The takeaway portion of the swing will determine the club path.   A poorly sequenced takeaway will cost you consistency and distance. The proper sequence of the takeaway is upper body turn first, followed by lower body turn.  Many golfers lack the ability to separate upper body movement from lower body movement. Limitations in joint stability and mobility make separating difficult for the golfer. Here are some exercises that will promote rotational body separation and consistency in golf.

Exercises To Help You Separate:

Half Kneeling Rotation

Pro Tips:

  • Keep the glute of the down leg engaged
  • As you begin to rotate, feel like your pushing the forward thigh inward
  • Keep the spine as long/straight as possbile
  • If your shoulder flexibility won’t allow you to place the alignment stick/club behind your upper back, place it behind the lower back
  • 2-3 sets x 10 reps/side recommended


Pro Tips:

  • Make sure you’re not dragging your trail foot
  • Stay in golf posture
  • The further back your hips are, the more you’ll work your glutes (this is a good thing!).
  • Keep the shoulders level. No tilting back and forth
  • 2-3 sets x 5 reps/direction (10 total) recommended

Shoulder Swivels

Pro tips:

  • Straight spine and good posture = more rotation
  • Perform in front of a mirror so you can see what your lower body is doing
  • Keep head stable
  • 2-3 sets x 15 reps recommended

For Golf Fitness questions and advice, please contact me at [email protected]

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Power and Distance – I Want More!!!

Greater power and distance could very well be the most asked for thing I see in our centers.

Here is a typical story :

“Dave, I hit my driver 160 yards. I cant reach even the moderate length par 3’s anymore, and the par 5’s play like par 6’s. I have a complicated injury history including ACL repair, rotator cuff repair, multiple back surgeries, and I am 60 years old.  Over the the last 10 years i have lost 60 yards in driving distance, and my irons are 20 yards shorter. I just cant get there anymore. I do hit every fairway as long as there is not a forced carry of more than 150 yards.  My scores are up, along with my frustration and discouragement level.  I’m never gonna give up the game, but it surely is not fun like it used to be. Can you help me?”

My answer to this person is probably but let’s test you and see what you can do.  Then a full Golf Performance Evaluation happens.  In that I do a Functional Movement Screen. You might know it as a TPI assessment.  I tend to look carefully at several items.  What I have learned over time is that several of those tests are related to consistency. We saw them in the Consistency Series from last fall. Additionally several of those tests are about power. Then we break down the functional movement challenges, and finally document and assess the swing motion with a kvest (3-D motion assessment) and a force plate call the dynamic balance system. Once we have all the data, I then build a program for this person to handle the physical challenges that are behind his distance challenges.

In this person’s case, he was challenged by toe touch, bridge, abdominal control, overhead deep squat, independent pelvic rotation, independent torso rotation, and pelvic tilt in golf stance. Break down of these tests showed that he had profound weakness proximally, in the glutes, and abs rotationally but that he was pretty strong in his push-pull movements. His spine rotation was weak, and his scapular control was weak. There was slight tightness in his left hip flexor.

The swing data showed late and slow pelvis on the downswing, poor stabilization of the upper and lower body after peak rotational speed, and poor rotation ranges of the pelvis and torso in both the back swing and at impact.  He has 17 degrees of loss of posture on top of it all. No wonder he can’t get the ball to fly…efficiency is low, and movements are out of sequence. His weight was also on his toes.

You might think, Dave, how in the world are you going to help this man?

To me this is fairly straight forward.  Fix the stability issues of Toe Touch, Overhead Deep Squat, and Pelvic Tilt in Golf Stance and that will help his posture issues.  That will have a positive effect on distance as he will have an easier time finding center of the face at impact.  There is data from the club manufacturers that shows that with the driver for every quarter of an inch off the center of the face, the player gives up 10% of the distance. So by improving postural stability and helping the golfer find the center of the face, he gets longer without working on speed or rotation at all.  Hows that for cool?

Then we move into fixing rotation of the body.  Give the man, through the right sequence of exercises, the ability to rotate his pelvis fully without compensation and a bit more speed, then work on the movement of rotation of the torso in a similar manner. Now we have a golfer who is stable over the ball, and can rotation with decent speed and not loose angles as he get rotationally faster.  This is what I have seen to be one of the keys to gaining distance.

The bottom line is good fundamentals of function – clear toe touch, overhead deep squat, pelvic tilt in golf stance, independent pelvic rotation, and independent torso rotation – these are the physical keys to power and distance. These fundamental seem to allow efficient and stable motion in the golf swing.  That is a big factor in distance/power.

