Five surefire moves to a more explosive swing.
By Jason Witczak, Photography by EJ Carr
EVEN THOUGH LOUSY spring weather has kept us all off the course, it should not have kept you from preparing your body to have your best golf season ever. After all, dedicating yourself to getting better at golf sometimes has to start with a commitment to fix your body in order to fix your swing. Increasing strength and flexibility can get your body physically ready for the endurance required throughout the year.
Here, my student Karin Hart and I demonstrate five different exercises focusing on golf-related movements that any level of golfer can do to improve his or her overall strength. These simple exercises are specifically designed to improve your golf game and prevent injuries. Each of them will strengthen your core and obliques, giving you more awareness of body control and allow you to activate the glutes to increase your speed and power.
Perform each of these movements 8-12 times, three circuits, three times a week.
KETTLE BELL SWINGS
Main focus: Increase your explosiveness by stabilizing glutes and hips.
- Hold the bell with both hands so it hangs between your legs, then hinge your hips into a squat position.
- Engaging your core and keeping arms straight, stand up quickly so the bell rocks up no higher than eye level.
- Hinge your hips into a squat and let the kettlebell swing back beneath your body. Be sure not to squat too much as the kettlebell goes in between your legs.
- The two main elements in this movement–swinging down to create tension and power and exploding upward while your body stays stable–helps train the butt and hip muscles to boost the power in your downswing.
PRO TIP: Two added benefits are gaining strength in your shoulders and getting in a cardio workout. Just be careful not to graze your knees with the kettlebell.
GOLF SWING MED BALL TOSS
Main focus: Stabilize your body and increase your arm speed.
- Hold the medicine ball with your arms extended.
- Keeping the width between your two arms the same throughout, rotate into a “swing.” As you move from the backswing into a forward swing, remain balanced in your lower body and stable within your core.
- Allow your arms to move uninterrupted as you throw the medicine ball. This movement will improve your golf swing by training your body to stay stable during rotation and allowing your arms to swing naturally.
Main focus: Activate the strongest muscles in your body–your glutes–to increase swing power.
- Place a resistance band above or below your knee (whatever position is more comfortable).
- Stand with your legs just wider than shoulder width, similar to the golf swing, to give you a stable base.
- Place your hands together at your chest. Assuming a standing squat pose (back straight, knees bent, buttocks out) focus on pushing outward with your knees while walking forward. Do not let your knees go over your toes. (You should be able to see your toes if you look down).
- Take eight steps forward and eight steps backward while maintaining the position. Then take the same number of steps laterally to the right and back to the left.
- Be sure to keep your core activated throughout both movements and avoid rocking back and forth or side to side.
- It is critical to perform these movements correctly to activate your glutes properly and to protect your knees! Be sure that your knees never go over the front of your toes (as in the “wrong” photo).
PRO TIP: Try these glute activation movements before a round of golf! Bring your band with you to do these exercises in the parking lot before you warm up.
SPRI GOLF SWING
Main focus: Train your body to swing on the correct plane.
- Holding a lightweight SPRI stick, stand at address with each foot on a Dyna Disc.
- Swing back the club vertically, putting it in position to fall and generate clubhead speed as it stays on plane on the downswing.
- The stick should feel light throughout the swing. The Dyna Discs help center your weight and prevent swaying, giving you the stability necessary for your hands and wrists to involuntarily hinge upward as your body stays strong.
- When doing the movement correctly, you will feel your weight stay centered throughout the movement.
- If the stick feels heavy, your swing is too “inside” (“wrong” photo). Your weight shifts to your toes, forcing you to lift, rather than swing, the club—and to lose your balance and fall off the Dyna Discs.
FOREARM PLANK EXERCISE BALL ROLL-OUTS
Main focus: Maintain good balance and form while activating the three main muscle groups critical to the golf swing—lats, glutes and core.
- Place your forearms on the exercise ball and place your legs into a plank position.
- While squeezing your core and maintaining a straight line from the crown of your head to your toes, push your forearms out and away from your body, then pull them back in. It is more important to maintain good form than to get your forearms out far.
- Make sure not to arch your back too much, nor stick your buttocks too high.
Jason Witczak is PGA Director of Instruction at The Pinery Country Club and The Club at Pradera, both in Parker. [email protected]; (303) 607-5677.
This article appeared in the 2019 June Issue of Colorado AvidGolfer.
Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.