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What Muscles are Most Important for CLUBHEAD SPEED?

They all are.


Our body is an interconnected unit.


Every muscle plays a role in the creation of coordinated movement.


Everything from our foot muscles which help us interact with the ground, to the small muscles of our forearms that help control the club, to the larger muscles of the glutes and quads that will develop massive amounts of power.


They all play a role, HOWEVER, from a training perspective, certain muscles should be prioritized over others.


WHY SHOULD YOU WANT MORE CLUBHEAD SPEED?


Distance massively helps scoring.


More than putting even 😲 (Don't believe me? Go read Mark Broadie's Every Shot Counts)


First, being longer off the tee gives us more options on the course. We can carry the ball to places we couldn't before. We no longer need to layup on that short Par 4 or reachable Par 5.


Second, improving clubhead speed makes our current clubhead speed much less impactful. We can recover from our current clubhead speed much easier - because our speed reserve is much greater. I wrote more about this HERE if you're interested.


Third, more speed means shorter irons into the green... which will greatly help our scoring. Would you rather have an 8 iron or a 5 iron into the green?


How Should We Train These Muscles in order to Gain SPEED?


[1.] We should STRENGTHEN them.


Doing so will allow them to produce more force, which is the creator of speed.


Also, strength training will improve the function of our fast-twitch muscle fibers - the important ones for your golf swing.


[2.] We should expose these muscles to SPEED in order to promote higher contractile velocity and build velocity specific adaptations!

 
 

BETTER MUSCLES DOES NOT MEAN BETTER GOLF SWING


This is a critically important understanding.


Muscles are important for your golf swing and movement more generally, BUT making them stronger/faster alone will not directly improve your golf swing.


The golf swing is a complex, technically driven skill.


In order to improve at it, we need to practice it.


Strengthening and building speed in these muscles will assist the improvement process, but doing a few exercises alone isn't going to drop your handicap by 5 strokes.


There's a reason bodybuilders and power lifters aren't the best golfers in the world.


Lifting and training the muscles will help us on the golf course, but we need MORE than simply physical training to improve our golf game - Never forget this important fact!


WHICH MUSCLES CREATE CLUBHEAD SPEED?


Again, there are many, but here are 5 muscles critical to the creation of clubhead speed.


[1.] Lats

Image from legionathletics.com


The lats are responsible for extending the shoulder joint, or pulling it downward once it's elevated.


Because of this, it plays an important role in the creation of speed.


Use THIS EXERCISE to SPEED UP THEM LATS.




[2.] Glutes


The glutes help turn and extend the pelvis... which is exactly what our lower body needs to achieve to create massive clubhead speed.


Check out Kyle Berkshire at impact below.


His pelvis is rotated fully, facing the target, and his hips are extended.


Both, in part, driven by proper glute function and power!


To attack the glutes and prepare them to create big clubhead speeds we can make use of exercises such as KB Swings or rotational med ball throws.


To strengthen them, which is something MANY golfers should prioritize, we can use Back Squats, RDLs, and RFE Split Squats.


[3.] Quads


The quadricep muscle group is responsible for extending the knees.


Let's revisit that picture above of Kyle and notice both of his knees in a fully extended (straightened) position.


They weren't like that a few milliseconds ago.


Great drivers of the golf ball sink down into a minor squat during the transition and the beginning of the downswing. They then extend and rotate violently, pushing the ground away from them.


This process in large part is driven by the powerful quadricep muscle group.


To strengthen them, we are going to perform our basic lower body lifts:

  1. Back Squats

  2. RFE Split Squats

And to expose them to velocity, use basic jumps, like these:

  1. Hexbar Jumps

 
 

[4.] Core / Obliques


Image from bodybuilding-wizard.com


Many talk about the core as a protective mechanism for the spine.


But, here's the thing, the core also includes many muscles that are necessary to create clubhead speed - especially, the obliques.


The obliques pull us into lateral bending at the spine.


When we pair this movement with the action of the glutes and quads, we find the lower body impact position everybody craves.


One of my favorite exercises for training the core and obliques to become the gas station that they are is a SPINAL SLAM.




[5.] Pecs


Last but not least, the pecs (chest) play a critical role in the creation of clubhead speed.


They are responsible for horizontally adducting the arm - one of the central actions of the trailing arm in your downswing.


Strengthen the pecs and expose them to speed in training in order to prepare them for your golf swing - and hopefully ramp up that clubhead speed!


Use THIS EXERCISE to expose the pecs to speed in training.


Use THIS EXERCISE to strengthen them!


CONCLUSION


More clubhead speed...


Is more fun,


Helps us score,


Improves longevity,


And, is just an awesome thing. Hitting bombs is probably the best part of golf.


In order to hit bombs, we need to prepare our bodies correctly.


Join SCRATCH to do just that.


 

Carter Schmitz

Founder and Head Coach - SCRATCHGolfTraining.com

CSCS, TPI


Carter is a strength and conditioning coach out of the Milwaukee area working with athletes, in-person and virtually. Having helped hundreds of athletes, ranging from the middle school to the professional level and beyond, Carter brings a breadth of experience and knowledge to every athlete he works with. He launched SCRATCHGolfTraining.com in the summer of 2021 to help empower golfers to greater performance and longevity.


Carter believes ALL golfers are athletes, and they should be training accordingly.


Become a SCRATCH Athlete today, and start training like the ATHLETE you are!