Lots of athletes have made the visit to the nearest sporting goods store in search of the latest product promising improved performance in incredible fashion. Even though watching Camilo Villegas play a round of golf is all the proof anyone should need, a recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research has shown the actual answer to better golf performance is a dedication to improved strength, flexibility, and balance.
The study researched three areas of golfer fitness: strength, flexibility, and balance. It also divided golfers into three proficiency levels, using the handicap (HCP) index: Zero or less HCP; 1-9 HCP; and 10-20 HCP. Researchers found that the best golfers had greater levels of strength, flexibility, and balance compared to the other two proficiency levels.
Core strength in golf, meaning around the hips, pelvis, and lower back, is a key area of focus. Strength in those areas allows the golfer to maintain a stable base while enabling the rotation of the upper body during the golf swing. The higher the speed of the rotation of the upper body, the greater the core strength needed to maintain balance and efficiency. This higher core strength also allows for maximum torso velocity which is associated with increased driving distance. The zero or less HCP golfers had significantly higher strength than the HCP 10-20 golfers.
Golfer flexibility is also extremely important in order to achieve the separation of the upper torso and lower torso also referred to as the X factor. With greater flexibility, a golfer can achieve the optimal X factor which is also associated with driving distance. Additionally, the X factor is also associated with ball velocity. In the current study, the HCP zero or less golfers had greater flexibility in the shoulders, hips, and torso than the HCP 10-20 golfer.
Balance in golf (stability) refers to maintaining the body’s center of mass over a base support during the entire phase of the golf swing. Again, the HCP <0 golfers showed the best single-leg balance among the other two proficiency groups. This single-leg balance is important because during the golf swing, the weight transfer is from the rear to the front leg. Therefore, an individual’s single-leg balance in both legs is extremely important.
The average golfer strives to for a handicap of between 10-20. As the study shows, golf-specific fitness training must incorporate three key areas: core strength, flexibility, and balance. A good pro can put players on the right track in skills training, as well as fitness. Getting and staying fit can help most golfers get very close to single-digit handicaps, and even beyond, not to mention it will help them live longer.
Golf Swing Drill to Improve Technique and Power
In most sports resistance training plays an important roll in improving the performance of an athlete. In golf it is no different. Use this simple exercise to create a more powerful swing and better swing technique.
Golf Drill to Improve Swing Technique
There are many club golfers who marvel at the superb natural swings of junior golfers. But the effortless swings they make are not because they have more talent than the average player, but because they are learning to swing the club naturally rather than move it through a series of positions. The reason they are able to swing naturally is that invariably the equipment they are using is slightly too heavy for them.
Trying to swing a club that is slightly too heavy makes the big muscles dominate the start of the swing, which is corret way to initiate the backswing . In a perfect action the body initiates a one-piece takeaway that injects enough momentum into the action for the club to swing naturally.
If a golfer takes up the game in later years and has developed strength, they are able to override the big muscles that juniors automatically rely on and they start to use the hands and arms to initiate the backswing – this completely disrupts the natural swinging orbit of the club.
Drill to Build Power and Swing Fundamentals
This might seem the most simple of swing exercises but it is one of the best. Take two clubs, or even three is you are strong, and hold them together with your hands. The thickness of the shafts together means you can’t take up a normal grip but that is unimportant. Just grab hold of them with your right hand below your left.
The importance of this exercise is two fold. Firstly, the sheer weight of the clubs makes the golfer initiate the swing correctly with the big muscles. The shoulders turn powerfully away to start a natural swinging motion. Once momentum has been injected into the swing you can then trust the positions the club swings through.
If you are in doubt as to where the club should be at any stage in the swing feel where the club goes when you use this exercise. The sheer momentum of such a heavy weight makes the clubs swing efficiently on the right line.
Building the right muscles to generate power in golf is difficult if you go to the gym as it involves many different groups. By swinging with two or here clubs the golfer automatically starts to develop strength in the right muscles.
As the clubs near the top of the backswing feel how your tummy muscles have to firm up to contain the twist of the body as the clubs want to carry on.
Practice this exercise in the garden or at the range and shortly you will be swinging better with more core power. Make sure you start each swing form a static address position. This is not a warm up exercise where you swing back and forth continuously.
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