With warm weather finally here, many people are getting back to outdoor activities. If you’re a golfer, this means getting out on the course and picking up where you left off last year. If you find yourself frustrated with your swing, simply adding a few functional exercises to your workouts may have you recording your best game yet.
Golf is a sport that requires specialized skill, but also a balance of power, mobility, stability, and proper mechanics. If any one or more of these aspects is limited, it will hinder your performance and have you swinging your club in frustration. Make sure your workouts contain exercises that will naturally establish a foundation in these areas of sports performance.
Overhead Squats. A typical squat will build stability and strength, which will lead to more power. The hips and legs can generate huge amounts of power and if you can harness that energy and utilize it, you can drive the ball farther. An overhead squat adds the challenge of shoulder stability and flexibility as well as core strength, all of which come into play during a golf swing.
To perform: Hold a barbell overhead with feet shoulder width apart. To lock the bar in the overhead position, you must extend the arms while engaging the muscles of the upper back and shoulders. Once the bar is stabilized overhead, you can move into the squatting portion. Slowly squat down as you inhale, ensuring that your heels stay heavy, while pushing your hips back and maintaining the natural curve in your low back. Drop down to a comfortable and stable depth. Exhale as you stand up, but don’t lock out your knees at the top.
Reverse Cable Woodchop. Appropriate golf mobility requires overall stability while allowing proper flexibility and range of motion. The woodchop challenges lower body stability while improving flexibility and building strength and power through a large range of motion.
To perform: Drop down into a squat position and take hold of a resisted cable at floor level. As you stand up, rotate yours arms across your body and reach upwards to eye level. You should be utilizing power from your legs and core to initiate the movement and then following through with the arms and upper body to finish out the rotation.
Prone Dumbbell Rotation. Holding a plank and performing additional movements from a plank position works the deep core muscles that stabilize the spine and hips. A strong core is the foundation from which powerful movements originate. An efficient core also helps prevent common injuries that can occur during the deceleration phase of the golf swing.
To perform: Assume a pushup position with a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and make sure your core is tight and your hips are not sagging. Allow your shoulders and hips to turn as you swing one arm towards the ceiling. Keep your arms straight throughout the exercise and try to generate movement from your hips and core. Reverse to your starting point and repeat on other side.
For overall performance gains, focus on 3-6 sets and use a weight that allows you to safely perform 3-10 repetitions.