Is your body helping you play the best golf possible? Do you want to feel better and play better golf? Maybe the FitGolf Golf Fitness Handicap can help.

 

How does the FitGolf Golf Fitness Handicap apply to you?

FitGolf Golf Fitness Handicap is a series of body movement tests that tell a story about how your body works in golf swing. It also shows how you might be at risk for an injury from golf. Each test is worth a maximum of three points.  If you pass the test you get a zero and if you fail you get a three.  There are 12 tests in all.  

If your FitGolf Golf Fitness Handicap is higher than your Golf Handicap, then FitGolf Performance Centers staff can improve your body and make you feel better. If your golf handicap is higher than your FitGolf Golf Fitness Handicap, then golf lessons from your golf instructor will have a larger effect on your level of play. That means that your body is working well enough and that there is probably a problem with your technique or skills.

For example, if your FitGolf Golf Fitness Handicap is 18 and your golf handicap is 10, golf fitness training by FitGolf Performance Centers staff will help you lower your scores, be more consistent, feel better and prevent injury.

Add up the results of each test below. That is your FitGolf Golf Fitness Handicap. Would you rather our golf fitness expert figure this out?  Enter your test results into the form below, and our golf fitness experts will help you understand the results and complete your golf fitness handicap.

Contact your local FitGolf Performance Center and ask for the FitGolf Golf Fitness Handicap Testing. It is free, it’s easy and our Centers want to help you. Complete this form to request your Golf Fitness Handicap Testing at one of our Centers.




Jeremy Klinkhamer, PT, GPS, CGFI-MP2“At FitGolf Performance Centers of San Diego, we believe that your golf swing has to be efficient and safe.  Most golfers know their golf handicap, but not their FitGolf Golf Fitness Handicap.  The key to lowering their golf handicap is to have a FitGolf golf Fitness Handicap test so that we can see what areas of their body and motion need improvement.

 

Jeremy Kinkhamer

Golf Fitness Specialist

San Diego FitGolf Performance Center


Pelvic Tilt Test

Fitgolf Golf Fitness Handicap - pelvic tilt testFitgolf Golf Fitness Handicap - pelvic tilt test

Do the test: Arch and flex your lower back and pelvis. Is the movement like the pictures?  Is it shaky or solid? If your movement looks like the pictures and does not shake, you get a zero.  Otherwise you get a three.

What it means: How does your lumbar spine and core affect your stability? Does your glute and abdominal control your pelvis and create STABILITY in your swing? If you lose posture during your swing, a challenged pelvic tilt test could be a contributing to the loss of posture.

 

 

Pelvic Rotation Test

Fitgolf Golf Fitness Handicap - pelvic rotationFitgolf Golf Fitness Handicap - Pelvic Rotation test.

Do the test: Turn your lower body and keep your upper body perfectly still. If you do this and the lower body rotates as opposed to sideways motion, you pass and get a zero. If not you get a three.

What it means: Can you rotate your pelvis independently from your upper torso and ribcage. If not, consistent, powerful rotation could be compromised. You might slide or sway, suffer from early hip extension, rotate poorly, lose posture, or chicken wing.

 

 

 

Torso Rotation Test

Torso Rotation TestTorso Rotation Test

Do the test: Turn you upper body and keep you lower body perfectly still. If you do this and the upper body rotates as opposed to sideways motion, you pass and get a zero.  If not you get a three.

What it means: Can you rotate your upper torso and ribcage independently from your pelvis.  If not, you could have limited mobility in the thoracic spine or poor stability in the pelvis and low back. This can lead to loss of posture, slides and sways, reverse spine angle (the number one injury inducing swing fault in golf) and flipping the club.

 

 

Overhead Deep Squat

Overhead Deep SquatOverhead Deep Squat

Do the test: Put a golf club over your head, and squat.  Do your heels come up?  Do your hips get below your knees? Does the club get in front of your feet?  If any of these happen, you get a 3.  If the form looks just like the picture below, you get a zero.

