So we have all heard the adage “swing easy for a longer ball off the tee” right? Why does it seem to be so true?
The answer really lies in the way we are built as humans. A great way to understand this concept is by looking at muscle force velocity curves.
As you can see in this graph, an eccentric loaded muscle can generate the most force. On the other end of the force curve is the concentric contraction of a muscle.
Our muscles can contract in 3 “ranges” in our bodies. They are eccentric, isometric and concentric load ranges.
Eccentric loads are achieved while the muscle is getting longer while loaded. Think of as “negative reps” when doing and exercise. This load activates the most neurological pathways to the muscle and will also build the most strength in the muscle.
Isometric loads are achieved while there is no movement of the muscle. Think of a plank exercise where you are holding perfectly still yet muscles are fully engaged and contracted.
Concentric loads are achieved during muscle shortening such as performing arm curls. This load activates the least amount of neurological pathways to the muscle as compared to eccentric and isometric.
When we swing a golf club we really want to pre-stretch each muscle to be used. A nice smooth take away will let a load build between proximal – distal segments of the body. Then on the down swing we really want to keep stretching each proximal to distal segment.
We achieve this downswing stretch by accelerating the body in the proper order. Pelvis first, upper body second, arms third and hands last. 1-2-3-4. This is also known as the proper Kinematic sequence of a golf swing.
If we are “stretching” muscles while loading them… we are achieving eccentric loads and as the muscle force velocity clearly shows, we will generate more force. More force, more speed, more distance – less effort!
Swing as hard as you can if you want to hit short drives. Swing easy if you want to hit the ball deep! It’s just math, science and the way God built us.