Sway and Slide: The Power and Consistency Killers
Excessive side-to-side movement in the backswing and downswing is known as Sway and Slide. The two swing faults are especially prevalent amongst higher handicap golfers, and create ball striking inconsistencies and power leaks.
The Physical Fix #1: Lower Body Stability
A great way to correct Sway and Slide through exercising is by improving your lower body stability. You’ll want to focus on exercises that promote hip strength. Here’s a simple exercise you can do with a resistance band at home or at the gym. It’s called the X-Walk. This is a great exercise to strengthen the glute muscles which are key lower body stabilizers.
Pro-Tips for X-Walks:
– You won’t need a band that’s very think or with a whole lot of resistance. Keep it light!
– You should feel this in the hip and glute area. If you feel it predominantly in the thighs, make sure your set-up resembles golf stance (butt back), not an upright posture.
– To target the correct muscles, make sure your feet remain straight. A good thought is to remain “pigeon toed” as you move side-to-side.
– The glutes respond well to a lot of reps. Shoot for 3 sets x 10 reps/side (10 reps to the left and 10 reps to the right). Rest 30-60 seconds of move to an upper body exercise between sets. Make sure you feel ready to go before beginning the 2nd and 3rd sets.
– A mini-band is a great substitute for a full length resistance band. If using a mini-band, place it around your ankles.
The Physical Fix #2: Functional (Golf) Movement Training
Now that you’re on your way to improving your lower body stability, you’ll need to work on your coordination for better body control in your swing. I find that the Shoulder Swivel exercise is great for my clients to feel what it’s like to keep the lower body stable as the torso rotates independently. It promotes body separation in the golf swing, which can improve your ability to hit further.
Pro-Tips for Shoulder Swivels:
– Set-up in golf posture. Make sure your spine is as straight as possible. Setting up with a straight spine makes it easier to create separation and turn the upper body freely. If you need practice getting into a straighter golf posture, give this exercise a try.
– Plant your feet firmly into the ground. Keep your body weight and pressure under the inside of your arches.
– If possible, perform Shoulder Swivels in front of a full-length mirror. I find that many of my clients perceive that their lower bodies are stable, when often they are not. If you look into a mirror and observe your lower body, you’ll know for sure.
– Perform 3 sets x 20 reps (turn left 10x, turn right 10x).
The X-Walk and Shoulder Swivel exercises are a great complement to one another. To train more efficiently, create a “Super-Set” by pairing the two exercises with one another. For example: Perform one set of X-Walks, immediately followed by one set of Shoulder Swivels. Take a 30 second break and repeat the Super-Set two more times.
If you try these exercises and you find them to be too challenging or uncomfortable, do not continue, until you have consulted with your physician. All exercises for golf should be customized to your needs after a proper evaluation.
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