Are you Benching Enough?

As a golfer, are you currently incorporating bench press into your routine to be able to swing faster?  If so, then extra credit for you.  If not, then I’d really like to know why not.  I think the most common question I get with exercises like bench press are “What does any of this have to do with my swing speed, or my golf game?”

My first response is to applaud those who question exercises like bench press, because if you’re training and you don’t know the reason “why”, you need to find out right now.  Everything must have a “why”, if not, can you be sure that you’re really doing yourself any good?

What is Bench Press

  1. Compound 

Bench press is a compound movement.  That means that it has many muscles coordinating together to produce the movement.  Primarily your pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, and both long and short of your triceps work together to create this movement.  As well as your mid to upper trapezius, rhomboids and latissimus dorsi work to hold your shoulders stable.

  1. Multi-Joint 

There are multiple joints that needs to be working efficiently with one another to perform this movement.  You are relying on your shoulders to adduct and abduct as well as your elbows need to flex and extend.  All while, your scapula retracts and stabilizes.

  1. Free Weight Movement 

This is a big one.  Bench press is performed with free weights as opposed to on a machine.  That means, you and only you are in control of the weight.  This puts a large amount of stress on your stabilizers to make sure that the weight moves efficiently.

Two Types of Muscle

There are two different types of muscle fibers in your body.  One is a fast twitch, and this type of fiber makes you do two things.  One, lift really heavy things and two, move really quick, like a golf swing.  Then there’s slow twitch, slow twitch fibers support long and slow activities that train endurance.

Fast twitch muscle fibers are primarily recruited in exercises that are compound, multipoint and free weight.  This happens if, and only if, you are completing such an exercise with a relatively heavy overload, for lower amounts of reps or a relatively very light load as fast as possible.

Central Nervous System is Your Power House 

So, here’s how it all happens.  Your central nervous system (CNS) controls everything.  All the way down your brainstem into the specific areas of your body that get called upon, your CNS is telling everything exactly how to work together.

From the moment you begin to bench, your CNS notices that it’s a compound, multi-joint, free movement with heavy overload that needs fast twitch muscle fibers to fire.  

How Bench Press Makes You Swing Faster 

So, set after set of bench press your body keeps demanding the same things.  It’s demanding that your CNS recruit more and more fast twitch muscle fibers.  We all know that performing the same pattern of events over and over and demanding the same thing time and time again produces an adaptation or a change.

The adaptation that is produced with bench press is a centralized CNS adaptation that forces it to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers.  Think of it like this, before bench pressing your CNS is like a 3G data plan on your mobile phone.  Yet after bench press, you now have 5G, the fastest and most efficient data possible.  

Therefore, your CNS adapts to the training from bench press.  In this case, you are able to lift heavier things and move really quick, which in-turn makes you swing faster. So, your end result is completing bench press for swing speed!

Find out if you have enough upper body strength and power, or whether you need some more bench press in your routine with the link below!

Home Assessment – https://par4success.com/adult-golf-performance-home-assessment-opt-in

  • Tyler Johnson, MS, CSCS