This article is the first of a two-part feature describing exercises I use in my golf instruction sessions. We will discuss Part II next week.
If there's one thing I've learned in the years I've been giving golf lessons, it's that no one swing is right for all golfers. The same holds true for workout programs. No single workout program is right for all golfers. Different people require different programs based on their builds, their ages, and so on.
But some exercises benefit every golfer. These exercises not only improve range of motion and balance, they also strengthen problem areas-hips, the back, and rotary cuffs. These exercises won't bulk you up, either. They're all low intensity. So while they won't give you the sculpted look of a world-class body builder, they will improve your swing and your golf handicap.
A Modest Investment
These exercises, which can all be done in your home, require a modest investment in time and equipment. You will need to adjust the weight, intensity, and frequency to fit your schedule and physical capabilities, but other than that the program should be the same for everyone. Also, since most people don't do enough stretching in their exercise programs, so we've included stretching in the exercises.
Below is the workout program I recommend to those who are serious about improving their golf handicap.
1. One-leg Dead Lift
This exercises strengthens your lower back and hips, stretches your hamstrings, and improves balance and torso control. Do 10-15 reps per leg using 15-pound dumbbells, 2 to 3 sets, 3 times a week.
Holding one dumbbell, bend at the waist until your torso and the leg opposite the weight are extended, both parallel to the floor. Keep your head up and return the to the start position while keeping the raised foot from touching the floor.
2. Hip-Flexor Stretch
This exercise improves hip turn and counteracts tightness caused by long-term sitting, running, or low back pain. Do 2 reps with each leg, holding the stretch for 30-40 seconds daily.
Kneel on one leg keeping the opposite foot on the floor with the leg bent at a 90-degree angle. Slowly lean forward. Putting a club behind your back helps keep your torso in the correct upright position. Feel this stretch where the kneeling leg connects to the front hip, not in the lower back.
3. Four-Point Arm Raise
This exercise strengthens the rotator cuffs while improving body-position sense and torso strength. It also creates shoulder blade stability, giving the rotator cuff a stable base. Do 10-15 reps using 2 to 3 pound dumbbells, 2 to 3 sets with each arm, 3 times a week.
Start in the up-position of a push up with your feet slightly wider than normal. While holding a dumbbell in one hand and balancing your body with the other, move the weight under your body toward your opposite shoulder. Your arm and the wieght should be parallel to the floor. Pull it back and raise the weight until it points toward the ceiling. If this is too strenuous, do it on your knees.
4. Wall Torso Twist
This exercise stretches the neck and shoulders, spine hips, legs, and feet while mimicking positions required in the golf swing. Do 2 reps twisting each way and hold the stretch for 30 to 40 seconds, daily.
With your back to the door a few inches away, pretend to address a golf ball. Without moving you head or your feet, twist your upper body slowly, turning to a point where one or both of your hands touch the wall. Then repeat in the opposite direction. This stretch will get easier over time so progress slowly.
One other piece of advice I give those attending my golf lessons: Consult your physician before starting any fitness program, and if you feel any pain while exercising stop immediately. Being in good shape always help in your battle to lower your golf handicap. Next week will discuss the rest of the exercise program
Copyright (c) 2008 Jack Moorehouse