What it means: For sure, this test is telling you about your swing.  Data indicates that when a golfer cannot do the overhead deep squat correctly, they will experience early hip extension every time.  Ever feel stuck, or trapped?  Have difficulty rotating through impact? That is probably early hip extension in action. Fix the squat form, and your golf swing will improve.

 

 

Toe Touch Test

Toe Touchtoe-touch-2

Do the test: Put your feet together.  Bend over and reach for your toes.  Your knees need to be kept straight.  Do you touch your toes with straight knees?  You get a zero.  Otherwise you get a three.

What it means: Golfers who cannot touch their toes will suffer from loss of spine posture.  It could be your hamstrings, or your glutes, or your abs, or your hip mobility.  Failed toe touch will lead to inconsistency and challenges with ball striking.

 

 

 

90/90 Shoulder Rotation Test

90 90 Test90 90 Test

Do the test:Start in the position shown on the left picture.  Now roll your arms up.  If your hands get past your ears you get a zero, otherwise you get a three.

What it means: Tour players average more than 110 degrees of shoulder external rotation. Golfers who do not have at least 90 degrees of this motion can suffer flying elbows, reverse spine angles, loss of posture, over-the-top motion and possible shoulder pain. You could also be a slicer because of this shoulder problem.

 

 

Single Leg Balance

single-leg-balance-2

Do the test: Stand on one leg as shown.  Can you make 15 seconds with your eyes closed and no wobbles?  If you do that on both legs you get a zero, otherwise you get a three.

What it means: Standing on one leg tests your proprioception systems, balance systems, and core and lower extremity strength and stability. It affects your weight shift too.

 

 

 

Lat Test

Lat TestLat Test

Do the test: Stand as shown in the left picture below.  Now flatten your back and lower your arms.  If you keep your back flat, elbows straight AND touch the wall overhead, you get a zero, otherwise you get a three.

What it means: This is a test of lat mobility and trunk stability.  It is a component of the overhead deep squat.  When the lats do not work right, we see a failed overhead deep squat.  The Lat Test is linked to loss of posture, early hip extension, and limited shoulder motion.

 

 

Half Kneeling Rotation

Half Kneeling Rotation

Do the test: Get into a half-kneeling position.  Put the club behind your back.  Now turn towards the up knee.  How far can you go without moving your knee or losing your balance.  If less than 60-70 degrees you get three points.  If 70 degrees or more you get zero.

What it means: This is a test of pelvic stability and trunk mobility.  It is a good indicator of how much separation and stability you will have in your swing. This is related to power and consistency.

 

 

 

 

Bridge with Leg Extension

Bridge with Leg ExtensionBridge with Leg ExtensionDo the test: – Get into the position on the left.  Now pick up your hips then extend one knee so that you are in the position of the right picture.  Do you get a cramp in the back of your thigh? Does your hip fall?  Repeat this on the other side.  If your hips drop or your get a cramp, you get three points, otherwise you get zero.

What it means:This is a test of gluteal control and strength. The glutes are one of the most important muscle groups in the body when it comes to golf.  Weakness in the glutes leads to problems in most of the other tests we do.

Leg Lowering Test

Bridge with Leg Extension

Do the test: Flatten your lower back.  Keep it flat and lower one leg without letting go of the lower back release.  Do this on both sides.  If you can get your leg down and still feel the pressure of the lower back on the floor, you get zero points, otherwise you get three points.

What it means: This is an abdominal stability and strength test.  The abdominals are another of the most important muscle groups in the body.

 

Hip Rotation Test

Standing Hip RotationStanding Hip Rotation

Do the test: Stand as pictured on the left.  Turn and see if the club is angled to 60 degrees or more per the right picture.  Repeat on the other side. If you do not get past 60 degrees you get three points.  If you do get to 60 or more degrees, you get zero points.

What it means: Hip joint rotation is critical to hip turn, pelvic and knee stability, power and consistency in the golf swing.  Are your hips helping your swing or not?

