Golf can be one of the most relaxing, but also one of the most frustrating, sports. Golfers, both amateur and professional, spend countless hours focused on perfecting their swing. It’s a highly technical activity and requires not only muscular balance between shoulder and hip rotation, but also a strong core.
A solid swing requires a burst of exertion and synchronization of motor skills to move harmoniously and powerfully. The swing is also a very one-sided activity, with a motion that repetitively comes from the same side of the body. This can create muscle imbalances and overuse injuries. The following exercises can help you build a strong core and strengthen your swing.
These will improve your rotational mobility, a key component of the golf swing.
How to perform: Sit straddling a bench, or squeeze a pad or towel between your knees. Hold a club behind your back with your arms, so it sits in the crook of your elbows. Set your palms flat on your stomach and maintain your posture. Without moving your hips, rotate your torso to the right and hold for two seconds. Return to the starting position, then continue to the left and hold for two seconds. Alternate sides, 10 to a side.
Anti-Rotation Band/Tube Walk
This exercise stabilizes the core, which is critical for golfers considering the amount of trunk rotation they perform during their swing.
How to perform: Hold the handle of an anchored piece of tubing with your “wall side” hand on top. Hold straightened arms out in front of your body at chest height. Keeping your torso and arms from moving, begin to walk out away from the wall, one foot at a time. Continue out until the tension of the band can no longer be maintained, then walk in toward the wall, maintaining the same posture. Repeat on both sides.
This exercise helps correct internal and external hip rotation, which is a problem for most golfers. It can also be used as a warm-up exercise to help improve balance.
How to perform: Stand on one leg holding a golf club or broom stick in front of you on the ground. Once you are stable, rotate your pelvis as far as possible in both directions in a slow and controlled motion around the leg you are standing on. Perform 20 to 30 rotations and repeat, standing on the other leg.
This exercise helps correct limited internal hip rotation, which helps drive the forward portion of your swing.
How to perform: Begin by lying on your back with your hips and knees bent at 90 degrees. With your legs up, place both of your clenched fists between your knees. Separate your feet as far as possible without allowing your knees or hands to lose contact with each other. Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
Shoulder Wall Slides
This exercise helps correct upper-back and shoulder mobility restrictions, which are critical to a fluid and effortless swing.
How to perform: Stand with your feet about 6 to 12 inches away from a wall with your back to the wall. Put your head, shoulders and butt against the wall without arching your back. Put your forearms and elbows against the wall (or rotate them toward the wall as far as possible). Slide your arms up and down the wall in a slow and controlled motion. On the downward movement, pinch your shoulder blades together trying to get as much range as possible in both directions. Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
These will help improve shoulder mobility.
How to perform: Stand bent over at the waist with your back flat and chest up, as if you were about to do a deadlift. Hold a golf club with a supinated grip (palms facing up). Pull your shoulder blades back and down and raise your arms over your head to form a Y. Make sure to initiate the movement with your shoulder blades, not your arms. Return to the starting position.
This move opens up your shoulders, helping build flexibility and mobility.
How to perform: Lie on one side with the bottom leg straight and the top leg bent with inside of knee on ground. Rotate your trunk back attempting to put the top shoulder blade on the ground. Hold two seconds, return to start position and repeat for 10 reps. Switch sides.
So, when you’re looking to improve your swing, go back to the basics. These simple exercises will help strengthen your core, loosen your hips, stabilize your shoulders, and help build power and strength in your golf swing.
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