It’s fair to say most of us could do with a little extra clubhead speed, a few extra yards off the tee, and more wedges into greens.
Research suggests that as clubhead speed increases, handicap goes down. However, a great number of golfers are ‘leaving significant miles per hour on the table’. That’s the view of strength and conditioning coach Jamie Greaves. So, what can you do about it?
Plenty, as it happens, and the good news is you can increase your clubhead speed in the comfort of your own home. Golf lessons can help, of course, as a loss of speed can also be attributed to poor technique. However, some simple power and strength exercises can also help to unlock your clubhead speed potential.
‘Just a 4mph increase in swing speed could potentially mean ten extra yards of distance, so there is a huge opportunity for golfers to save multiple shots off their scores each round just by adding a bit more speed,’ says Greaves.
Here, the fitness guru shares his top 5 ways to improve your clubhead speed.
1. Squat Jumps
This exercise is simple but extremely effective in improving lower body power.
Start in a standing posture, then drop into a quarter squat position and explode up. Each time, you should land softly in that same quarter squat position. You don’t want to land with the legs straight or in a deep squat position and don’t sink into a squat that’s too low before trying to explode up.
I work with lots of senior golfers, and one of the great things about this exercise is that you don’t need to leave the ground, or you can hold onto something so when you land you don’t have to worry about balance. This is a nice entry point before you gain more confidence and start to jump more aggressively.
2 Backpack Lateral Lunge
Begin by standing and holding a weighted bag – perhaps a bag of practice balls.
Take a lateral step to one side and load into the heel and hip of that leg whilst the other leg straightens. Simultaneously push the bag out in front of you to act as a counterbalance and allow you to get deeper into your lateral lunge.
It’s important that you plant the whole of the stepping foot onto the floor and load into the heel. You must also try to stay strong and tall through the torso to avoid rounding excessively. Drive back off the stepping foot with intent each time and perform repetitions on both sides.
3 Elevated Push Up (Eccentric)
Now we’re concentrating on the upper body.
Imagine screwing your hands into a box or bench to stabilise the shoulders, and let the elbows track nicely. Lower down slowly and under control, and then push back up aggressively. Try not to extend or round excessively as you move, and don’t let the elbows flare out too much – keep them tucked in. You want to feel like the body moves as one whole unit on each repetition.
This exercise is really easy to manipulate. When the hands are higher, you have less body weight to push. Lower the hands when you feel ready, and the exercise will become harder – so maybe try push ups on the stairs first, and then move down the steps.
4 Banded Thruster
If you don’t own a resistance band, make sure you get one – it’s a great bit of kit that’s used by lots of Tour pros.
Start standing with the band under your feet and on the back of your shoulders. Drop down into a small squat and drive up aggressively pushing the band to the sky. If you experience discomfort behind the head, simply perform the same motion with the band on the front of the shoulders.
This is a great power exercise for golfers. The power starts in the ground and comes up the body and out through the arms, and it mirrors the same sequence as you get in a golf swing. Obviously, with the golf swing, there’s rotation involved, but this teaches the same sequence.
5 Banded Bent Over Row
Start standing with the band wrapped under your feet, gripping the band in each hand.
Soften the knees, push the hips back, and tilt over, keeping the torso strong. Row up and in, bringing the elbows towards the hips and pausing briefly at the top each time.
The idea is to stay in posture as you row, not round through the torso. Neither should you row up too high.
What I like about this exercise is that it helps you to develop a strong, solid posture.