 


* = required

At the 2016 World Golf Fitness Summit I attended a lecture presented by Liam Mucklow. Liam played professional golf and competed at the World Long Drive Finals. The topic of his lecture was improving the kinematic sequence of the golf swing. The kinematic sequence describes the way great ball strikers generate club head speed. Regardless of swing style, research has proved that great ball strikers generate speed the same way. The kinematic sequence describes this method. In order to create the most speed possible, transition into the downswing must start with lateral weight transfer to the lead leg, followed by rotation of the lower body, then the upper body, arms, and the club last.

Proper Kinematic Sequence/Order of the Downswing:

  1. Weight transfer
  2. Lower body rotation
  3. Upper body rotation
  4. Arms
  5. Club

At FitGolf Performance Centers we use technology called K-Vest to see if our clients have a proper kinematic sequence. Almost all golfers I evaluate that desire a more powerful swing display a poor kinematic sequence. There is not a simple solution for fixing a bad downswing. Not one body is the same and there are a number of physical restrictions that act as road blocks to a good swing. If you feel like your body acts against you in the golf swing, you should seek the help of a TPI Certified personal trainer, athletic trainer, physical therapist, or chiropractor.

Liam provided some really interesting interventions to improving the kinematic sequence. One of the interventions that really stuck with me utilized a baseball swing. To understand the glaring similarities between a powerful baseball swing and golf swing let’s take a look at two examples of power at its finest. Let’s start with hall of famer Ken Griffey Jr.

In my opinion, that is the most beautiful swing in the history of baseball. Take note at the sequencing of movements when he goes to hit the ball. First, he plants hard into his lead leg. Second, he creates lower body rotation. Third, his upper body rotates. Fourth, he swings his arms. Lastly, he releases the bat and made the night for one lucky fan sitting deep in the outfield.

Now lets look at a golf example. I’m going to use Bubba Watson, a Masters Champion with an unconventional yet undeniably powerful swing…

Take a look at his downswing. The sequencing of movement is exactly like Griffey’s, isn’t it?

So what is the take-away of all of this? We know that powerful ball strikers sequence the downswing the same regardless of swing style. We also know that sequencing of a powerful baseball swing is exactly the same as the golf swing. Hence, you should practice the baseball swing to become a more powerful golfer!

Next time you practice go through your warm-up routine, then, before you hit golf balls take 10-20 baseball swings BOTH right and left handed. Make sure you practice good kinematic sequence. Always make sure your lead leg is planted before the bat or golf club rotates. Once you completed your baseball swings, forget about proper sequencing. Once again, once your done the baseball swings FORGET ABOUT PROPER SEQUENCING! If you practice these baseball swings regularly over time, your body will develop a new motor pattern, or muscle memory. Once this happen, the kinematic sequence will become a natural thing for you (that is if you do not have major physical restrictions getting in your way).

BATTER’S UP!

If you have any questions about golf fitness please contact Jason directly at [email protected].

Power Your Way Through Fall Golf with Golf Fitness Exercise

How different would your scores be if you could drive 10, 20, or even 30 yards further? When our golfers here at FitGolf Performance Centers set their goals, rarely is additional yardage left out. As a golf fitness coach, I consider many factors before implementing a golf fitness exercise power training program. First thing considered is mobility. Without adequate mobility in the body’s joints, your muscles will not be able to lengthen to the extent which is necessary to create elastic energy to generate power. The more range of motion a golfer is able to obtain, the more power they will be able to generate. However, range of motion is not the only precursor to power. Golfers with great range of motion will only be able to use it to their benefit as long as they have adequate stability in their joints. The body’s joints have an alternating mobility-stability pattern. For example, the joints in the lumbar spine (low back) provide your torso with stability so your mobile joints in the thoracic spine (mid-upper back) have a solid foundation to rotate off of. If stability in your lumbar spine is compromised due to weak “core” musculature, it is impossible to safely and correctly achieve rotation in your thoracic spine, which is crucial to a powerful golf swing. Golf Fitness Exercises can help all of these things.

golf-power

Golfers of different gender and age usually have issues with mobility, stability, or both. We generally see that men tend to have more issues related to mobility, but adequate stability. On the flip side, women and junior golfers tend to have much better mobility, but less stability. Every individual’s body is unique and it is important to have specific physical issues, whether pertaining to mobility or stability, identified by a golf fitness professional through a comprehensive evaluation and implementation of golf fitness exercises.

