Body-Swing Connection Case Study: Helping Fredrik Lindblom Build a Training Program For More Speed
Fri Jun 23, 2023 by TPI
We had the opportunity to assess Swedish pro golfer Fredrik Lindblom with one of our instructors Jon Tattersall to see how a training program might be able to help him find a few more MPH in his swing. Here's a look at what we found.
Though we have plenty of fancy kit at TPI, our assessment process is no different than what we teach in our Level 1 course. If you’ve never seen a complete evaluation, the video above is a great introduction.
1) Movement Screen (1:05)
As is the case with every evaluation we do, we begin our assessment with a physical screen, this one led by Fredrik’s coach, Jon Tattersall. Though our screen isn’t predictive of speed potential, it’s helpful for understanding why a golfer swings the way they do and can help identify priorities for improvement.
For example, if a golfer wants a bigger backswing, but the screen suggests they don't have the mobility to achieve it, we know what a priority will be in their training.
You may have heard someone reference research which suggests that mobility does not have a strong relationship with clubhead speed, but studies can be misleading. Consider this:
Can a golfer be extremely mobile, but not extremely powerful? Absolutely. Would increasing mobility in a very mobile golfer be unlikely to increase clubhead speed? Yes. If mobility restrictions are preventing a golfer from making a full turn or maintaining dynamic posture in their swing, can improving mobility improve their potential clubhead speed by lengthening their handpath and giving them more time to apply force to the club? YES.
The latter is the case for the majority of desk-bound golfers we see on our lesson tee or in our gyms who fail assessments like the Seated Trunk, Lat Test, 90/90 or Lower Quarter.
Fredrik’s golf fitness handicap was 24, indicating he has plenty of room to improve off the course. Our golf fitness handicap isn’t designed to reflect performance, but to provide a benchmark of fitness and movement capabilities as they relate to golf.
“Fitness” means something different to different people. Within the general population, fitness tends to refer to physical characteristics like aerobic conditioning or body composition. While losing body fat or improving endurance will certainly make a golfer healthier, it might not make swinging a club any easier.
Golf requires power, mobility, stability and motor control. Elite distance runners or cyclists are outrageously fit, but there’s a good chance they don’t have the mobility or movement quality to make a big, powerful turn like Rory or DJ or Adam Scott. Therefore, they are fit, but they aren’t “golf fit.”
2) Power Test (5:26)
Once we know how well a golfer moves, we want to know how big their engine is. Many golfers who want to swing faster are limited by their mechanics or equipment, while others are limited by the amount of force their body can create. The goal of our Power Test is to illuminate that.
Just because a golfer is extremely powerful doesn’t mean they will swing extremely fast. It just means they have the potential to swing fast. Golf is a game of skill, and that skill doesn’t just apply to controlling the golf ball, it also applies to speed.
For example, NFL superstar JJ Watt is in the top 1% of powerful humans on the planet, but has no chance of keeping up with a PGA TOUR player off the tee, none of whom can move half as much weight as he can in the gym. JJ has a skill limitation, not a power limitation.
Fredrik cruises above PGA TOUR average ball speed, but tested on the lower end of our PGA TOUR average in vertical jump and both medicine ball throws. His equipment and technique are highly optimized, but his speed is not. As they mention in the video, he’s driving a Volvo like a Ferrari.
If we want to help him raise his ceiling for speed and hopefully lower his risk of injury, we need to build a bigger engine.
3) Strength Testing (13:45)
Power is a product of force and velocity. Therefore, if power is down, we want to see if it’s more of a strength problem or a velocity problem. If we have access to a gym, we test strength first.
You can test strength in hundreds of different ways. The protocol we teach in our Power and Fitness courses is a simple, 8 rep perceived max with unilateral lunges, single-arm cable pull and single-arm cable push (we also outline this in our advanced Power and Fitness courses).
Once again, Fredrik performed well on the test, but his numbers were on the lower end of our PGA TOUR average. If he wants to become more powerful, he needs to get stronger.
Our assessment process is simple and efficient. Though we also use tools like 3D data capture (AMM3D or K-Vest) and force plates to evaluate how a golfer moves and pushes against the ground, the bulk of our insight is derived from 15 - 20 minutes worth of tests that require nothing more than a chair, a golf club and a medicine ball.