For most of us winter consists of freezing temperatures, snow shoveling and lounging on the couch watching football. Fortunately, the golf season is just around the corner and now is the perfect time to get your body prepped for the upcoming season.
As a trainer who has worked with golfers of all abilities—from enthusiast to TOUR professional—here are my favorite exercises to get your body ready for the golf season.
Regardless of your individual strength, if you are not mobile you will not be able to make a proper and consistent swing. Mobility is crucial to a golf swing and allows you the proper range of motion leading to additional length, better accuracy, and more consistency. Additionally, proper mobility will lead to fewer injuries.
Two prominent areas to increase mobility are in thoracic rotation (mid/upper back) and hip rotation—areas which are critical to a golfer’s backswing and follow through.
Try these exercises to improve mobility.
Kneeling T-Spine Rotation
Get into a quadruped position with the hands underneath the shoulders, knees underneath the hips, and back in a neutral position. Place your hand behind your head and make sure to keep your head in a neutral position. Rotate upwards and make sure to look where you are going.
Start by standing on one leg and lift the other leg and hook your foot behind the knee. Place hands on a club and press into the club slightly. Rotate your hips in both directions without moving your shoulders.
With increased mobility, comes increased range of motion and it is critical to manage this newfound freedom to avoid injury and swing inconsistencies.
For example, imagine how stable you would feel while swinging on a frozen pond. Now, imagine making that same swing on a perfectly mowed fairway. On a stable surface you gain power and efficiency, while on the slippery ice your body becomes less efficient and unstable, leading to much less power.
Try these exercises to improve strength and stability.
Stiff Leg Deadlift
Stand on one leg and place a kettlebell in the opposite hand. Keeping the knee slightly bent, bend at the hip and push the free leg behind you. While keeping neutral positions continue to lower until you are parallel to the ground. Return to the starting position.
Side Plank with Hip Abduction
Lie on your side with your bottom elbow under your shoulder, legs stacked on top of each other and hips off the floor. Raise the top leg and return to the starting position.
Begin in a pushup position. Lift one hand off the ground and tap the opposite shoulder. Switch hands and avoid lifting or rotating the shoulder in hips during the exercise.
Phase 3 –Power
Nearly everyone I work with wants to hit the ball further, but taking full advantage of your power can only be done by mastering your mobility (Phase 1), strength and stability (Phase 2). Once the groundwork is established, your training will be more effective, you will have more power, and you will be less susceptible to injuries.
Try these exercises to improve explosive power.
Medicine Ball Throw with Step
Begin in golf posture with feet together. As you bring your arms back take a step towards your target. Release the medicine ball towards your target while maintaining your posture.
Speed Skater Jumps
Starting on your right foot bound as high and far as possible to the left. Immediately explode and bound back to the left leg. Repeat bounding back and forth.
Joe Yoon is the Director of Training at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey which is the home of the 2016 PGA Championship. Joe has trained hundreds of professional golfers from around the world, improving their individual games through custom tailored power and mobility programs. Follow Joe on Instagram and keep an eye out for more ways to cut a few strokes off your own score.