Once full joint range of motion and stability of all the body’s joints is established, it is then appropriate to implement power training into your golf fitness exercise program. Half kneeling medicine ball chop slams is a great beginner-intermediate exercise to start out with. This exercise requires a medicine ball and a partner or wall to which you will be bouncing the medicine ball to. Here’s how they are performed:

Start by kneeling on your left knee with your right foot out in front of you. With the medicine ball in your hands, elongate your spine to become as tall as possible and tightly squeeze your left glute and abdominals. From here you are going to use both hands to bring the medicine ball diagonally over your right shoulder. While maintaining balance and a tall posture, bounce the ball across your body with the goal of slamming it to the ceiling or over your partner’s head. It is critical keep your core engaged in order to maintain balance and generate the most power. If you do not have a medicine ball, you can use a 5-10 lb. weight. Just make sure you do not release the weight once you bring in across your body. Perform 5-10 repetitions and switch knees and directions of the bounce or chop.

For any questions relating to mobility, stability, and/or power, please email me at [email protected]

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Is Your Fitness Routine Hurting Your Golf Game?

Are all core exercises created equally?

It is well documented that core strength is critical to prevent injury, back pain, and improve the golf swing. When I evaluate a golfer new to golf fitness I often hear that he or she does “core strengthening” in their current exercise routine. My first question is always, “what do you mean, core strengthening?” Too often the response is, “Oh well you know, crunches, the ab machine where you press your chest down, things like that.” After full evaluation, 9 times out of 10 this individual has weak core muscles, poor posture, and swing flaws that will create pain and injuries

Is your "core" work promoting bad swing habits?

Is your “core” work promoting bad swing habits?

Pick the right exercises for the most bang for your buck!

When picking exercises for core strength make sure you pick exercises that will improve function and ability in whatever activity you partake in. Crunches and stationary abdominal machines (and resistance machines in general) are likely to be the wrong choice for golfers. The crunch and ab machines usually promote upper spine flexion (bending). This rounds the shoulders and puts the back into a humped position. As a golfer, this is not a position you want to be training in. Excessive upper spine flexion and shoulder rounding promotes poor posture, bad rotation and flaws in the golf swing. In addition, crunches and other ab exercises that require you flex from the shoulders down to the hips can put a lot of stress down the neck and low (lumbar) spine. If you’re looking to improve your golf swing, look for alternatives to this type of core training.

In this exercise the spine forms the shape of a C. This is counterproductive when trying to improve your golf.

In this crunch/sit-up exercise the spine forms the shape of a C.  This looks like the posture in the picture above, doesn’t it? 

Exercises to get you started:

Dead Bugs

For beginners, core strengthening should focus on holding positions that promote anti-extension (arching) of the low back. One simple yet effective exercise that does this is called the dead-bug exercise (click link to view the exercise and instructions). With this exercise make sure you keep your abs braced and your low back flat and pressed into the floor. The dead-bug exercise will help you maintain neutral posture and avoid swing flaws. Perform 2-4 sets x 20 reps before your workouts or golf as a great way to activate the core.

Dead Bugs: A great exercise to learn how to control your spine as your limbs move.

Prone Plank

For intermediates, the classic exercise called plank is a great way you can challenge yourself. To execute a proper plank, start by laying face down on the floor. Position your elbows directly under your shoulders and make sure your toes and feet are flexed and curled up toward the shins. Before you lift into the plank position, contract both your abs and glutes, and make sure your knees are locked out. From here, lift your body off the floor and hold as long as possible. It is very important that you can maintain contraction of both the abs and glutes throughout the set. If you are unable to keep the abs and glutes contracted, lower yourself and take a rest before your next set. Perform 2-4 sets to the point of fatigue (but not to failure), during your workouts or before golf.

