When golfers think about improving their golf swing, the first thing that comes to mind is to play more golf, participate in more golf lessons, or buy new pieces of equipment. However, golfers often neglect an important aspect of the game: their physical capabilities.
Although it may not seem like it, golf is a very physically demanding sport. The average golfer swings anywhere from 75 to 100 times, all from the same side of the body, which can cause overuse injuries and muscle imbalances, which can also create problems later down the road. In order to prevent this from happening, proper training and physical preparation needs to be performed.
If you’re a golfer, here are 5 basic exercises that can help improve your game, prevent muscular imbalances, and keep you injury-free.
Single Leg RDL
- This is a great exercise that will train all the muscles that are important to your performance in golf. It will target your glutes, which “drive” your golf swing. It will also work on your hamstrings, which are very prone to injury, and very important to support your swing.
- To perform the single leg RDL, hold a kettlebell in your left hand to start, and have it rest right in front of your thigh as you’re standing.
Shift your weight to the right leg as if you’re going to balance on one leg, bend at the hips, and allow your left leg to come up in the air behind you.
- Then carefully straighten your hips and your right leg to the ground, finishing in a tall position. You should also perform this on the other side (weight in right hand, balance on left leg)
- Note: It is important to maintain a flat, not bent, back during this exercise.
Hip Flexor Stretch
- In the ballistic movement of a golf swing, the hips go through what’s called “extension” and “rotation.” If you can’t move your hips through this full range-of-motion, then your swing’s power will be limited, and you’ll compensate by twisting & bending your spine more than you should.
- A big limiting factor in the range-of-motion of the hips is the hip flexor – specifically, hip flexor tightness. The solution to tight hip flexors, and a better golf swing, is good a hip flexor stretch.
- To stretch the hip flexors, start in a half kneeling position, with one knee on the ground and the other upright at 90 degrees.
- Take in a big breath, and then exhale. As you exhale, lean your body forward as you sink your hips to the floor.
- Note: Do not hold your breath. It is very important that you are breathing during the stretch.
Mini Band Walks
- The glutes are very important muscles in your golf swing. They’re the muscles that “extend” and “rotate” the hips – and as we said before, this is what powers your swing. A great exercise for the glutes are mini band walk
- To perform the mini band walks, first place a resistance band around your ankles, and get yourself into a quarter squat position.
- From here, take small steps to the side, initiating the movement with your glutes.
- Note: maintain correct posture throughout the walk, and do small and steady steps while maintaining a steady breathing sequence.
Rotational Med Ball Scoop Toss
- Rotational power defines the golf swing. Med ball throws will improve your ability to store and release energy, working on your core power and explosiveness. By incorporating med ball throws in a rotational movement, we can transfer the benefits to your golf swing. A good example is the rotational med ball scoop toss.
- To perform the rotational med ball scoop toss, start by standing in front of a wall and then turn 90 degrees.
- Hold a medicine ball at waist level with your arms locked out.
- Rotate away from the wall, and then in one motion, aggressively rotate back and push your hips through, releasing the ball at the wall.
KB Turkish Get Up
- The importance of the core cannot be stated enough. By having a strong core, you can allow your hips to do their job and power the swing. A weak core with strong hips still means a weak swing – like a rusted out car with a V12 engine is still a unreliable, poor car.
- Holding a weight overhead is a unique way to challenge your core. When you move with weight overhead, your core must constantly fire to stay rigid. A great example would be the Turkish get-up. In addition to building strength, this type of exercise increases your stability, awareness, balance and coordination.
- To perform the Turkish get-up, first grab an appropriate weighted kettlebell and lie down on the ground, with the kettlebell pressed into the air.
- From here you will prop up onto your opposite arm – first on your elbow and the on your hand.
- From this position, you will glute bridge up with the leg that’s on the same side as the arm holding the weight, and then sweep your other leg under to a half kneeling position.
- Finally, stand up.
- Note: The Turkish get-up is a very complex exercise, and care must be taken to learn it before approaching any significant weights.
With these 5 exercises, not only will you improve your golf swing, but you can even prevent the imbalances and injuries seen in many golfers. Start including them in your training today, and you will notice the improvements in no time.
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