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Golf muscle physiology/training for dummies (me!)

April 16 2010 at 7:42 AM

mcirishman57  (Login mcirishman57)
SAGF Members 2001

Response to Recruitment

All muscles contain some slow twitch and some fast twitch fibers.

The % of these fiber types varies from person to person.

You cannot convert slow twitch to fast twitch or vice versa by training/exercising.

The mass of the fiber type can be altered by training/exercise causing one type to atrophy ( get smaller) and the the other to hypertrophy (get bigger).

Slow twitch muscles have high endurance and fatigue slowly, but have little capacity for producing maximum explosive power. Fast twitch muscles can produce explosive power, but fatigue quickly.

During a physical activity, the smallest motor units are recruited first and these have the lowest firing threshold - slow twitch. Demands for larger forces are met by the recruitment of increasingly larger motor units. The largest motor units that contain the fast-twitch B fibers have the highest firing threshold and are recruited last.

A simple example of this would be the calve, leg and foot muscle groups. Just standing there,the slow twitch fibers are firing continuously - they are performing the work needed to maintain balance and stability. Now I want to jump as high as I can. My slow twitch fibers are already recruited and firing, now my fast twitch fibers fire to produce the force needed to jump.

No matter what the workout intensity, slow-twitch motor units are recruited first. If the workout intensity is low, these motor units may be the only ones that are recruited. If the workout intensity is high, such as when lifting heavy weights, per- forming intervals on the track, swinging a light club or using a speed chain; slow- twitch motor units are recruited first, followed by fast-twitch A and fast- twitch B, if needed.

What does this have to do with the golf swing and training it?

Try this experiment and see for yourself. Grab your weighted club or swing pipe, and for three minutes, make very slow motion swings with it. At the end of the three minutes, observe your heart rate, your breathing and in general how "tuckered out" you are. After a brief rest period, grab your driver, or even better a light shaft or rod, and swing it for three minutes as fast as you can...don't come out of your shoes or lose your balance, still try and make your best swing, but swing as hard as you can for three minutes - just keep swinging fast as you can. Observe again your heart rate, your breathing and in general how "tuckered out" you are. Which workout tired you more? Which one do you think recruited fast twitch fibers?

Draw your own conclusions, but here is mine. The golf swing uses both slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibers across a broad range of our total body muscles. Based on the data that Peter provided and what I have discovered, a golfer will never develop his maximum club head speed simply by training for proper technique slowly. Technique is VERY important, but it doesn't finish the job. To max out, a golfer must "train fast to be fast". The best training to develop maximum speed is one that focuses both on technique AND speed. The speed training component should be a regime that mimics or replicates as close as possible the actual golf swing.

Never quit til you have a swing you'll never forget!

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