16 Jan The Best Exercises For Golf
21st-century golf training is no longer just hitting the range or putting green. It has evolved into functional movement training with mobility, control, strength, and speed at its centerpiece. Not only are professional golfers acknowledging the benefits of this type of training, but so is the average golfer who is now reconsidering what they’re doing during their workouts. In this article, you will learn the best exercises for golf!
The Best Exercises For Golf: It’s All In The Hips
Golf training programs are now being developed in the eyes of movement practitioners. Golf is a three-dimensional activity, similar to human movement. Today’s golf swing demands effective loading and force production throughout the kinetic chain. Golf is a sport that demands loading from the bottom up, meaning energy is generated by the lower body, specifically during the backswing. The downswing is the unloading of this energy, and again this is initiated with the lower body, specifically the hips! This energy is transferred from the hips to the pelvis, trunk, arms, club, and finally the golf ball. This is referred to as kinematic sequencing, which in golf is greatly influenced by control of the hips. The following videos are movements designed to increase control of the hips and improve overall movement and control of your golf swing. Golf-specific training for the hips at its finest.
Hip & Low Back Opener
Probably my go-to exercise prior to or after a round of golf, the hips, pelvis, and low back are so inter-connected that you have to tackle all of them for your golf swing not to be limited in any way. Give this a try!
READ: EXERCISES FOR TIGHT HIPS
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The Best Exercises For Golf
Learn How To Get Your Hips Mobile & Strong
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Whenever tackling hip mobility, it is essential to include active movements that make you earn range of motion through hard work. Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs) is a type of FRC exercise designed to facilitate range of motion gains.
Improving Hip Internal & External Rotation
According to an article by Vad et al. 2004, a high predictor of low back pain in golfers is reduced internal rotation of the lead hip. In golf, as one hip moves into internal rotation (IR), the other hip moves into external rotation (ER). IR facilitates loading during the backswing on the trail hip, and balance during the follow through on the lead hip. Whereas ER on the lead hip facilitates the backswing position, and ER on the trail hip helps to initiate the downswing and generate power. Training movement in the 90-90 hip position is excellent for golfers because it puts one hip in ER, and the other in IR, just like golf! One of the best exercises for golf right here!
Building off the mobility and control we’ve gained in the past videos, now it’s time to progress to a standing loaded position to further compliment golf-specific training for the hips. Demonstrated above is one of my favorite exercises for golfers. The backswing primarily loads the trail leg, whereas the follow through primarily loads the lead leg, thus the body has to control this weight shift. This drill is excellent because it demands single-leg stability while getting comfortable with controlling weight-shifting. The added benefit is working on hip hinge performance, if you want to make this harder, switch leg each rep!
Best Exercises For Golf: Thoracic Spine Mobility
In addition to good control and mobility of our hips, the thoracic spine is another area of the body that must move well for golfers to hit the ball well! Most overuse injuries can be attributed to poor hip or thoracic spine mobility. The thoracic spine is our mid-back area, and we get a lot of our spinal rotation from this area of our spine. Naturally, in our lives, we fall into poor postures, which is inevitable, and as a result, if we are not moving this area of our spine, it becomes stiff and locked up! Below are some of the best exercises for golf with a focus on thoracic spine mobility!
Thread The Needle
- HOW: Get set-up on the ground on your hands and knees with a foam roller to the side you. Sit your butt back towards your heels as far as you can that you feel comfortable with. With your arm that is further away from the foam roller, reach through and under your other arm and place your hand and wrist on the roller with your thumb facing up towards the sky. Take a breath in followed by breathing out as you roll the foam roller away from you. You can rotate your head and follow your hand with your eyes, or for a sport like golf you can keep your head and eyes facing the ground. Slowly return and repeat.
- FEEL: You should feel motion occurring in your mid back and around your shoulder blades. Towards the end of the motion, you may feel a stretch in this area.
- COMPENSATION: Try to limit motion to your mid back and shoulder blades. Do not move excessively from your hips, pelvis, or low back. This is why sitting your butt back towards your heels is beneficial.
Start by lying on your side with your knees bent and raised to hip height. Clasp your hands on top of each other. Slowly reach your top hand forward as far as you can. Then, slowly pull your hands back, across your chest, and drop to the opposite side . You should feel a nice gentle stretch through your mid-back region. You may also feel a little pec stretch in the front of your shoulder. Make sure to keep your knees high. If your knees are not high enough, you will not get the stretch in your mid-back region.
