Extra Distance: How to Use Ground Force to Increase your Power

Dan Gold
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What Does Using Ground Force Mean?

It’s an amazing feeling to be able to ride your bike at top speed. You need to have a lot of practice for it, but with a few simple tips, you can train to increase your speed and distance.

The hard part is overcoming inertia and developing the trust that you can keep on riding. To do this, you need to generate a good amount of momentum with your bike, which allows you to let go of the brakes and allow the bike to ride on its own.

You should also focus on improving the efficiency of your pedal stroke. Using your body and your bike, you need to propel yourself forward. The more energy you take with you, the happier you will be with the results.

Keep in mind that there are a lot of factors involved in increasing your speed. Your body weight, in particular, can have a big impact. For the purposes of this lesson, we’re going to assume that your body weight is the same it’s been in the past. Right now, we just want to focus on developing a few key muscles that will help develop a stronger push on the pedals. Here’s what I want you to focus on to start increasing your distance and speed.

Begin at a lower setting. This is one of the most important tips. Start off at a lower setting than you’re comfortable with.

Why Is It Important to use the Ground?

When you run, your foot has a natural striking point that should correspond to the ground beneath you. To explain how this works, consider for example a snowshoer with a full pack and large snowshoes. Imagine that they are taking three fast strides. When they go to step forward with their left leg, they tend to step down heavily on the foot and leg as if they were a large block of wood.

This is how most runners run, and they run in this rigid fashion with the entire foot as well. This rigid foot strike has developed from runners wanting to reduce energy loss by keeping their feet and legs moving quickly.

This mimics the action of other animals in nature. However, that’s not the way the human foot was designed to function. The foot was designed to ground itself as it lands and strikes. When landing squarely on the ground, the ankle is designed to roll inward and then out upon landing, sending force down the leg, which helps propel you forward.

When training for distance runners, a lot of attention is paid to the front part of the foot which is called the ball of the foot. This is where the toes connect underneath the foot.

How To Use Ground Forces in the Golf Swing

All golfers can benefit from learning how to use the ground during their golf swings. Ground forces go hand-in-hand with momentum. However, you can also use ground forces to add power to your swing, regardless of your body type, size, or strength.

The right tools like a force measuring mat can help identify how much force you are using on the ground and how you can increase it. Here are 5 ways to use ground forces in golf.

Ground Forces for Golf Weight Transfer

The majority of your weight should be transferred during your backswing rather than the hitting phase of the golf swing. For this to happen, one of the main ways you can use ground forces in your backswing is through a wider stance and by creating a greater separation between your weight and your right foot.

The reason for this is you want to place more of your weight on your left foot instead of your right foot. This weight distribution effectually transfers your weight from the hitting phase of the swing to the backswing.

The following posture and golf drill will help you practice using ground forces and weight transfer during the backswing.

Ground Force: Weight Transfer Drill

Drills To Use Ground Force in Your Golf Swing

Lay a sheet of plastic: If you don’t want to walk around on your grass, lay a sheet of plastic over your lawn. The benefit to this is that it’s less likely to dent your grass. The disadvantage is that it’s not as forgiving as actually walking on the grass, so it’s better for practicing your footwork.

Place the club in the ground: Place the ground force shoes in the ground behind the ball, about 3 inches under. They should line up where you want to make contact in your swing. (If you’re practicing on a hard surface place the opposite end down in the ground) Make the same type of swing you ordinarily would. With the club in the ground, you should be striking the club again, not the ground.

Place the club in the ground and swing past it: Get the club in the ground as before. Now make the same type of swing you would ordinarily with the exception of swinging past the club. Be sure the club goes past the shoes in the ground behind the ball.

Foot Against Wall Drill

This drill will teach you how to land lightly and to use the Ground Force properly. There are a few variations on this drill:

First, place a full size mirror against the wall and wish a moving side view of your landing (1).

Or you can place a blank white wall at a distance that allows you to clearly see the bottom of your shoe and your toes (2).

Next place a mirror (or a wall) at the front of your running surface, roughly twenty yards into a lane.

Stand with your back to the mirror, struggling your hip farthest from mirror.

Turn and face the mirror as you see yourself land in the mirror. If you’re facing the mirror, you’ll also be facing the wall.

When you take your first stride, please watch your landing out of the corner of your eye.

As you run, notice if your heel hits the ground first. When that happens, you’ll see a bouncing ball in the mirror. It will be shorter and wider than your normal stride.

When your foot hits the ground, the heel will not be lower than the ball of your foot. Basically, your knee joint will be about the same height as your foot and running surface.

Feet Together Drill

The feet together drill is an important drill for triathletes. It is a drill that helps you work on your swim technique and at the same time helps you with your running and cycling technique. The drill should be used every day, especially the day of a race.

Once you are in the water, swim a few 50’s with your feet close together. You can have them in top of each other or next to each other. While swimming, concentrate on getting your feet from one side to the other without flapping. Your heels should come off the back of the foot pocket when you are kicking. If they do not, you will need to reeducate your kick. After swimming, get in a run and replicate the foot position you just had while swimming. Your feet will be closer together than normal. Most of your efficiency will be lost in the run so the run should last what you think is an easy run length. You will find it is much harder to run with your feet together.

Rinse and repeat this several times a week and you will find you have increased your efficiency greatly.

Jumping Drill

A great drill for beginners is to set up a small hill and walk up it slowly running through a variety of exercises – think squats, lunges, push-ups, to name just a few – as you get to the top.

If you have access to a treadmill, this can also be a great way to work out.

First, set a walking pace that allows you to just hold a conversation. Then, add short bursts of running to the treadmill to up the intensity.

You can literally talk yourself through this to work out just about every body part.

Here’s how it would work if you were walking the treadmill:

  • walk, walk, squat, push-up, walk, walk, squat, push-up
  • walk, walk, squat, squat, squat, push-up, walk, walk, squat, push-up”
  • walk, walk, squat, push-up, push-up, squat, push-up, walk”
  • walk, walk, squat, squat, squat, squat, push-up, walk, walk, squat, push-up…

See how easy it is? And you can literally do any number of sets. Just add to the last exercise or rep the last one.

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