In the coming weeks we will look at each of these items and factors in the body.  If it is distance you want, stay tuned, it is distance you will learn how to get.  If you want to get going now, call one of our centers and tell them I said to do your golf performance assessment at 50% off.  That’s a $150.00 savings.  If you dont want to do that, no problem, stay tuned here and I will share the steps with you.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

All the best.



At the bottom of this page you may ask Dave a question about this tip.
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A Simple Hip Exercise for More Stability in Golf

Sway and Slide

One of the most common swing flaws we see among amateur golfers is too much lower body lateral (side-to-side) movement. When too much lateral movement occurs in the back swing it is called a sway. When it occurs in the downswing it is called a slide. Sway and slide are detrimental to both consistency and power of ball striking. Excessive lateral movement throws off correct sequencing, which makes it very challenging to achieve consistent ball striking and optimal energy transfer. Simple hip exercise stability golf

Strengthen Your Hips to Prevent Sway and Slide

Sway and slide can result from a number of different physical limitations. A lack of hip stability is one of the most common issues. One of the most important muscles for lower body stability is the gluteus medius, which is located just above the hip joint, right where your pockets are. A strong and active gluteus medius will prevent excessive lateral movement throughout the swing. More stability from stronger glutes allow you to properly coil and generate power within a stable posture. Luckily, for all of you swayers and sliders, strengthening the gluteus medius is simple and requires minimal equipment. The clam shell exercise is a great beginner exercise for any golfer hoping to be more consistent. Here’s how it’s performed:

gluteus medius

Gluteus Medius

The Clam Shell:

First, get into a side lying position.  Stack the top leg on top of the bottom and bring your knees towards your chest. From here, keep your feet together and raise the top knee to form a clam shape. You should feel your top buttocks tighten and hold for 2-3 seconds. It is important to make sure your pelvis does not rotate backwards during the motion, so make sure your top hip stays directly above the bottom hip throughout the duration of the exercise. To make this exercise more challenging, simply place a rubber tubing ring around your legs just above the knee joints.

simple hip exercise stability golf

Clam Shell with Resistance

Perform 3 sets x 15 reps of clam shells everyday and you will feel your lower body working for you in golf instead of against you.

For any questions regarding exercises to add stability into your golf swing please email me at [email protected]

Jason Rivkin

TPI Certified Golf Fitness Professional

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What The Science Says: Your Tight Hamstrings Affect Your Swing!

Toe Touch and Spine Posture Stability

In the vast realm of fitness we try to stay as objective as possible to insure that fitness training for the golfer is efficient, safe, and effective. At FitGolf Performance Centers throughout the nation we periodically conduct research studies to determine how the body influences the golf swing.  One of our most eye openings studies to date examined the Toe Touch movement and how the inability to complete an adequate toe touch affects the golf swing.

The Toe Touch Test:

Before I continue I would like you to try the Toe Touch Test. Stand up with your feet together and knees straight. Now, try to touch your toes without your knees bending. Based off my experience I’ll venture to say that many of you cannot get to the toes without bending your knees. This is a problem for your golf game.

In our research study “Toe Touch and Spine Posture Stability”, we examined the implications of not being able to touch your toes on the golf swing. Based on golfer observations we predicted that not being able to touch your toes will create challenges with maintaining the spine angle through the golf swing. In our study we used the data from 100 golfers to try to prove our hypothesis. We asked each participant to perform the toe touch test. Following the test, we administered swing motion technology to assess their movement in the golf swing.

From the data collected with the motion technology we used the “forward bend” (spine angle) measurement at the address, the top of the swing, and at impact. From our data interpretation we determined that there was statistical significance to suggest that golfers that could touch their toes maintain a more stable posture than golfers who can’t touch their toes. The implication: you can be a more consistent golfer if you can touch your toes!

I’ll bet you this golfer can touch his toes!

The Toe Touch Fix:

So you can’t touch your toes. How do you fix it?

While hamstring inflexibility is a common reason as to why a golfer cannot touch their toes, it is not the only reason. In addition to hamstring flexibility, a lack of core strength and hip mobility are also barriers to touching your toes. The issue is that it is very difficult to self-assess which one of these 3 issues you have. If you believe you have one of these issues, you may want to consider asking a body expert to help resolve the issue(s).  If you choose not to deal with your physical issues you may continuously battle posture changes in the swing, a lack of consistency, a lack of power, and potentially worse issues like back pain and injuries.