Spieth’s Backswing Drill
Begin in a standing position while holding one band with both hands. Hold the band down in front of you to start. Step to the side with one leg. As you step to the side, rotate your chest opening up to that side, and extend that arm back behind you pulling the band. Keep your head looking down at your other arm which is down in front of you. Alternate to each side. You should feel your shoulder muscles working and a stretch in your mid back. Keep your hips facing forward, only rotate your upper half. Keep your head looking down at the arm in front.
Thoracic Spine Bridge
Begin in a seated position with your knees bent up and your arms behind your with your palms on the ground. Shift all of your weight onto one shoulder as you lift your hips up as high as you can. As your hips are rising, rotate the other side of your body towards the arm that is pushing up. Alternate sides for the prescribed amount of reps. You should feel your core and shoulder muscles working. Keep your hips up as you rotate to the one side, don’t let them drop
Learn More Thoracic Mobility Exercises!
Thoracic spine mobility is a precursor to optimal neck health, shoulder health, and so much more. Yet, the average person is bound to be stiff and limited in this region and the rest of their mid back! We can blame 21st century workplaces and lifestyle habits, but the good thing is the thoracic spine and mid back region respond really well to the right dose of exercises. If your thoracic spine mobility is limited and your entire upper body is paying for it, this program will get you moving better and feeling better! Learn more HERE!
The Best Exercises For Golf: Don’t Forget About The Core!
Where else do we generate movement with our golf swing? The core! Having a solid foundation of core stability will allow everything else to come together with the golf swing. Trying to “arm the movement” is not going to generate a big swing. On the contrary, focusing on sound mechanics, and generating the force from your core and hips will allow you to gain depth on your swings! Here are some of the best exercises for golf with a focus on core activation.
Bird Dog – Band
Begin on your hands and knees with a band wrapped around your foot anchored by your opposite hand. In this position you will balance on the opposite arm and leg. The wider you are the easier to balance, the more narrow the more challenging this will be. Bring the arm and leg with the band up as high as you can towards the ceiling, slowly return to starting position and repeat. With the leg kicking out you will feel the muscles on the back of the hip working, with the arm that is punching out you will feel the muscles on top of the shoulder and back of the shoulder blade working. Avoid rotating the trunk, arching the back, or shrugging the shoulder as you elevate the arm with the band.
Pallof Press Arms Extended – Alphabet
Anchor a band at about waist height. Walk out to a tension that works for you. Slightly bend your knees and extend your arms out keeping your core engaged. From here, move the band around doing the alphabet for the prescribed amount of reps. You should feel your core and shoulder muscles working. Keep your arms extended with the tension from the side at all times.
Dead Bug – Anti-rotation, Band
Start by lying on your back. Bring your knees up towards your chest and bend your knees making an “L” shape. Grab a band that is anchored to the side of you and with both arms straight, pull it over your chest. The band should feel like it is trying to pull you on your side, do not let it by engaging your core and keeping your back flat on the ground. While holding the tension from the band, straighten one leg out until it is a few inches off of the ground, and return to the starting position. Alternate straightening each leg all while holding the tension in the band. You should feel your core muscles working as well as your lats and arm muscles. Keep your core engaged during the process, don’t arch your back. Keep your arms straight up at chest level and don’t bend your elbows. Don’t let your leg rest on the ground as you straighten it.
Golf is a challenging sport, both physically and mentally. One of the greats said it best. Jack Nicklaus – “You can win tournaments when you’re mechanical, but golf is a game of emotion and adjustment. If you’re not aware of what’s happening to your mind and your body when you’re playing, you’ll never be able to be the very best you can be.”
Ensuring that you set yourself up for mastering the game of golf is ensuring your body is primed for the activity! Incorporating a purposeful program of exercises specifically for this sport will allow you to do so. Focus on the body areas mentioned in this article to build a great foundation for golf. We have outlined some of the best exercises for golf in this article, now go and get after it!
- Vad et al. 2004 “Low Back Pain in Professional Golfers The Role of Associated Hip and Low Back Range-of-Motion Deficits”