Plank: A great exercise to improve spine stability and core strength.

I must stress that golf fitness usually does not look like traditional fitness. If you are unsure whether or not your current fitness routine is helping your golf game, I suggest you find a TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Certified Golf Fitness Professional in your area for an assessment. If you have any questions about golf fitness please feel free to email me at [email protected]

Jason Rivkin

BS Athletic Training, CGFI-FP1

TPI Certified

Golf Fitness Coach

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Phases of the Golf Swing and Exercises for Improvement: Part 2 Cont.

This is part 2 (continued) of a 4-part series examining different phases of the golf swing. These phases include the set-up, backswing, transition into the downswing, and weight shift and rotation to impact. Most know that each phase is important into achieving a consistent and powerful golf swing. As a result this series will provide are simple exercise interventions to make each phase easier for the amateur golfer. This article is about physical interventions and exercises to make a better backswing.

In my previous posts I discussed ways to improve your address posture and backswing. Before you start thinking about improving your movement in the downswing you must make sure your positioning at the top of your swing is correct. It’s unlikely that I move onto downswing movement training if a client exhibits swing flaws at the top of the swing such as reverse spine angle, reverse pivot, and/or over rotation of the hips and shoulders. Based on my experience, a vast majority of amateur golfers exhibit at least one of these flaws at the top of the swing.

One of the best ways to avoid flaws at the top of the swing is to make sure the trail leg and foot is properly loaded and performing the role as stabilizer of the upper body and shoulder rotation (unless you use stack and tilt). Ideally, at the top of the swing the trail leg and foot should accept the majority of the golfer’s weight. More specifically, the back of the trail foot and heel should be loaded at the top. More times than not, golfers I assess do in fact get the majority of body weight to the trail leg. However, most do not properly get to the heel of the foot.

The key to loading the trail leg and heel is to keep the leg stable and eliminate almost all lateral motion in the backswing. A golfer can have one or more multiple physical restrictions making proper weight shift and load difficult. What we know is that a golfer must have adequate hip internal rotation (over 45 degrees), strong hip muscles and glutes, great balance, and good movement patterning to be successful.

There’s a great swing drill you can use to determine if you have what it takes to properly load your trail foot consistently. It’s called the trail leg loaded backswing. In your address, shift 80-90% of your weight to your trail leg with the knee slightly bent. Now take a slow backswing while maintaining 80-90% of your weight on the trail leg. Make sure your knee does not move or change its angle. You know you are doing this successfully if you are able to make a full backswing without moving your weight away from the heel of the trail foot or without the knee straightening out or “bowing” outside of the foot. If you struggle doing this then it’s likely you have a physical restriction such as poor hip mobility, strength, or balance.

Phases of the golf swing - the top.

On the left, you will see poor loading of the trail hip. Notice how his weight rolls to the outside of the foot and the knee bows out.

 

It is difficult to self-evaluate golf specific physical restrictions. I recommend that if you struggled doing the drill correctly that you seek out golf fitness professional. In conclusion great ball striking requires proper loading of trail leg and foot. In my next post we will turn our attention away from the back swing and move to part 3, transition into the downswing. If you have any questions about how your body affects your golf swing, please email me directly at [email protected].

Jason Rivkin

Golf Fitness Coach

FitGolf Performance Centers of the Delaware Valley

 

The Phases of the Golf Swing and Exercises for Improvement: Part 2 Cont.

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Golf Fitness Article Library

This is part 2 of a 4-part series examining different phases of the golf swing. These phases include the set-up, back swing, transition into the downswing, and weight shift and rotation to impact. Most know that each phase is important into achieving a consistent and powerful golf swing. What this series will provide are simple exercise interventions to make each phase easier for the amateur golfer. Today I will be writing about physical interventions and exercises to make a better back swing.

