to decrease the amount of time between transition and impact.
SMART Golf & Fitness Instruction is the best place in the Chicagoland area to work on every aspect of your game, including speed. Our fitness professionals are experts in helping you get stronger, faster, and moving better. Contact our team to learn more or become a member at SMART Golf & Fitness Instruction.
Kody is a graduate of Northern Illinois University where he graduated with his B.S in Athletic Training, as well as his M.S in Sport Management. He has practiced as a board certified Athletic Trainer for the past seven years, and has worked with every level of athlete from high school, collegiate, and professional. His background in sports medicine and rehabilitation has given him a different vantage point when assessing a golfer’s movement patterns.
Kody believes there are three things that are most important when it comes to making a change to your golf fitness: assessment, consistency, and goals. He believes these things are most crucial because you will never be able to properly correct something you haven’t fully evaluated and assessed. Progress will never be made if there is no dedicated consistency to the program and process, and you need to set goals in order to drive continuous improvement.
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