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5 Golf-Specific Exercises You Can Do At Home to Improve Your Game

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If I told you that devoting 15 minutes, three times per week, to an exercise program performed from home with no equipment could significantly increase your distance and help you play better golf, would you be interested?

The five exercises provided here can be done at home with just a golf club. They work on a combination of mobility, stability, and strength, all vital for a powerful efficient golf swing. As an added bonus, they can easily done as a warm-up before practice or play.

To start working on your golfing body, perform the following circuit for:

  • 1-3 rounds
  • 5-10 reps each exercise
  • 3 times per week

1. Pelvic Rotations

Pelvic rotations are a great way to work on the ability to separate the rotation of the lower and upper body during the swing, which is important for correct sequencing and power production. They also work on hip mobility. Pressing the hands down through the golf club makes it easier to keep the upper half still while the pelvis rotates.

2. Half-Kneeling Thoracic Rotation

Half-kneeling thoracic rotations also work on separation, but in the opposite fashion. The lower half stays stable, and rotation comes from the thoracic spine (mid back). Thoracic rotation is essential for an adequate shoulder turn. The half-kneeling position will limit how much we can “cheat” with our hips, while also challenging stability of the trunk and hips.

3. Hip Hinge

The hinge is a great posture assessment tool and can teach people how to hinge from their hips, rather than rounding or flexing from their lower back. This is important for our address position in golf and many exercises in the gym, especially deadlift variations, which are an excellent addition to a more comprehensive program down the road. The golf club must remain in contact with your tailbone, between your shoulder blades, and if possible, the back of your head. Maintain a slight knee flex, and note how the movement is a hinge at the hips, not a squat.

4. Split Squat With Rotation

Split squats with rotation work on lower body strength and stability in beginner trainees, and they may also help with mobility in the hips and thoracic spine. A strong, stable lower body is commonplace in big hitters, but it’s often lacking in amateurs/physically weaker players. Lower yourself as far as you can under control, ideally hovering the knee of the rear leg just off the floor while keeping the heel of the front foot glued to the floor. Most people cannot lower all the way at first, so go to wherever is manageable for now and aim to get lower over time.

5. Plank With Shoulder Tap

These are a more difficult variation of the very popular front-plank exercise, and they also add an extra stability component for the trunk and core. It’s a great exercise to train trunk and shoulder stability.

The goal is to maintain strict alignment from your ankles to your ears and resist any rotation of the hips as you raise your hand to tap the opposite shoulder. Imagine a glass of water resting on your lower back, which you don’t want to spill. If you find this too difficult at first, try elevating your hands onto a bench or step.

If you liked what you saw in this article and want a much more in-depth, golf-specific strength-and-conditioning program, you can check out the Fit For Golf Online Training Programs. GolfWRX readers can avail of 20% off by entering golfwrx20 in the coupon bar at checkout. Please feel free to comment, get in touch with me via e-mail, and share with anyone who may be interested. 

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Mike Carroll is a Strength & Conditioning Coach specialising in the physical training of golfers. He combines his scientific background with real world experience to provide effective solutions for golfers who require improved physical function to enable better play. Having worked with athletes from a wide variety of sports since 2011, Mike turned his attention to golfers exclusively in 2013. While playing himself, and following the professional game he noticed there was huge potential for golfers of all levels to improve their performance by getting their bodies in a state more optimal for the demands of golf. Since then he was worked with hundreds of golfers from all over the world, both in person and online. Mike is originally from Cork, Ireland, but currently based in Irvine, California. He is available for in person and online training services and can be contacted by via his website www.fitforgolf.blog He has a BSc in Sport & Exercise Science, UK Strength & Conditioning Association Accreditation, and TPI Level 2 Certified Golf Fitness Professional.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Larry

    Sep 13, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Should these excerices be done on each side?

  2. John Krug

    Sep 8, 2017 at 8:37 am

    The last thing anyone 50+ should do is a plank as it will damage your elbows.

    • Michael Carroll

      Sep 13, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      Hey John,

      Thanks for your input, no reason for a plank to damage your elbows if you start at the appropriate difficulty level. If your elbows hurt during them try elevating your hands onto a bench or some steps as suggested in the article. There is lots of of people 50+ doing planks without any elbow damage. If planks do bother your elbows there are lots of similar exercises you can try.

      Regards,
      Mike

  3. Sir Humperdink

    Sep 8, 2017 at 3:00 am

    I just humpalot

  4. Acew7iron

    Sep 6, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    My knees hurt just watching you do them…

    • Michael Carroll

      Sep 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      Hi Acew7iron,

      If you have issues with your knees there are many variations of the exercises shown here which may be of benefit to you. Step-ups are often less stressful for people who have knee issues compared to lunges. Also, by doing the lunges through a partial range of motion that isn’t painful you should get benefit also. In time you may be able to increase the range of motion.

  5. Old Slim

    Sep 6, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Great exercises, Micheal, but would you recommend these exercises to a ‘golfer’ who has 50# of belly hanging over their belt buckle plus mantits?

