By Lisa Vlooswyk (7 Time Canadian long Drive Champion) and Mitch Sadowsky (Director of Golf Fitness at Lake Nona in Orlando)
The off season is the perfect time to work on your game without even picking up a club. If you want to hit it longer and straighter in 2015, the following exercises will help you to achieve that.
The exercises work on core stability and will give you a better opportunity to rotate and a more efficient transfer of energy from the ground to your golf swing.
Leg raise with Core Activation
If there is one common underlying theme in golfers trying to improve their game, many have one thing in common: tight hamstrings. This is due to MANY factors (including being stuffed in a desk or car all day) and can have many negative effects on the golf swing. To help teach the core to stabilize and increase hamstring flexibility, we like to use a basic lying leg raise with core activation with a weight.
- Start by lying on the ground on your right side with the weight next your right hand. To pick up the kettlebell or dumbbell, grasp the weight firmly and roll to your back. Press the weight to the ceiling creating a stable shoulder. Start with your legs straight and toes together
- Raise your right leg to the ceiling keeping your leg as straight as possible until your feel your right knee start to bend. Your foot position is toes to your nose (flexed feet). Lower your leg back to the ground and repeat this 8-12 times.
- Bring the weight down safely and place it on the floor, then repeat for the left side.
This exercise focuses on core strength, posture and leg strength to create more force from the ground.
- Start by holding the kettle bell from the “horns” (sides of the handle) or by holding a dumbbell vertically.
- Squeeze the upper arms (elbow to shoulder) against the ribcage. Pull your elbows to your pockets to engage your lats and core.
- Hinge at your hips, keeping a neutral spine, take your hips down towards your heels.
- Knees should track over the ankles.
- Once your upper legs are parallel to the ground stand up thinking, “drive my shoulders to the sky by pushing the earth away”.
With a lighter weight do 3 sets of 12 reps. With a heavier weight do 4-5 sets of 3-6 reps.
The deadlift gets a bad rap because of its confusion in causing injuries. Poor form and function causes back injuries during deadlifts, not the deadlift itself. Used properly, the deadlift can be a weapon in injury proofing the body for all manner of sports and activities and can also be used to boost performance, especially in golf. The deadlift will give you great core strength as well as lower body strength, power and stability.
- Start by standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width to accommodate a kettle bell or vertically standing dumbbell. Stand straddling the weight, with the weight placed even with your ankles or slightly behind
- Squeeze your upper arms against your rib cage and abdominal muscles to create a stiff core.
- Push the hips back as if reaching back toward a wall. The chest will tilt forward as the hips reach back. Keep the knees soft allowing some flexion, but do not squat with the knees to lower the hips. In this position, you should envision a hiking position in football.
- Keeping your lats and core tight, grab the kettlebell or dumbbell maintaining a stiff core.
- Stand up by driving your hips forward maintaining an upright back (not flat). Think of a jumping motion without leaving the ground
- Once upright, repeat this sequence to lower the weight back down to the ground using the hip hinge to reach back with your hips maintaining a tight core and keeping your upper arms squeezed against your rib cage.
5 to 6 sets with 6 reps with 30-90 seconds
Get Up with High Hip Bridge
In terms of function, this is a great exercise to focus on two keys to a great golf swing: shoulder stability and hip extension.
- Starting lying on the ground on your right side with the weight next your right hand. To pick up the kettlebell or dumbbell, grasp the weight firmly and roll to your back. Press the weight to the ceiling creating a stable shoulder. Bring the right knee to a 90°angle with your right foot on the ground, your left arm and leg should be extended and flat on the ground.
- Roll to your left elbow keeping the weight pressed to the ceiling using a straight, stable right arm.
- Extend the left elbow so your are now on your left hand, again keeping the right arm straight to the ceiling with the back straight. Using your glutes, extend the right hip to the ceiling, again, keeping your right arm and the weight in your right hand extended and stable facing the ceiling.
- Repeat on other side
2 to 3 sets with 3 to 4 repetitions each side
Lisa is the 7-time Canadian Long Drive Champion for women, a golf entertainer and a Keynote Speaker at conferees and conventions. Lisa can be reached through Claudio DeMarchi at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaLongball
Mitch is the Director of Golf Fitness at Lake Nona and his clients have included PGA Tour players Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell. Mitch can be reached at email@example.com or (414)745-3158. Follow Mitch on Twitter @mitchsadowsky
* All photos taken at the Athlete Factory (www.athletefactory.net)