In my previous post (see previous post), I discussed what makes for a better backswing. Specifically, I discussed proper sequencing in the backswing. We know that to properly sequence the backswing the upper body must rotationally separate from the lower body. This is difficult for many amateur golfers due to physical restrictions and weaknesses in both the upper and lower body. I gave you all some basic exercises to improve the backswing which included open books, clam shells, and bridges. Hopefully you had an opportunity to try those out and make improvements in your range of motion and strength. Today I want to give you more advanced exercises to take your rotational abilities to the next level.

The next 3 exercises will take place in the half kneeling position. In conventional fitness the half kneeling position is often overlooked, but it provides a great way to perform golf specific exercises because it makes it easy to target important muscle groups for the swing. In the half kneeling position, I want your thought to be “tall and tight”. The top of your head should be as close to the ceiling as possible. Focus hard on the core muscle groups. This includes the glute (butt cheek) of the down knee, and the abdominal muscles. Make sure your upper body is not slumped by puffing your chest out.

The three exercises I want you to perform are half kneeling rotations, chops, and lifts. When you are performing half kneeling rotations, focus more on keeping your lower body still and stable, and less on how far your shoulders are turning. I’d rather see you exhibit less shoulder turn with no lower body movement, as opposed to more shoulder turn with some lower body movement. If you focus on contracting your glute and abs, you will be more successful. Executing the half kneeling rotation correctly will make it more likely that you will be able to separate your upper body from your lower body throughout the golf swing.

Proper Half Kneeling Positioning

Proper Half Kneeling Positioning

 

When you are performing half kneeling chops and lifts, make sure the resistance band feels like a moderate resistance level. It is better that you focus on remaining stable rather than pulling and pushing a heavy band or weight. If you don’t have resistance bands at home, then you can simply chop and lift with an object that weighs anywhere from 5-15 lbs. The goal remains the same, keep your body stable! Initially when you chop and lift, do not rotate your shoulders. Nothing should move besides your hands and arms. Once you feel very stable, then you can begin to rotate the shoulders. Make sure shoulder rotation does not cause lower body movement. If it does, then go back to no rotation until you improve your stability. Half kneeling chops and lifts are a great core exercise that will make you more likely to remain stable and in posture throughout the golf swing.

Half-Kneeling Chops with Rotation

Half-Kneeling Chops with Rotation

 

 

Half-Kneeling Lifts

Half-Kneeling Lifts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps of each exercise. Perform these exercises as often as you can for 2-3 weeks and you will surely feel more control and mobility in your backswing. In my next post I will talk about what’s physically required to make a good transition into the downswing to set you up for powerful and consistent ball striking. If you have any questions about this or golf fitness in general, please email me directly at [email protected].

Jason Rivkin, BS Athletic Training, CGFI-FL1

Golf Fitness Coach

Download (PDF, 106KB)

Download (PDF, 125KB)

Download (PDF, 109KB)

Prepare For Spring Golf With Fitness and Flexibility Training

Believe it or not, the start of golf season is rapidly approaching. Although it seems winter will never end, it’s time to begin tuning up your body. The winter tends to lead to a lifestyle that’s more sedentary than the warmer months. As a result, you might be coming out of the winter tighter or less flexible than you are during the summer months. Not only will this affect your early scores negatively, but it will also increase the chance of injury during chilly spring golf. Over the next month or so, I will be posting tips to keep the most commonly tight muscle groups loose for the start of golf season. Today we will discuss the hamstring muscle group.

Tight Hamstrings

Hamstrings are the muscles behind the thighs which originate from the pelvis and attach below the knee.  The hamstrings take part in controlling the degree to which your pelvis and spine can bend forward in the address position of your golf swing and can dictate how well you maintain your posture throughout the swing. If you’re not able to touch their toes in the standing position, the chances of you maintaining posture in the golf swing significantly decrease and hence, lead to inconsistent golfing and a greater chance of injury.

