Flywheel Training For Golf: Boost Clubhead Speed
Ben Shear is the chief fitness advisor for Golf Digest Magazine. He is the Performance Coach for players on both the PGA and European tour and the owner of a facility in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, where he works with golfers of all levels.
In our latest Youtube video, Ben Shear breaks down the benefits of flywheel training for golf and its advantages over traditional workout exercise equipment such as bands, cables, and free weights.
I think a couple of things with the golf swing. Firstly, there are three parts: the backswing, where we turn and load the trunk eccentrically. Then when we get to the top, we have this isometric moment before bringing that club down in that concentric phase.
So, we have these three phases going on in the golf swing and what's important and valuable about flywheels is that you can train all three muscle contractions simultaneously. The eccentric load isn't high enough if we're trying to train concentrically using free weights.
Whereas with the flywheel, we can get an equal concentric and eccentric load. Because of inertia and the wheel's spinning, this large braking eccentric force leads to a significant isometric contraction at the top to stop the wheel before going again.
I call that last little part kind of a "yielding isometric" before getting into that full dead stop. Obviously, when something's spinning one way with all that inertia and trying to get it going forward in that concentric phase, I will have to generate high levels of force, much more than I would when using a traditional cable column or free weight exercise.
So the flywheel allows me to challenge concentric, isometric, and eccentric contractions all in one exercise while also generating a large amount of force production. This will help me increase clubhead speed, a vital KPI for long drives off the tee.
If you understand the golf swing, you know you have three motions. To get to the backswing, we have a lateral movement as we move into the ball, then we have a rotary component. Most of us think of golf as a rotary sport. However, we have a vertical component as we post up and move into impact.
Using the Exerfly Platform is an excellent way for us to go and train those vertical components. And then, on the Exerfly Rack Mount horizontal pulley, we can train diagonal movement at whatever angle we want. Then we're going to get that rotary component and that horizontal component.
So just with two pieces of equipment, I can hit all of the planes of motion: lateral motion, rotary, and vertical during eccentric, isometric, and concentric contractions.
This type of training is very beneficial and gives you faster results than traditional exercise equipment.
Anybody can use the flywheel training device. There are different size wheels like traditional weights, so there are different resistance levels. What's cool about flywheel training is that it's got an autoregulation system built-in, meaning that I will get back from the flywheel what I give it. This is known as variable resistance.
So, suppose someone is smaller or younger and maybe doesn't have as much strength. In that case, they're going to be using a smaller wheel, but at the same time, the wheels can ever go so fast, or it's so big that they're going to get overpowered by it.
So it can be safe and effective for anyone because you can regulate the amount of load, and they can still reap the same benefits from the flywheel device.
We traditionally hear people say, "Oh, don't do strength training for young kids." This is a great safe way to train, and because you're challenging the eccentric component reducing the risk of injury.
I love the Exerfly Platform flywheel device. This is the showpiece I would say of the Exerfly for various reasons. This device is great because of the size of the overall platform. It's much larger than other platforms, which is nice, especially if you have big athletes.
If you're working with tall athletes doing a split squat or a similar exercise, being able to have more room is a bonus.
Further, it's heavy and durable. It's not jumping off the ground or moving around when exercising on it. It's a comfortable, safe, stable feeling piece of equipment. The bench is unique because it can easily be unscrewed and removed and even turned sideways in the other direction.
This is perfect for the hip thrust exercise to load the hips. Additionally, the bench is flat and can be put into an incline position, so this allows me to do a lot of upper body exercises, not just lower body exercises like some of the other pieces of flywheel equipment. So the bench is a big add-on.
One of the other unique things is this has two pulleys. Most flywheel systems are single pulley systems. While I can use this as a single pulley system, I can also use it as a double pulley system, allowing me to do exercises like back squats, bench press, or shoulder press.
I can do bilateral exercises, not just unilateral, from the upper body perspective and the lower body perspective, which is essential for overall athletic development. These flywheels are smooth, they move nicely, and you don't feel like it's got any vibration disturbing the movement.
The last thing that makes the Exerfly Platform unique is the option to get motorized technology. What the motorized technology does is it allows you to get an eccentric overload. So what's eccentric overload? It means I will have to generate more force during the muscle lengthening or downward phase of a movement.
Let's use a squat as an example. When I'm going down, that's the eccentric phase of that motion in my squat. I can have an eccentric overload that I program. Not only can I program it, but I can also decide exactly how much overload I want. Do I want 10%? 15%?
Whatever the case may be, it's great for your more advanced athletes. You're not going to take somebody new to working out or flywheel training and then just start jacking them up with large motorized loads.
But if you have advanced athletes, that eccentric phase is important from injury prevention and performance perspective.
It allows us to generate more force in a golf swing. If I get a more considerable eccentric overload, when I go into my backswing through my torso from my hip and my trunk, I'm eccentrically loaded, and then I create what's called an "X-Factor" stretch.
When I start moving my lower body down before my upper body, this dynamic action is significantly related to the eccentric phase. And because I can eccentrically overload my system, this is a great way to help me increase my power output.
The Exerfly Portable Flywheel Device has nine pieces. You are done piecing it together with a couple of simple hand-tightened screws. The cool thing about the portable is that the pulley mechanism within the Portable device can also be used as a Rack Mount.
So you can get all of your rotary and horizontal type exercises with the Exerfly Portable. If you're a person who's been training on flywheels in the gym or at home and want to get on the road and continue your training, this will allow you to do it. This is especially useful if you're a professional athlete and you live on the road for extended periods.
It will allow you to continue your training, and if you just have a small space, this solves that problem as well. The bonus is in literally a few minutes; you can quickly put this together and continue your training on the road, just as you would at home.
We are always looking for ways to get more equipment without giving up square footage in the gym. With space in our gym being such a premium, we're paying a lot of money for it, so if we can use something we already have, we get more bang for our buck.
The Exerfly Rack Mount has all the fantastic benefits we've talked about with the other pieces of Exerfly equipment. We have our eccentric, isometric, and concentric components. We have that extraordinary impulse at that moment of change of direction, which is the change in momentum resulting in massive forces required with the impulse to redirect.
The Exerfly Rack Mount is pretty simple for us to move up and down or change the length. So, I can adjust my cable length depending on how much space I have.
So we're getting horizontal loading, unlike the Exerfly Platform, which gives us vertical loading. This allows us to do all the exercises that require more force along the horizontal plane and our rotary movements.
Now I can get all the benefits that I could out of flywheel training with a small and compact flywheel device. That is the critical component for me. So I'm getting maximal training and, at the same time, not taking up or using up any new space.