A new age of Golf performance
As new evidence emerges, AthleteIQ is committed to bringing the latest scientific methods and evidence based techniques to improve a golfers health, safety and overall performance.
Training to make a difference
Focus on training the correct physical characteristics clinically proven to enhance your golf game.
Assess key physical performance metrics through testing and develop an athlete-centric, physical development program based on data.
Training vs Practice
Develop a specific physical quality then do the practice work to allow that skill or movement to recognize the new quality enhanced by training and use it more effectively. Improving the body is the foundation of skill. If the body is inhibited, all the practice in the world won't improve your skill!
Social Media is focused on "golf-like" fitness and results-empty exercises. As true strength training becomes more accepted in the golf world, it becomes important to maximize results and remove risky, time-wasting, "golf-ish" exercises that have little to no performance benefit.
Athleteiq is commited to improving your game!
For a more in depth look, continue reading
Analyzing and assessing the physical performance metrics of a golfer is just as important as any other sport. The entire point of sports science is to improve decision making when it comes to programming exercises for physical improvement.
The two most important pieces that give us the most quantifiable information are the Functional Range Assessment and a strength assessment.
Functional range assessment (FRA)
This article mostly delves into the strength side of golf performance, but it can't be stated enough just how important (arguably, the most important) joint mobility at building a robust internal structure has on improving movement behavior.
For more information see Mobility, Functional Range Assessment and Internal Strength on the main page
Force plate technology
One of the biggest advancements in physical and technical training for golf has been the adoption of force plate analysis.
Force plates provide valuable information regarding how strong an athlete is and how much of that strength can be used during fast movements. Force plates detect and measure multiple strength and acceleration properties, imbalances and many other qualities that are clinically proven to enhance golf performance.
Information from FRA and a force plate assessment takes the guess work out of generating a training direction of progress.
Force plates offer unparalleled insights into musculoskeletal and neural performance, fatigue monitoring, injury risk and more.
"Simply calculating an athletes peak power, which factors an athletes weight with their jump height produced the single greatest relationship between changes in club-head speed."
Force plate strength testing has opened doors not previously available to golfers and it has insights as to what exactly is the golfers strengths and weaknesses.
Performance enhancement for golf:
A new perspective
There are thousands of hours of golf fitness videos, lectures and scientific papers from leaders in golf performance like Titleist Performance Institute and many others so there is no need to reinvent the wheel.
However, a review of the latest science makes one thing clear, one of the most important questions we must answer when it comes to physical training for golf is which characteristics will have the greatest impact on improving a golfers health, safety, speed and overall performance?
For years, golf instructors focused there efforts on hand position, club position, shoulder tilt and countless other body movements. Now, armed with a better understanding of physics and the specific motions and forces that occur during a swing we can now understand these subtle movements are simply a result of the golfers interaction with the ground. Subtle changes in these ground reaction forces have a dramatic impact on the body's kinetic chain and path of the club itself!
When it comes to physical preparation, time in the gym must not take away from practice, nor should it cause fatigue or injury resulting in decreased practice time.
Efficiency is most important to maximize both on and off course improvements due to the high practice demands of golf.
Therefore, analyzing, assessing and training for specific physical capacities becomes just as important for golfers just as it is for any other sport.
ground reaction forces in golf
The experts at the Titleist Performance Institute and many others are leading the way and waging war against results empty, risky exercises that promise the "feel" of golf with little or no benefit for enhancing performance.
After analyzing millions of swings, instructor ,biomechanist and performance coaches have come to understand the importance of timing, duration and the three ground reaction forces exerted in a golf swing- vertical, horizontal and torsional.
"Somewhat counterintuitively, the vertical force is the biggest from a performance production standpoint in a golf swing."
Titleist Performance Institute, Medical Provider,
Golf Digest Top 50 BEST Golf Fitness Trainers,
Director of PT and Research Par 4 Success
While all three forces play a critical role in optimizing a players swing, speed and control, by far the factor that contributes the most is vertical force production from the ground through the body.
Chris Finn is a licensed PT, TPI certified medical professional and two time World Golf Summit presenter. He had this to say about vertical force assessment and production in golf.
"The future of rotation power training in golf lies in the ground, and now we train our rotational athletes to maximize the power they can create from it."
"Improper use of the ground can lead to an athlete producing HALF of the speed they are capable of."
"A common flaw in rotational training with medicine balls, cables, fly wheels and band training is severe lack of attention to coaching athletes on using the ground maximally."
Improving vertical power in golfers
It now becomes important to look at your golf fitness in a new light and focus on the correct physical characteristics that have tremendous benefit in improving your body and golf game.
There are three simple physical attributes that increase vertical force output. They are maximal strength, rate of force development and reactive strength.