If you think you suffer from tight hamstrings and they are affecting your posture throughout the golf swing, try the following hamstring stretch which will allow you to achieve ideal posture at address and minimize swing flaws influenced by hamstring tightness

Find a corner of a wall in your home where you can lay down on your back.  Place your right foot up against the wall and your left leg flat on the floor. Make sure that your right knee is fully extended or “locked out” by squeezing your right thigh muscle and bend your right ankle down toward you so you feel a gentle stretch in your right calf. .  Choose a distance from the wall in which the stretch is challenging, yet tolerable. From here, squeeze your abdominals and make sure your low back is pressed against the floor. If you are properly positioned away from the wall, this will create a stretching sensation in the back of your knee, your upper and lower hamstring, and the calf muscles.  If the stretch feels intolerable, move farther away from the wall and reposition your leg.  When you have found the right distance from the wall, hold the stretch position for 3-5 minutes or until a complete release of the stretch feeling has been accomplished.  Switch legs and repeat the stretch.

Hamstring Stretch

You can advance the stretch when ready by gradually moving closer to the wall and sliding your leg farther up the wall.  Perform this exercise at least 5 days per week. You should begin to notice a big difference in your ability to maintain posture throughout the swing. For any questions related to flexibility and fitness for golf please contact me directly at [email protected]  Good luck!

Jason Rivkin

Proper Core Strengthening For Your Golf Swing

It is well documented that core strength is imperative to prevent injury, back pain, and improve the golf swing. When I am evaluating a new golfer I often hear that he or she does “core strengthening” in their current exercise routine. My first question is always, “what do you mean, core strengthening?” Too often the response is, “Oh well you know, crunches, the ab machine where you press your chest down, things like that.” After full evaluation, 9 times out of 10 this individual exhibits weak core musculature, poor posture, flawed movement, and swing faults that will leave them prone to injury and pain. It turns out that they are not doing work to prevent injury and pain, but they are actually doing things to PROMOTE injury and pain.

When picking exercises for core strengthening make sure you pick exercises that will improve function in whatever activity you partake in. Crunches and stationary abdominal machines are highly likely to be the wrong choice for golfers and athletes in general. The crunch and ab machines usually promote upper (thoracic) spine flexion. This rounds the shoulders and puts the back into a humped position. As a golfer, this is not a position you want to be training in. Excessive upper spine flexion and shoulder rounding promotes poor rotation and flaws in the golf swing. In addition, crunches and other ab exercises that require you flex from the shoulders down to the hips can put a lot of stress down the neck and low (lumbar) spine. Let’s keep it simple, if you’re looking to improve your golf swing, avoid this type of core training.

For beginners, abdominal strengthening should focus on holding positions that promote anti-extension (arching) of the low back. One simple yet effective exercise that does this is called the dead-bug exercise (click link to view the exercise and instructions). With this exercise make sure you keep your abs braced and your low back flat and pressed into the floor.

For intermediates, a classic exercise called plank is a great way you can challenge yourself. With the plank make sure you start with your belly on the floor. Position your elbows directly under your shoulders and make sure your toes and feet are flexed and curled up toward the shins. Before you lift into the plank position, contract both your abs and glutes, and make sure your legs are locked out and as long as possible. It is very important that you can maintain contraction of BOTH the abs and glutes throughout the set. If you lose the glute contraction, lower yourself and take a rest before your next set.

For advanced golf fitness enthusiasts, these exercises should be used for warm-up and activation techniques before larger and more dynamic lifts and movements.

If you have any questions about core strengthening strategies and techniques for golf, please contact me directly by email at [email protected].

Jason Rivkin, ATC, CGFI-FP1 Head Golf Fitness Coach at FitGolf Performance Centers of the Delaware Valley

Segmented Rotation – Using Resistance Bands

SEGMENTED ROTATION – USING RESISTANCE BANDS

                At FitGolf we focus on training movement patterns to help create stability and consistency in your golf swing. Usually the movement pattern incorporates just your body weight as resistance. As you become more advanced, adding resistance to the movement pattern will help reinforce it. It is important to progress every exercise gradually; additional power, speed, and intensity may cause the movement pattern to become be compromised.

