Earning the Right to Swing Hard

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In a couple of weeks we will be hosting an event at our facility, the 90 MPH Formula.

When speaking with the creator, Josh Heenan, I was really interested in what he had to say. I didn’t personally know Josh so I was really hoping that it wasn’t going to be something like throw weighted balls and that’s it.

I was relieved on the phone that his philosophies align with ours. The 90 MPH Formula is a set of metrics that a pitcher should hit in order to throw 90 but also withstand it.

I really like this premise because it shows the importance of strength as it relates to performance. One of the metrics is a 250 lb chinup. That is bodyweight plus the difference to get to 250. I would need about 90 lbs hanging from me.

Once I saw the criteria, it was a no-brainer. If you hit these numbers then you definitely have the strength to throw at a high level.

The theme of this program is no different than that of golfers. Change 90 MPH with 120 MPH club head speed. Switch weighted balls with weighted clubs. The parallels are obvious.

The use of weighted clubs can be really helpful in reinforcing high swing speeds. I am not a fan of using them just to get to a number. I want golfers to be physically able to swing that fast and withstand the amount of force it takes.

Swinging a golf club is one of the most powerful movements in sport. The club is light which means we can generate great speed. Golfers must be able to handle these kinds of actions. Swinging like crazy just to get to Rory’s speed is not a sound strategy.

You Need Strength to Swing Fast

Power is work over time. The golf swing is a powerful movement. We can increase work, decrease time, or both. Decreasing time is typical of trying to swing hard. That is only going to go so far until we have to increase work.

Work is force times distance. Increasing force production is through strength training. That is the definition of muscular strength- increase force production capacity. Training for strength will help increase power and as a result, club head speed.

You Need Strength to Withstand Swinging Fast

Injuries happen when the amount of forced placed on a joint exceeds what it can handle. Joints are made up of bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles.

Muscles are the easiest tissue to improve strength in. Strong muscles will provide stability for the joints. The other things are harder to build up and provide support for the joints.

Swinging a golf club at high speeds requires a lot of force absorption or else injury can occur.

Practice Other Things Fast

I like the use of medicine balls, jumps, and other lifts to reinforce speed training. They are a good bridge between strength and swinging.

Using medicine balls, for example, are great because you can throw them really hard but the speed will be a touch less because of their weight.

I think this stage is essential for making the link between strength training and hitting the ball.

Metrics? 

I do not have criteria or specific numbers like Josh has for baseball players. What I would like to instead provide is some numbers to aim for to be durable enough for the golf swing.

These are minimums for durability.

Deadlift- 2x bodyweight

-those that do not deadlift can do a 2.5x body weight barbell glute bridge

Chinup- 8 full range of motion at bodyweight

Pushups- bodyweight + 25% bodyweight in added load

RFE Split Squat/Bulgarian- 50% bodyweight for 6 each leg

I am confident that if you can hit those numbers then strength is not your problem. You may need further assessment from a fitness, medical, or golf pro but you should at least have the strength to swing and withstand higher speeds.