Training for Swing Speed
High speed light weight exercises are an important element of a golfers training program when trying to increase swing speed.
There are specific central nervous system and muscular adaptations that occur as a result of training programs that focus on high speed light weight exercises, compared to low speed heavy weight exercises.
Swing Speed Misconceptions
Increasing how much weight you can lift is not the same as increasing how fast you can move a light weight object (i.e golf club).
This is especially true once you get past the beginner phase of strength training. In the beginner stages, just training with heavy weights will increase strength, and how quickly you can move light implements.
Over time this transfer will reduce, stop, or possibly even become counter productive if too much emphasis and training time is spent on forcing more and more strength, at the expense of training speed development.
Strength or Speed Training (or Both)?
I prescribe a combination of heavy strength exercises to increase muscle strength and size, and also light weight fast exercises to improve speed in all of my training programs. Developing muscle strength and size with heavy weight lifting will increase our base for force production, which is very important for speed, but on its own will not allow us to reach our speed potential.
If we have small and weak muscles that cannot produce a lot of force and only practice light weight high speed exercises we will improve swing speed, but our potential for speed improvement will be much less than if we were also developing our muscle strength and size.
Combining heavy strength training, and light weight high speed training is better than focusing on either alone.
Almost everybody needs a combination of both. For people who have a good background of heavy weight lifting, but very little speed training, they will benefit more from light weight high speed training. They should keep some heavy strength training in their program, but the emphasis would be on light weight high speed exercises.
Maximum speed golf swings are speed training, as it’s moving a light weight implement very quickly. For golfers who have a lot of background swinging golf clubs as fast as they can, but no experience with heavy strength training I think they should place most of their training emphasis on developing muscle strength and size. People in this category would still have light weight high speed exercises in their program, but the focus would be on developing muscle strength with heavy weights.
A key factor in all of this is how much practice / training a golfer does working on maximum swing speed. Swinging golf clubs as fast as possible is high speed light weight training. The more a golfer does this type of practice, the less light weight high speed training they need and the more they will benefit from continuing to improve their muscle strength and size. This will continue to raise their speed potential.
The less swing speed practice a golfer does, the more they will need to implement light weight high speed exercises similar to the golf swing in their training.
*NB* – Using a radar like the PRGR during speed practice on the range and charting results on a spreadsheet is extremely effective for increasing swing speed. 2-3 sessions per week of 15-30 balls after a thorough warm-up will make a huge difference over time. Use code fitforgolf to get 10% off the PRGR radar.
Resistance bands are a great tool to work on light resistance / weight high speed exercises. The routine below is perfect to implement 3 times per week, in conjunction with heavy weight strength work. (BAND LINK)
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Always happy to get your comments or feedback,