Separation of the hips and torso is important in the golf swing because it allows you to utilize the full power of your hips, while using the upper body and hands to direct the ball towards the target. This has been referred to as the “X Factor” in the golf swing. If you only use your upper body or hips and torso at the same time, you will not drive the ball as far, and your back and spine would eventually inform you of why this swing is not a good idea.

In March, LeadBetter Golf Performance expert Trevor Anderson contributed an article to the TRX Suspension Trainer website to improve your golf fitness. Anderson is a former pro football player, personal trainer, and TRX Instructor. The article had great exercises that you could use to improve your “golf athleticism”.

One of the exercises that were presented was Segmented Rotation. This is a great exercise to help you focus on keeping your lower body stable while strengthening and maintaining your rotation in your upper body and stability in that range of motion.

"Initiate movement with your hip. Focus on stable rotation"

“Initiate movement with your hip. Focus on stable rotation”

Segmented Rotation – Level 1

  1. Attached the Resistance Band to the wall or post.
  2. Stand in an athletic stance, facing 90 degrees from the attachment point. Your outside foot should be turned out (think Warrior 2 pose in Yoga).
  3. Begin the movement by rotating only the hips, then pause.
  4. Finish the move by rotating the upper body 90 degrees.
  5. Make movement more difficult by extending the arms out straighter or using a heavier Resistance Band.
  6. Perform 2-3 sets of 5-10 good, quality repetitions.

Before you can advance this exercise, you need to OWN the complete movement. You can spend a lot of training sessions just on this movement with extending the arms and/or using a heavier band.

"Squat down into the lunge first, to a depth you can handle. Then Rotate."

“Squat down into the lunge first, to a depth you can handle. Then Rotate.”

Segmented Rotation – Level 2 – “Add the Lunge”

  1. Attached the Resistance Band to the wall or post.
  2. Stand in an athletic stance, facing 90 degrees from the attachment point. Your outside foot should be turned out (think Warrior 2 pose in Yoga).
  3. Begin the movement by rotating only the hips, then pause.
  4. Squat down your front leg into a lunge position. Go to a depth you can handle.
  5. Finish the move by rotating the upper body 90 degrees. Keep your lower body strong and stable.
  6. Make movement more difficult by extending the arms out straighter or using a heavier Resistance Band.
  7. Perform 2-3 sets of 5-10 good, quality repetitions.

This exercise IS advanced, and you may need to practice regular lunges before you attempt this exercise. However for golfers/athletes who are comfortable with lunging, this will really help them create stable separation of the hips.

"This movement should be dynamic. Initiate the hips, then Rotate and Squat into the Lunge."

“This movement should be dynamic. Initiate the hips, then Rotate and Squat into the Lunge.”

Segmented Rotation – Level 3 – “Put it Together with Power”

  1. Attached the Resistance Band to the wall or post.
  2. Stand in an athletic stance, facing 90 degrees from the attachment point. Your outside foot should be turned out (think Warrior 2 pose in Yoga).
  3. Begin the movement by rotating the hips.
  4. Once the hips begin moving, squat down into your lunge position AND rotate the upper body 90 degrees to your finish position.
  5. Make the movement dynamic but stable
  6. Make movement more difficult by extending the arms out straighter or using a heavier Resistance Band.
  7. Perform 2-3 sets of 5-10 good, quality repetitions.

This movement is DYNAMIC, but in order for it to be productive for you, you will need to be stable in the movement. If you begin to lose stability in the movement or experience a decrease in power, then the set or exercise is over for that session.

At FitGolf, we use the TRX Suspension Trainer as well as the TRX Rip Trainer with our clients. However, you do not need to purchase a TRX Suspension Trainer or TRX Rip Trainer to perform the Segmented Rotation Exercise. We provide all our Masters clients with a Resistance Bank Kit that will allow them to perform the exercise with the same exact quality of movement.

For more information on Resistance Band Training, TRX Suspension Training, Golf Fitness Training, Aerobic Training Programs, Nutrition, and your Mental game email me at [email protected]

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