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Power Essentials Part 1: Ground Force & Leg Strength

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This is the first of a three part series I am going to put together on what golfers need to know about training their bodies to give them the potential to create more club head speed. In this part, I will be discussing ground force and leg strength. The next two will be x-factor, and x-factor stretch. The aim is to keep it very simple, and provide some information and exercises you can put into use immediately. If you enjoy the content, I have created the Fit For Golf Appwhich has a range of programs designed to improve your golfing body.  The advice in the articles and programs are a combination of my beliefs based on experience, and the scientific research I have studied.

Ground Reaction Force

In pretty much every sporting movement that the athlete is standing, the ability to push force into the ground is extremely important. Think of a sprint, rugby tackle, punch, or tennis shot. All of these actions require high levels of force to be produced. In these actions even though it is the upper limbs eventually transmit the force into the opponent or racquet, the generation of power begins with the feet pushing into the ground. As the athlete pushes force into the ground, there is an equal and opposite force from the ground transferred back to the athlete (Newton’s 3rd law). The athlete then transfers this force through their legs, into the trunk, torso, arms, and finally hands. This is exactly how force is created in the golf swings of the vast majority of highly skilled / high speed players. The term kinematic sequence is often used to label this, which just means the order by which we transfer force through the different segments of the body.

There are very intelligent and highly educated golf biomechanics experts who study these ground reaction forces in minute detail. The direction and timing of how each foot pushes is extremely important too, but I will not be attempting to dig into that level of detail in this article.

Conor McGregor uses ground force to generate power in his punches, much like a golfer uses ground force to generate club head speed.While it may be the hand ends up transmitting the force, it begins with the feet pushing into the ground. This is similar to how eventually the hands deliver force to the club in the swing, but the force generation starts from the ground. (photo: bjpenn.com)

During the golf swing, large ground forces are generated in short periods of time. We can enhance our ability to do this with appropriate physical and technique improvements.

Justin Thomas uses ground force to generate a high club head speed.
Lots of ground force for JT. Pushing feet down hard extends legs, spikes force, and increases speed. (photo: golfdigest.com)

Why Am I telling You This?

I have observed clients significantly increase their club head speed as a result of the training programs I prescribe. One of the reasons I believe this occurs is through a strong emphasis on developing the ability to push force into the ground through various types of jumping, squatting, deadlifting, lunging etc. As we know, if more force is pushed into the ground, there is a greater force transferred back into the body. More force transferred back into the body provides potential for more club head speed. I theorise that this increased force from the ground also gives the golfer a more stable base enabling them to rotate harder.  Weak lower bodies, low levels of ground force, and unstable bases do not provide a good platform for powerful athletic motions.

An Exercise to Improve Your Ground Force

Our muscles are what enable us to perform movement and produce force.

Stronger muscles = potential for more force.

The exercises below train the ability to produce ground force, which hopefully you can transfer to your swing to produce more speed.

Exercise 1: Squat Jump – Improves your ability to produce force quickly.

Exercise 2: Squat – Improves the total amount of force you can produce. Skip to 0:40 mark to see a dumbbell variation if you don’t have access to a squat rack.

Spend some time improving your squat, and your squat jump, and I guarantee you will see an increase in club head speed. The only times this doesn’t occur is if you’re already highly trained in jumping and lifting!

Try approximately 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps 2-3 times per week. As your strength increases, add weight.

The information I provided in this short piece is just the tip of the iceberg in optimally preparing your body for golf. If you like what you read, you may be interested in the Fit For Golf App which is being used by thousands of amateurs across the world and a number of tour pros!

Many program followers report increases of over 5mph club head speed in 12 weeks.

You can get 50% off your first month by entering FFGTRIAL at checkout. Just $6 for one month of access! 

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Please feel free to share, tag, and ask any questions.

Regards,
Mike Carroll