Exercises For Improvement:

While I can’t tell you directly why you are not touching your toes, I am going to give you some safe exercises to address hamstring tightness, hip mobility, and core strength.

Hamstring Stretch on Door Frame:

Let’s first address hamstring tightness (and to some extent core strength). I would like you to find an open door frame and lay perpendicular to the right side of the frame. Now place your right heel onto the door frame. Both legs should be completely straight. At this time you should feel a stretch in your right hamstring. The closer you are to the door frame, the more stretch you will feel. Pick a distance from the frame in which you feel a moderate, not intense, stretch. Hold this stretch for 60 seconds. Now, keeping your left leg straight, brace your core and lift your left leg past your right leg. Perform 10 reps. After 10 reps, move slightly closer to the door and hold 60 more seconds. Repeat 2-4 times with the right leg up then switch to the left side.

Download (PDF, 87KB)

Double Knees to Chest:

Next we will address hip mobility with the Double Knees to Chest Stretch. This one is simple. Lie down on your back and bring both knees into your stomach or until you feel a stretch in the low back, glutes, or hamstrings. Hold the stretch until you feel the tension decrease.

Download (PDF, 98KB)

Glute Bridge:

For core work you will perform the Glute Bridge. The most common association we see with tight hamstrings is weak or inactive glutes. The Bridge exercise is a simple and effective way to activate and strengthen the glutes. To perform the Bridge lay down on your back. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the ground and position the feet about hip width apart. From here, contract your glutes and push your hips up into the air high enough so the body forms a straight line from the knees to the shoulders. You should feel this predominantly in the glutes. If you feel it more in the hamstrings, it’s an indication that your hamstrings are over-active. If you do feel it in the hamstrings, lift your toes and slightly arch your back before you push your hips up. This sends a reflex through the body that will help activate the glutes. Perform 2-3 sets of 10 reps and hold each rep 3-5 seconds.

Download (PDF, 102KB)

Toe Touch Toes Up/Heels Up:

For the final exercise you are actually going to practice the toe touch movement. What most do not realize is that there is actually a proper method to touch the toes from the standing position. For some individuals, improper mechanics or poor “motor control” is the sole reason as to why they cannot touch the toes. To practice the toe touch, find something around the house you can place on the floor that has the ability to lift your toes 3-5 inches off the floor (2×4, stack of towels, a book, etc). You will also need a soft object to squeeze in between your knees (nerf ball, towels, pillow, etc). Place your toes up on the floor object, keep your heels down on the floor, and place your feet together. Squeeze the soft object between your knees and push your hips (hinge your hips) backwards so your weight shifts all the way to the heels and your upper body bends forward. Maintain the tight squeeze (this helps relax the hamstrings) and try to touch your toes without bending your knees. If you can’t get to the toes, allow the knees to bend until you can get to the toes, just keep focusing on keeping your hips back and your pressure through the heels. Repeat the motion 6-8 times then do the same thing with the heels up on the floor object for another 6-8 reps. Re-assess your touch touch with flat feet once you have completed the reps. Notice a change?

Download (PDF, 89KB)

Download (PDF, 94KB)

Perform these 4 exercises daily for 2-3 weeks and re-assess your toe touch. You should feel less tension in the hamstrings and more mobility in getting to the toes. If so, you should be able to achieve more stable posture in the golf swing and see more consistent ball flight.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask by emailing me at [email protected] or by commenting in the comment section below.

Jason Rivkin

Golf Fitness Coach, FitGolf Performance Centers

TPI Certified


Golf Fitness Routine for More Accurate Putting

You 3-Putted How Many Times?!

How many times has poor putting cost you from shooting your desired score? How often do you say, “I was striking the ball great, but I 3-putted X-amount of times?” Missing make-able putts is often the reason for inflated scores in what would otherwise feel like a great ball striking round of golf.  Putting is not a simple science. Golf pros have written books and spent careers focused on teaching the technicalities of putting. From a Golf Fitness prospective, when comparing putting to the full swing, it appears obvious that the physical demands of putting are much less than the full swing, which is true. However, there are some simple body fixes that you can use in your fitness routine to improve your consistency  of putting and scoring.

