Want to improve your golf swing this season? If so, look to improving strength and flexibility through your core muscles. The core is the engine of the golf swing. The stronger and more flexible you get through the core, the higher the clubhead speed and ball distance can go. Perform the “standing club twist” exercise as a warm-up to your workout to help improve flexibility for your swing. To do this, hold the golf club at shoulder height, with arms straight out in front, elbows relaxed and the grip about shoulder width apart. Keep your feet and hips stable and knees soft as you rotate the club right and left. Engage the abdominal muscles (tighten them as though you were preparing to accept a light punch to the stomach) and begin to rotate the club right and left. Start in a small range of motion then gradually increase to rotate as far as possible. A lightweight bar or broomstick in the gym can be used for this exercise as well.
Any exercise that targets the transvers oblique abdominal muscles will benefit the golf swing. The “Russian twist” is a simple one. Sit on a mat, knees bent, lean back slightly, abs engaged. Using a weight or med ball, twist the torso from side to side. Lifting the feet off the floor increases the intensity. Be sure to rotate the body and not just move the arms. Aim to take one shoulder towards the floor and the other towards the ceiling as you move from side to side. Another, not so easy one, is the “torso twist and arm raise from a push-up position”. Assume the “up” phase of a push-up. Hands under shoulders, elbows straight but not locked, feet shoulder width apart, straight line from shoulders to heels. Lift one hand and rotate chest towards the ceiling on that side. Do not move the hips. Do engage the muscles between the shoulder blades to protect the shoulder joint. Do engage the abs. Aim for as much twist as possible. Starting from the knees instead of the toes will make this exercise easier.
A “standing cable cross arm raise” done in the gym is another good core strengthener. Stand to the left of the weight stack holding the handle in your left hand, the cable coming from the bottom of the machine. Keep your arm straight and raise it out to the side at shoulder height. Return and repeat. Being able to throw a weighted ball, that won’t bounce back at you, such as a “slam ball” at a cement wall, with a twist of the torso as fast as you can will also improve your swing. Sitting on a stability ball and tossing a med ball sideways between you and a partner with as much force as you both can take is good too. Beware of surroundings for this one. Yoga and pilates are also great golf training programs. Train the core and have a great golf season!