Before you shell out a couple thousand dollars on a new set of clubs, consider working on your core stability for a better return on investment. The core area is oftentimes the weakest part of a golfer’s body. Without strong, engaged muscles in your mid-region, (stomach, hips, butt and lower back), you cannot execute a swing that is powerful and technically sound. Stability in your stance is essential for a good driving technique. With good core stability, you can wind your body to generate the force necessary for distance, without losing the alignment necessary for accuracy. These five stability exercises will help you improve your golf game.
Defined as the ability of any system to remain unchanged in the presence of outside forces, stability is improved through strengthening, balance and muscular endurance exercises. Since we’ve still got a couple more months left in this golf season, we’ve prepared for all the avid golfers a 5-exercise workout plan that specifically targets the muscles you need to improve your game.
For training purposes, we have included one key piece of equipment for these exercises: the stability ball. Very popular and versatile, you can buy one at any exercise equipment store, department store or most sports stores. The stability ball helps to introduce that uncertainty into your workout, heightening your bodily awareness. This helps activate more muscle groups, forcing your entire body to practice coordination and balance as a unified system.
A simple motion that will challenge your balance, this is a modified plank exercise using the stability ball to introduce balance and coordination to the posture. Start with the ball resting underneath your upper thighs, upper body outstretched from the ball with your arms firmly planted into the ground in a standard plank position. Your hands and arms should be in alignment with your shoulders, palms facing down pushing into the mat. Drop both feet to one side, staying strong in your arms, while twisting in the core. Hold the feet at this side position for 2 seconds and then bring the feet back towards the sky. Hold in neutral plank before repeating for the other side. One repetition involves dips on both sides and should take 8 seconds, do 2 sets of 5 repetitions.
Precautions: This exercise can be difficult, and you may need to work up to it from a more beginner-friendly modification. If you are having trouble with the plank twist exercise (or have shoulder injuries!), stay in a neutral plank instead, either on your front or side, for 45 seconds, rest and repeat.
(Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P50hEO3Kjzs)
Begin in a high push up position, with the stability ball resting underneath your hips. Keep your toes active pressing into the ground and neck extended, looking towards the wall in front of you. Placing all of your weight into your left arm and right leg, slowly raise your left arm and right leg up towards the sky. Make sure you are keeping your core engaged so you do not rotate through the back when lifting the leg up, and that your arms and legs are reaching as much as they can in opposite directions. When you have fully extended your arm and leg pause for 10 seconds, then slowly bring them down to the floor and repeat with the opposite side. The entire motion should take 5 seconds with 5 repetitions per side.
(Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xivHRMSkqXU)
Begin lying on your mat, with your hands by your sides (or outstretched for an easier modification) and the stability ball stationary with your heels pressed into the top of the ball. Begin by lifting your legs and glutes, raising your hips up towards the sky. If you want to keep the exercise more manageable, only lift the hips a few inches off the ground. If you want a more difficult modification, lift the hips as high as you can, as shown in the photos. With your heels, bring the stability ball towards you by bending your knees so they point towards the ceiling at the top. Keep your core engaged and then release your knees back towards the ground, gently rolling the ball away from you. The entire process should take 5 seconds with 15 repetitions.
(Image credit: http://thiswaybypallesen.com/stability-ball-workout/)
The last two exercises are quite challenging, so ease into them to avoid injury, and only go as far as your body feels comfortable. With practice you will begin to see improvement and can progress from there. Begin lying down, facing upwards on your mat, with your feet spread to touch the edges of the mat. Extend your arms upwards in the opposite direction of your body and grab the stability ball with both hands above your head. Coming up to a sit up position, raise your feet at the same time and carefully “pass” the ball to your feet keeping your core engaged. Once you have a firm grip on the ball with your feet, slowly lower your shoulders and feet at an even pace to the ground to resume your starting position. The entire process should take 5 seconds with 12 repetitions.
(Image Credit: http://www.oxygenmag.com/article/ashleys-awesome-abs-10032)
Ab Roll Out:
One of the more challenging exercises, you can give this one a try right away or else add it to your routine, as you get more comfortable with your core strength and stability. Start with your knees on the ground, with your toes firmly planted and flexed so the bottom of the foot is facing towards the area behind you, in a tall kneeling position. Begin with your abs tightly engaged, and the ball resting underneath your forearms, don’t let your back dip or arch down. If this is too difficult you can remain in the first position and hold there for 10 seconds, release and repeat 10 times. Slowly roll the ball in front of you by extending your arms in a straight line away from your body. Stop at the point where the stability ball begins to brush your armpits and hold it there for 10 seconds. Then, with the same care and attention roll the ball back towards you, bringing your chest upwards and elbows back in line with your shoulders. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat this motion 10 times.
(Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbZs_zjTbRw)
As with any workout routine, consistency is key. Stick with the regime for at least three to four weeks and we assure you that you will see improvements in your game. For best results, we recommend practicing this routine 3 to 5 times per week. The exercises will prevent strain on your lower back, improve consistency in your game, increase power and prevent injury. Hope you have a great season from all of us at Summit!