Can Exercise Improve Your Golf Game
With the 2019 season coming to an end, it may be time to start getting in shape for next season. I personally have struggled with lower back and sacroiliac joint pain as a result of playing golf. I have found that staying in shape and maintaining flexibility have helped curb some of these injuries.
Here are the best exercises to improve your golf game and prevent injuries.
WORLD’S GREATEST STRETCH
(ONE SET, THREE REPS, EACH DIRECTION)
Why it works: The name says it all. This lengthens nearly every muscle in the core and also the key ones attached such as the hamstrings, upper back, etc. This stretch will increase the amount a golfer can turn.
How to do it: Stand with your back straight, arms to your sides. Step forward into a lunge with your right foot. Place your left hand on the ground and your right elbow to the inside of your right foot and hold the stretch for two seconds. Rotate your right arm and chest to the sky as far as you can. Hold for two seconds. Take your elbow back and down toward your instep and reach through to your opposite side. Place your right hand outside your right foot and repeat. Make sure to keep your back knee off the ground and to contract the glutes.
MINI-BAND WALK FORWARD
(ONE SET, 10 STEPS)
Why it works: The resistance of the stretch bands against your legs activates and strengthens the glutes, which are key to maintaining a stable base when you swing, especially at faster speeds.
How to do it: Place a mini-band around your legs above the knee and another around your ankles. Walk forward in small steeps, keeping your knees bent and alternating the elbows driving back with each step. Keep your back straight and your knees over your toes at all times.
MINI-BANK WALK SIDEWAYS
(ONE SET, 10 STEPS, EACH DIRECTION)
Why it works: The resistance of the stretch bands against your legs activates and strengthens the hips, groin, quads and glutes, all key, to maintaining a stable base when you swing, especially at faster speeds.
How to do it: Place a mini-band around your legs above the knee and another around your ankles. Walk sideways in small steeps, keeping your legs fairly straight and alternating the elbows driving back with each step. Keep your back straight and your knees over your toes at all times.
(ONE SET, SIX REPS, EACH DIRECTION)
Why it works: The twisting of the lower body helps stretch the muscles and tendons in the hips and lower back. This simulates the torque put on the hip region at the top of the backswing and the during the follow-through.
How to do it: Lie faceup on the ground with your arms to your sides, your knees bent, feet wider than shoulder-width apart, heels on the ground. Now twist your bent legs to the left until they reach the ground, then twist them to the right. Continue alternating sides while keeping your shoulders on the ground and your abs tight.
(ONE SET, 10 REPS)
Why it works: A great exercises for the glutes, it also strengthens the hamstrings and lower back. The extended position is very similar to the position a golfer gets in when thrusting the hips toward the target through impact.
How to do it: Lie face up with your arms out to your sides, knees bent, and your toes off the ground. Squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) and thrust your hips upward until your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
(ONE SET, SIX REPS, EACH DIRECTION)
Why it works: Stretches the hip adductors (inside of the thigh), glutes, groin, hamstrings and strengthens the quads. The legs play such a key role in providing power for the golf swing but they need to be more elastic and powerful. This exercise builds the lower part of the core.
How to do it: Stand with your feet spread slightly wider than the shoulders. Shift your hips to the right and down by bending your right knee and keeping your left leg straight. Your feet should be pointing straight ahead and flat on the ground. Push through the right hip, returning to the starting position. Then shift your hips to the left and repeat the exercise in the other direction. Be sure to keep your knee on the squat side behind your toes, your back flat and your chest up.
MED-BALL PERPENDICULAR THROWS
(ONE SET, 10 THROWS, EACH SIDE)
Why it works: Activates and strengthens the entire core area, especially the abs, glutes and hips. To do this exercise correctly, you have to recruit the core muscles needed in the golf swing.
How to do it: Grab a medicine ball (the weight should feel manageable) and throw it into a wall as if you were simulating a swing. During the backswing, keep your knees bent and turn your back away from the wall. When you swing through, drive your back hip toward the wall. Keep your back flat and chest up. Catch the ball as it rebounds off the wall. Do all the reps in one direction before switching sides.
Muscle strain and sore muscles are common among golfers. By performing regular golf stretches, you’ll improve your flexibility and increase your range of motion, which will relax your swing and improve accuracy, increase confidence and the ability to swing faster and harder.
Regular golf stretches can also help prevent common golf injuries. And finally, even the most basic golf stretches can just make you feel better. Glossing over it in your regular golf training, however, could cost you dearly.