We’ve all been there

First: Test Yourself

Before I continue, I would like you to do a quick Golf Movement test. Put the phone down or get up from the desk and get into your putting posture. This test is best done in front of a full length mirror for visual information, but if you do not have a mirror readily available I want you to keep your eyes on your knees. Begin to swivel your shoulders about 10-20 degrees right and left continuously without allowing your lower body to move AT ALL! I will venture to say that a vast majority of you cannot rotate your upper body AND keep your lower body 100% stable.  All great putters keep their lower bodies rock solid through the putting stroke. The inability to keep the lower body stable as the upper body swings the putter will create poor accuracy on the greens and will cost you strokes.

Tiger demonstrates what it looks like to remain stable in the lower body through the putt.

The Fitness Routine for More Accurate Putting:

The key to effective movement in the putting stroke is lower body stability. Use these four exercises at home or in the gym to train the lower body to remain stable while putting.

1. Open Books

To kick off your new putting improvement routine we are going to start with the open book stretch. I consider this a 2-for-1 exercise because not only are you working on keeping the lower body stable as you rotate the upper body, but you are also working on your upper body mobility and flexibility. Start by lying on your left side and bring both knees up towards your stomach. Place a ball, a pillow, or towels between your knees and squeeze down into the object so your thighs are engaged.  Now, outstretch both arms in front on your chest and place your hands together. This is the “closed book” position.  To open the book, lift your right arm towards the ceiling and rotate your chest as far right as you can until your left arm and shoulder are flat on the floor or until you hit your end range. MAKE SURE YOUR LOWER BODY DOES NOT ROTATE WITH THE UPPER BODY. When you hit your end range, take 3-5 deep breaths. Try to keep your upper body relaxed and your lower body engaged by squeezing whatever object you place between your knees. After you perform 3-5 deep breaths, return to the closed book position. Repeat for 10-15 reps and switch sides.

Closed book and open book positions.

2. Clam Shells

Now that you have loosened up and began to think about lower body stability, let’s move to the clam shell exercise. The clam shell exercise is performed to strengthen the glutes. The glutes play a key role in stabilizing the lower body as you putt.  Clam shells are best done with a “mini-band” or rubber tubing for resistance, but can be effective without a band.  If you have a resistance band, place it around both legs and bring the band up the legs to the point at which it is above your knee caps. Lay on your left side with your legs together and bring your knees up towards your stomach. Keeping your heels together lift your right knee high enough so it is just above your right hip. Squeeze your right glute (butt cheek) hard and hold for 3-5 seconds.  Make sure that as you lift your knee your lower back remains stable and does not rotate. If you begin to feel a burn in the glute, don’t fret! This is your glute getting active. Perform 15-20 reps and repeat on the other side.

Clam Shells without a resistance band

3. Half-Kneeling Rotation

Next, we are moving to the Half-Kneeling Rotation exercise. This is a more advanced exercise than the open book, but the goal is the same: keep your lower body stable as you turn your shoulders.  Start off by getting into the half-kneeling position. Place your left knee down on the floor and your right foot forward. Proper set-up is very important. Make sure that your right knee is at 90 degrees, with the right heel directly under the right knee. Make sure that your left knee is directly under your left hip. Get as tall as possible so your left shoulder, hip, and knee form a straight line. Hold a golf club across the small of your back and place your hands on your rib cage. Now, squeeze your left glute and lower abs (this is very important) and begin to slowly rotate your upper body to the right. Make sure the lower body remains stable and stop the turn when you hit your end range. Hold for a full breath. I must stress that the goal of this exercise is not to rotate as far as possible, but rather to keep the lower body stable as you rotate the upper body. Perform 10-15 reps rotating right then switch the half-kneeling set-up so your right knee is down and then perform 10-15 reps rotating left. Tough, isn’t it?

Proper Half-Kneeling Positioning

4. Shoulder Swivels

For the final exercise in the putting improvement routine you are going to perform Shoulder Swivels. I like to do this exercise with a mini-band or rubbing tubing around my legs above the knees, but again, if you do not have a band you can still do this exercise effectively. Start by getting into putting posture. Dig your toes into the ground and stiffen up the legs. Keep the knees slightly flexed like they would be when you are putting. If you have a resistance band, slightly press your knees out against the band. This will assist you in keep the lower body stable by activating the glutes. Next, cross your arms and slowly turn your chest right and left without moving the lower body. I often find that my clients have a tough time perceiving whether or not their lower body is stable, so I suggest doing this exercise in front of a mirror so you can see if you are remaining stable. Spend 30-60 seconds rotating right and left and repeat 2-3 times. Be very deliberate in keeping the lower body stable. If you were doing this exercise in front of me, I would let you know every single time your knees or hips move even in the slightest bit!

