To lift heavy or to move quickly. How to increase club head speed.
Just like any other golfer, I want to hit the ball further. However, naively, many golfers opt to purchase a new driver. Shortly afterwards, they realise that the ball doesn’t go a whole lot further! A scientifically proven way to increase driving distance and club head speed is through strength and power training (Lephart et al 2007; Doan et al 2006 & Fradkin et al 2010).
Mimicking golf specific movements with weights or load might appear to be the best strength and power training for golf. These might have their place in certain programmes, however these are very poor strategies to get stronger.
Golf involves moving a light load quickly, which requires both strength and power. That’s because strength is the ability to exert force and power is force x velocity. Therefore, strength is required for power.
There are 4 different types of strength and power training which are important in golf. To see the greatest improvements in club head speed, you want to focus on what you are least good at!
The 4 types of strength and power training include:
- Max Strength – This involves lifting something heavy near your 1RM (one-repetition maximum is the total amount of weight you can lift just once). Key lifts include squats, deadlifts and bench press (just to name a few) and they will involve high load but will be at a low speed.
- Strength-Speed – This involves moving slightly lighter weights, albeit relatively near to your 1RM, however, a little bit quicker. This can include your Olympic lifts and their variations.
- Speed-Strength – This includes lifting or moving lighter loads at an even quicker speed. An example would be medicine ball throws.
- Max Speed – This involves using very lightweight or no weight. An example of this would be bodyweight plyometrics. The golf swing would be another example.
Golfers usually spend most of their time moving something very light (i.e. the golf club) and moving at high speeds or velocities. Some golfers then might train to increase their club head speed and driving distance through golf specific drills and medicine ball throws. However, they would benefit far more from lifting heavier loads (and training for max strength and strength-speed).
For the majority of golfers, their weakness will be with max strength and strength-speed. Although, this being said, golfers should not neglect the other parts of a successful strength and power training programme, such as the speed-strength and max speed exercises.
Take home points:
- Train all four strength and power disciplines to achieve the greatest improvements in club head speed and driving distance, however, concentrate on those that you are least good at.
- It is thought that most golfers would benefit most with more max strength and strength-speed training.
- Strength and power training is scientifically proven to help improve you club head speed and driving distance.