As a golf fitness pro, one of the top requests I get from new clients is that they want to increase their swing speed to add distance to their ball. My answer is always, yes we can get faster and we can get faster today. Adding just 1 mph to your swing will add 2.6 yards of carry which can be huge in your game. However, without consistent training, the new found swing speed will only last for a short time – a very short time. You’ll want to balance that out with “Overspeed Training.”
As with any fitness goal it’s important to develop a program that is effective and achieves the desired results. Adding overspeed training to your fitness program will make you well-rounded by increasing your swing speed AND strength. Overspeed training is only one piece; it’s a big piece because it’s what is going to build a new motor-pattern. Strength and mobility are very important and necessary components as well. So what exactly is “Overspeed Training”?
“Overspeed Training: Any training modality that provides a way for the body to actively displace at speeds higher than volitionally possible. The goal of overspeed training is to override current motor-patterns to create a motor-pattern that will enable faster unassisted speed later.” reference
Although many rotational sports (sports where a bone pivots or revolves around a single long axis) have been using overspeed training for years, it is a relatively new concept in golf. Rotational sports have a lot in common, such as they both use similar muscles and rely on the same kinetic-chain patterns. Baseball for example uses the same firing sequence as we use in golf. You may have seen baseball players using weighted bats to help them swing faster or weighted balls to throw faster, that’s overspeed training at a very basic level.
A solid fitness program that includes overspeed training will make you a better golfer. When I create a fitness program for my clients I build a plan that suits their individual fitness needs using some of the best tools I’ve found to date such as TRX, SuperSpeed Clubs, kettlebells, and medicine balls. ~TrainHardLiveFit
Here’s a great read if you’re interested in digging in a little deeper, with an excerpt below.
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DeRenne and Okasaki (1983) reported that using the power swing air resistance device or special heavy weighted bat (34oz) during training did produce a significant increase in bat velocity. The problem with their study was that there was no control group performing the same protocol with a normal bat. So it is not known if that would also have increased bat speed.
Sergo and Boatwright (1993) extended this study by adding a control group. They assigned 24 college batters randomly to 3 equal groups, each then did 20 sets of 5 swings with no more than 20 second rest between sets, 3 days per week for 6 weeks. The control group trained with a standard bat of their choice, a second group with a 62 oz, heavy bat (overload training only), and the third group alternated bats every 5 swings from the heavy bat to a very light plastic bat. This protocol attempted to vary between overload and over-speed training. Note that the heavy bat is about twice the weight of a normal bat and that only the control group trained with a normal bat. After a retest at the end of the 6-week period, all three groups found a significant improvement in bat speed with no significant difference between the methods, (control group 8.8% increase, heavy bat group 8.0% increase and alternating bat group 8.2% increase). The researchers concluded that swinging a bat 100 times per day, 3 days per week for 6 weeks significantly increases bat velocity, and that the training effect does not appear to be affected by the weight of the bat.
DeRenne, Buxton, Hetzler, and Ho (1995) disagreed with this conclusion suggesting that a reason the standard bat protocol was as good as the other two protocols was that the heavy bat was too heavy and the light bat was too light. In their study they used bats only 12% lighter and heavier than a standard bat. They studied 60 male university baseball players randomly assigned to 3 groups. Each group trained 4 days a week for 12 weeks and swung 150 times per session, with 15 sets of 10 swings and 30 second rest between sets.
The control group practiced swinging a regular bat without hitting a ball. Both the “batting practice” group and the “dry swing” group used alternating heavy, light and regular bats doing 50 successive swings of each bat. Each four weeks they incrementally increased the weight of the heavy bat by 1 oz and decreased the weight of the light bat by 1 oz.
The batting practice group always hit balls whereas the dry swing group just swung the bat. No additional weight training or batting practice was allowed during the experimental period. On final retest with a standard bat the batting practice group increased swing speed by 10%, the dry swing group by 6% and the control group by 1%.
These were all significant increases over their own group pretest speeds. Also the batting practice and dry swing groups showed significantly more improvement than the control group and the batting practice group showed significantly more improvement than the dry swing group. This was the first study to successfully show that appropriate use of a weighted or un-weighted bat improved swing speed more than simply swinging a regular bat.