Jordan Speith showing his ability to swivel his shoulders without moving the hips.

Most Importantly, Commit and Practice!

Don’t forget to practice on the putting green to incorporate your new physical ability. This routine should only take you 10-15 minutes to complete. Try to incorporate these exercises into your normal fitness routine to make your fitness more Golf Specific. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask by emailing me at [email protected] or by commenting in the comment section below.

Good luck and happy putting!

Jason Rivkin

Golf Fitness Coach, FitGolf Performance Centers

TPI Certified

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Bad Balance? Expect Bad Golf Swings

Why is balance important for the golf swing?

I’ll be blunt. If you have poor balance, it’s very unlikely that you will produce a repeatable and consistent golf swing. In every good golf swing there’s good balance. Poor balance leads to bad body control and weight shift in the golf swing. Generally, consistent golfers do a great job shifting their weight to their trail leg in the backswing, and to their lead leg prior to impact. This weight shift pattern helps promote body stability in the swing. Bad balance will inhibit the golfer from successfully controlling their body and shifting the weight throughout the swing, leading to more swing flaws such as Loss of Posture, Early Extension, and Sway/Slide.

Bad Balance? Expect bad swings.

Test your balance!

At FitGolf Performance Centers we use the Single Leg Balance Test as one way to determine if a golfer is at risk of poor weight shift and swing flaws. As a golfer, you should test your balance. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. First make sure you have adequate floor space with no objects you can trip over nearby. This test must be performed without shoes or sneakers.
  2. Stand tall with your feet together, arms straight by your side with your palms facing forward.
  3. Slowly lift your right foot off of the floor and position the right leg so that both your hip and knee are at 90 degrees. Your knee should be directly in front of your hip, and your heel should be directly underneath your knee.
  4. When you feel balanced and stable, close your eyes and begin to count. Hold the position as long as you can. Take note of your time and repeat on the other side.

If you were able to hold the single leg position with your eyes closed for 16 seconds, you passed. If you couldn’t make it to 16 seconds, you failed, implying that your balance, or lack thereof, could negatively impact your swing and make you a less consistent ball striker.

So you failed the balance test. Now what?

Based off my experience, most golfers fail the test the first time for reasons spanning wide including poor leg, hip, and core strength, and/or poor proprioception.  Proprioception is defined as, “A sense or perception, usually at a subconscious level, of the movements and position of the body and especially its limbs, independent of vision”.  Unfortunately, as we age proprioception deteriorates. This means that in order to maintain a consistent golf swing, the golfer must physically train to maintain and improve their proprioception.  Here are three balance exercise progressions to improve your proprioception and golf swing:

  1. Single Leg Balance:

This exercise is very simple yet effective for beginners. Start by getting into a tall stable posture and stand on one leg. Once stable, try to balance yourself first with eyes open, and then eyes closed. Before closing your eyes, you should be able to hold the single leg stance with your eyes open for 20-30 seconds. Perform 3-4 sets on each leg and hold the stance for as long as you can. Once you’re proficient in the single leg balance exercise, progress to stork turns.

  1. Stork Turns Supported/Unsupported:

Using a golf club for support, pick up your right foot so you’re fully weight bearing on your left leg. Now, turn your lower body to the left to create a “pivot” in the left hip joint. Make sure you keep your chest facing forward as your hips rotate. Perform 3-4 sets x 10-15 reps each side. When you can perform 10-15 reps without losing your balance, place the golf club to the side and perform the stork turn unsupported. (Tip: when you rotate your hips, focus on keeping your weight on the inside of the foot you are turning towards.) Once you can perform stork turns unsupported without losing your balance, progress to lateral bounding.

This subject would now turn his lower body to the left.

  1. Lateral Bounding:

Get into a golf like posture and stand on your right leg only. Now jump to the side so you land on your left leg. Make sure you maintain your balance and the posture before jumping back to your right leg. The wider the jump is, the harder it will be to maintain your balance. Start with very narrow jumps and get wider as you improve. The width and speed of the jump is more important that the height of the jump. This exercise will not only help learn to accelerate and shift your weight, but also how to control the body and decelerate (just as important!) in the golf swing.

Balance exercises can be very frustrating, but be persistent! The more time you put into working on your balance, the more consistent of a golfer you will be. If you have any questions about how your balance affects your golf swing, or about the balance exercises listed above, please email me directly at [email protected]. Good luck!

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proprioception. (n.d.) Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary. (2012). Retrieved August 23 2017 from

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