Maximal Strength, also called Absolute Strength, is the greatest amount of force that can be voluntarily produced regardless of time.
Improving your maximal strength also has a subsequent goal of improving tissue quality so that it is resilient against the high amount of sport specific practice needed to practice and play golf at your highest level.
Developing maximal strength is a prerequisite capacity and serves to improve the other strength attributes listed below.
For de-conditioned adults and seniors, the conversations have turned into ways to keep the entire body healthy. Nutrition, fat loss (not necessarily weight loss), increasing joint function all saw increases in swing speed.
*Hinging your hips means learning to initiate movements with your hips instead of overloading your knees and ankles.
*Hip hinging is the universal athletic position. Hinging the hip causes the MOST force generation.
*Data over the last five years has started to show an interesting link between hip hinging strength, club speed and injury risk.
"Two most common problems with golfers is overuse of the low back and a lack of both relative and absolute strength."
"Hinging strength and power are universally recognized pieces of the performance/injury reduction puzzle in golf."
We have found that hip hinge is one of the most important weight room exercises when it comes to strength training in golf.
rate of force development
Speed strength, also known as Rate of Force Development (RFD), is a measure of explosive strength or simply how fast an athlete develops force. Improving RFD will make them more explosive as they can develop larger forces in a shorter amount of time. Higher RFDs have been directly linked with better jump, sprint, cycling, weight lifting and golf swing performance!
There is a finite amount of time during a swing that force can be applied to the club. The problem is that there are only small improvements you can make to change that amount of time.
Increasing thoracic rotation can create more shoulder turn, but that may provide only an extra 10 degrees with which to produce force. This is very small in the grand scheme of things.
Therefore, the amount of vertical force a golfer can apply only matters if they can apply the force during the short amount of time in a golf swing.
The stretch shorten-cycle
Reactive strength and plyometric ability are often used interchangeably. It is a key strength and power ability driving athletic performance.
Reactive strength is unique in that it involves the ability to couple movements that lengthen tissue (eccentric movement) followed by movements that shorten tissue (concentric movements). These movements are called stretch-shorten-cycles (SSCs).
It is the athletes ability to absorb forces in minimal time and to very quickly use those forces to generate maximal force in another direction that makes the athlete "pop".
Explosiveness: What is it?
Is it Rate of force development?
Is it reactive strength?
Explosiveness is a special strength quality that is the summation of both reactive strength and rate of force development. The ability to explode from the ground is only available to the athlete that displays high reactive strength ability as well as high rate of force production and discharge.
(tissue based capacity)
Rate of Force Development
(CNS based capacity)
This doesn't mean the CNS doesn't have an effect on reactive strength, it just does so indirectly. The rate of force production is highly dependent on maximal strength capacity, which is entirely a neurological mechanism of strength.
Reactive strength is a representation of fast SSC function. The phase between the rapid change from eccentric to concentric must be short. This requires that potential energy be stored during the eccentric phase then quickly dissipated to generate a quick and forceful movement. This is called the ammortization phase. It is the time between loading and unloading and is a huge key to understanding reactive strength and its impact on high performance.
Behaviorally, connective tissue is designed specifically for this purpose. It is an energy absorbing and dissipating tissue.
Herein lies the training conundrum that is missed in many training programs. Plyometrics have been shown to have minimal effect on tissue specific properties but great effect on the neurological mechanisms of strength.
Reactive strength is a tissue specific capacity and must be appropriately trained to maximize the neurological effects of fast SSC based plyometrics.
Structural Gearing: For fast SSC contractions, the connective tissue must stiffen so the fascicle, a bundle of muscle fibers, can generate a "pull" on it to allow force to be generated. This occurs at each fascicle by rotating in unison, allowing for a very rapid output which occurs far quicker than the CNS can account for. This forms the mechanism for reactive strength as a tissue specific property.
It is important to build the behavior of connective tissue stiffness (and therefor energy absorbtion and dissipation) as a method of building the emergance of reactive strength.
An interesting question many golfers are asking based on Bryson DeCambeau's success and the bulky figures that compete in Long Drive competitions.
The simple answer is no
It is only the amount of mass that can be accelerated that will lead to increased swing speed.
Understanding that training for maximum strength and hypertrophy (increasing muscle size) are different , and by definition training heavy means training slow, simply training for size will de-train speed!
You must develop other qualities such as speed-strength and RS already discussed to make the extra mass "usable".
So, mass does not necessarily equal gas.
Metrics from force plate testing can determine if extra weight gain was useful for golf performance.
When it comes to physical preparation, time in the gym must neither take away from practice time, nor cause fatigue or injury. Efficiency is of the utmost importance to maximize both on and off course improvements.
Therefore, analyzing important golf related metrics to inform training programs of specific strengths and deficits is important to maximize results.