How Much Training Is Enough?
SuperSpeed training sticks [review HERE] have become a must-have on the PGA Tour. Even at the recreational levels, more and more golfers are seeing the benefits of gaining speed and distance. But is there an easier way to gain distance? How much training do you need to do? What’s the right kind of training? Thanks to Chris Finn and Par4Success [visit them HERE], we have some answers.
Myth #1 – You need to train heavy to gain speed
Myth #2 – You need to train light to gain speed
Myth #3 – You need to vary training club weight to gain speed
Myth #4 – You need to train a lot to gain speed
How We Tested
This Golf Myths Unplugged is based on data collected from two studies completed by Par4Success.
In the first study, 29 golfers were randomly assigned to one of four groups. One group used all three SuperSpeed sticks and the full training protocol. The other three groups did reduced protocols using only the Light, Medium, or Heavy stick, respectively. Each golfer did the prescribed training twice per week for six weeks. Swing speed data was gathered before and after the six weeks of training.
In the second study, 17 golfers were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group used the SuperSpeed protocols with all three sticks, the second group trained only with the Medium stick. Both groups trained twice per week for eight weeks. Swing speed data was gathered before and after the eight weeks of training.
You do not need to train with a heavy golf club to gain speed. In fact, the first study found that, on average, training with only a heavy club resulted in a small loss of speed (-0.015%). In contrast, the group that trained with the Medium club gained an average of 5% more speed over six weeks.
The other extreme is no better: training only with the light club also caused the group, on average, to lose club head speed (-0.24%). Again, this is in contrast to the group that trained with the Medium stick which gained 5% club head speed.
People like variety. But when it comes to gaining swing speed, Par4Success’s studies show that it’s not necessary. In both studies, the difference in swing speed gains between the medium group and the group that trained with all three sticks was not statistically significant.
Professional athletes love to post pictures of themselves working out, leaving recreational athletes with the idea that you need to live in the gym to make gains. That’s not the case in general fitness or with swing speed training. In both studies, the medium group made only 60 swings/week, roughly 1/3 of SuperSpeed’s recommended amount, and made speed gains equivalent to the group that trained three times as much.
Please do not walk away from this article thinking that SuperSpeed, or overspeed training in general, is ineffective. It is absolutely effective, and I continue to use SuperSpeed training sticks regularly in my quest to get faster.
The two big takeaways are as follows. First, you should always use the minimum effective dose [more on that HERE]. If you can see gains from making ten swings a week, making twenty or fifty or a hundred is only overtaxing your body and setting you up for injury. Second, overspeed training is amazing at unlocking “latent speed,” but it should be used as part of a holistic plan that includes mobility assessments and traditional strength training. Learn more about mobility testing HERE.
Contact Par4Success to claim your free strategy call with a golf fitness expert HERE
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When you reference ‘medium’, what is the actual weight of the medium in your test samples?
300 grams is about the weight of a driver. If one group just used their own driver for the test I wonder if the results would’ve matched the “medium” group?
This is very interesting, I was always on the belief that it would take being a gym rat to gain distance.
Matt, thanks for another interesting piece. Has there been any research, or do you have any views, on whether, if one is using only the medium weight club, and striving for the minimum number of swings to gain speeed, what swings he or she be doing. The SuperSpeed recommended progression or something else?
Par4Success’s study uses the prescribed routine from Super Speed, so I would probably do that.
I just wonder, if you can compare this study to other speed trainers such as the speed stick, the Power fan and others out there.
Matt, were the speed gains made by those conducting minimal training, those that were initially at very low speeds? To refine my question, were these gains made by those that are (1) already in good swing shape and (2) in an upper tier of swing speed already?
To the best of my knowledge, the group was randomized, so the players in all groups should have been relatively equal.
Can you explain how the medium group came to make only 60 swings per week please?
Level 1 training would be 12 swings X 2 times per week = 24 swings.
Level 2 training would be 18 swings X 2 times per week = 36 swings
Level 3 training would be 24 swings X 2 times per week = 48 swings
level 4 training would be 30 swings X 2 times per week = 60 swings.
Are you saying that the participants got to level 4 within 6 weeks? If so, that doesn’t appear to be the schedule indicated by Superspeed Overspeed training, therefore how many weeks did they undertake at each level?
To my knowledge, the Level 1 protocols are 5 swings X 3 swing types X 2 sides. That’s 30 swings X 2 times/week for 60 swings/week.
This was a very informative article and helps to give me a much better perspective on speed training. Thanks.
I’m 71 with two torn rotators playing between and 8 and 9 and started using a speed stick last year primarily to stabilize my tempo. At the beginning of each round and sometimes during the round, I swing it until I’m happy with the tempo. I’m still able to hit it 220 and if I really catch it, 250 off the tee. More importantly, the rest of the clubs are consistent. It is an integral part of my game. Tempo keeps the ball in the short grass and is invaluable around the greens, including putting. I can still play with guys 20 years younger than me.
As someone close to 70 (who thinks he is still 40) I think it would be great to cover less physical suggestions such as yoga, stretching or even swing tips for adding speed. Thanks!
I just started with the SuperSpeed Training Program. I also visited a trainer at a great facility here in NE Ohio and did a functional movement screen. Cost me $35 bucks. He then gives me a printed lesson plan, and videos, no extra charge, to work on those areas where the Functional Movement Screen and the Thomas Test showed I needed improvement. I do the program 3 times a week. Just some food for thought for those who are trying to get “fit” for golf.
One of your most useful “myth busters”. Daunting to think of following the official protocol . Reassuring to know you can increase swing speed with a minimum of swings. Keep those myth busters coming!
Hello. I have been in between super speed sticks and rypstick. They both seem to be great form the articles I have read. Is there one you would recommend over the other
Both are great. It’s a question of whether you want three clubs or one. If you’re only training in one place, I don’t see a big advantage either way.