Unlock Your Potential Off the Tee
Golf is becoming more about speed and power than it is touch and finesse. Sure, chipping and putting are important, but the game becomes easier when you can hit a wedge into a green. This is becoming more evident on the PGA and LPGA Tours, as most tour players now have fitness trainers on their team. Each player goes through a screening process and when physical limitations are found, their trainer develops a program to work on their weaknesses. According to the Titleist Performance Institute, the most common swing inefficiencies golfers have are:
+ Loss of Posture (64.3%): Any significant alteration from the body’s original set-up angles during the golf swing
+ Flat Shoulder Plane (45.2%): Standing up in the backswing and a flattening of the shoulder plane
+ Early Extension (64.3%): Any movement of the body towards the golf ball in the downswing
The Titleist Performance Institute also found that physical restrictions can be attributed to the common swing flaws as well:
+ Inability to separate the upper and lower body
+ Inadequate core stability
+ Lack of shoulder and hip flexibility, mobility, and/or stability
+ Lack of thoracic spine mobility
The following exercises are great at working these common limitations and are the start to unlocking your potential.
To maximize speed and power you must start with your legs. Applying force into the ground is essential for power, and deadlifts are a great way to build the required lower body strength. Because the golf swing challenges your upper back and core, deadlifts are the place to start.
Continuing to build speed and power from the ground up, box jumps teach golfers how to use their legs. You don’t need a tall box; a box that is a minimum of 6” will do. Adding variations like lateral and 90-degree box jumps are perfect for golf too because they force you to squat and rotate, essential for speed in the downswing. Pay attention to your form to be sure that your chest and eyes point forward when you land. Body Stability with Thoracic Spine Rotation Another key element for long drives is upper body rotation; this rotational stretch will open the thoracic spine to allow maximum rotation during your swing. Loss of posture can also be attributed to the lack of mobility and flexibility in the thoracic spine. This
is a great stretch after a long day sitting at your desk, too!
Medicine Ball Parallel Throw
The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen your hips and core. You can complete this in a half-kneeling or standing position. Hold a medicine ball at waist level, rotate your trunk away from the wall, and then in one motion, initiate the throw by thrusting your hips toward the wall, followed
by your trunk, arms, and the ball. This is a great way to separate the lower and upper body while also developing core strength.
Woodchoppers are a great way to simulate the upward and downward forces and torques in the golf swing. They are also a total core workout! These can be done using a medicine ball or a cable machine and can also be done standing or kneeling. Woodchoppers work the abdominals, obliques,
hamstrings, and the lower back, which are all used throughout the golf swing.
Whether you’re an avid golfer or a weekend warrior, we all have our limitations. Identifying your weakness is the first step in the process of maximizing your potential. Additional yards can be found on the driving range, but the surefire way to add yardage off the tee is to turn your physical weaknesses into strengths.