    • Michael Carroll

      Sep 13, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Hey Old Slim.

      Yes I absolutely recommend these exercises to to a “‘golfer’ who has 50# of belly hanging over their belt buckle plus mantits”.

      The exercises may need to be modified to easier variations, and a change in nutrition may also be valuable.

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6 ways to improve your self image as a golfer

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According to a ranking done by FanSided, The Ohio State Buckeyes are the current kings of Fandom! This ranking is not limited to sports; it also includes entertainment, celebrities and even different brands.

Growing up in Michigan, I certainly take exception to seeing The Buckeyes at No. 1, but that is certainly not the point here. I went to college with a few folks from Ohio, one who was an absolute diehard Ohio State fan. He grew up rooting for the collegiate program through both the ups and the downs. We often joked about how Ohio State could not beat Michigan when we were younger, and now the Wolverines can’t seem beat the Buckeyes. But outside of our differences, when he described every trip he made to “The Horseshoe,” you could feel his fandom. As he described the people, the food, the neighborhood and the history, you could feel the aura of “The Horseshoe.” This was a special place to him, as it is to many. Every time he left, win or lose, he could not wait to return. He was and still is a raving fan.

Unfortunately, on the lesson tee, I usually hear a different story. I rarely hear golfers describe their own game in good favor. Instead, I hear them talk poorly of every aspect of their game. I rarely hear anyone who is truly a raving fan of his or her own game. I am by no means giving anyone the green light to be arrogant, but to display confidence and develop a positive self-image. I hear plenty about how good other golfers are: Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, even some of their buddies or co-workers who shoot no better scores than they do! The best players at any level are raving fans of their own games. So how do we change our own self-image and fall in love with our own game?

The key is understanding our mental self-image. Many people want to change their strategy. “I need new clubs. I need a better swing. I need everything!” What I want you to do is change your story. I want you to realize that inside, if you can change your mental approach from “I’m a 100’s shooter” to “I’m a bogey golfer,” you can start achieving that goal. If someone asks me what I shoot, I’ll tell them between 69 and 76. Someone who shoots 110 will tell you he shoots between 105 and 110. How can someone be that consistent with that high of a score? It’s simple; that is the game that golfer plays. It’s his self-image.

So again, how do we change it? Here are six ways to get started. 

1. Visualize Your Game

Every day, I want you to write out a scorecard. I don’t care what you use: a piece of paper, on a scorecard, on an iPhone note. What I want you to do is visualize your round. Simply think of where you normally hit your drive and where you normally hit it on the green. Play each hole normally as you would on the course. What you’ll find is that you’re not going to make any double or triple bogeys, because you’re simply playing the holes the way you have before. That will add up to a score that is 5, 10, or maybe even 15 shots lower. It will also start to give you the understanding that to shoot those scores it isn’t about perfect shots, but solid rounds of golf. If you haven’t visualized it, how can you possibly achieve it?

2. Keep Your Commitments to Yourself

Make a game plan and stick to it, case closed. Be it instruction, fitness, diet, playing more… don’t cheat yourself, just do it. Keep a journal, as journaling helps you see growth and makes it easier to stay committed.

3. Educate Yourself

We live in an information age, so choose wisely. The internet can be hard to navigate, but follow trusted sources, read books, or pick up the phone and call someone who can answer your questions. As you learn more about your game, the information will become easier to apply and you’ll see growth.

4. Be Consistent

Commit to good habits and then consistently follow through. You will start to impress yourself when it becomes routine, and when it is routine is when you see results.

5. Acknowledge and Fix Problems

I’m not saying that you should be trying to fix every problem with your golf swing. If you are giving your golf game a true assessment, however, and you’re doing what you can to address issues, you will know that you are truly doing your best.

6. Deliver on Your Game Plan +1 Percent

Ask yourself what you could do to give it the +1 percent. You don’t need to be 50 percent better. Just 1 percent can take you from satisfied to a raving fan. Commit to what you want, follow through with the commitment, add the extra 1 percent and you will be well on your way to becoming a raving fan of your own game.

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Shallowing the Club: Two Moves to Avoid (Part 1)

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It’s the move we all want in the downswing… and rightfully so. Shallowing the club is a great way to put your swing on plane and really start to narrow you misses. All shallowing moves are not equal, however; in fact, there are a couple that you’ll definitely want to try to avoid because they can actually have the opposite effect!

We’ve broken this series into two parts to make it more digestible. This is Part 1. Thank you for watching!

Shallowing the Club: Two Moves to Avoid (Part 2) is coming soon!

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WATCH: How to hit better pitch shots by improving weight transfer

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In this video, I use technology to help you better understand how you can pitch the ball like the pros.

When pitching, you may have learned to keep your weight on your lead foot throughout the shot. That’s not always the best approach. With BodiTrak, I show you how to move your weight correctly to achieve more consistent strikes.

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