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5 exercises for a better golf game

Feb. 23, 2013 - 09:46AM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 23, 2013 - 09:46AM  |  
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This is not a skills practice program but instead highlights a few golf-specific exercises that can pay big dividends when the temperatures are back in the 70s and 80s and the fairway grass is deep green.

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This is not a skills practice program but instead highlights a few golf-specific exercises that can pay big dividends when the temperatures are back in the 70s and 80s and the fairway grass is deep green.

I have many clients who get into an offseason strengthening and stretching program to improve their golf game. You might be surprised at the simplicity of these exercises. For most, doing eight to 10 reps, resting 30 seconds and repeating will do the trick.

Hips and glutes

Working these areas will generate more power for your swing.

Hip hinge

• Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place a light body bar (6 to 9 pounds) behind your head, grasping one end with one hand above your head and the other end with your opposite hand in the small of your back so that your hand touches your lower back. Stand straight so the bar is in contact with three points: the back of your head, the point between your shoulder blades and just above your tailbone.

• Shift your weight onto your heels, push your hips back and bend forward at the hips until your torso is at a 45-degree angle. Allow only slight bending at the knees throughout this movement. The bar must remain in contact with the three points at all times to prevent arching.

• Contract your glutes. Push your hips forward and upward, slowly returning to upright while keeping the bar in contact with the three points.

Glute bridge

• Lie on your back. Bend your legs and place them shoulder-width apart, keeping your feet flat on the floor.

• Lift your back off the floor, contracting your glutes, so that most of your body weight is supported by your shoulders and feet. Hold this bridge position for as long as you desire and then lower yourself back down.

Progression 1: Raise one foot in the air while in the bridge position.

Progression 2: Place a weighted bag across your pelvis.

Rotational

These integrate the movement of the shoulders, back and hips.

Medicine ball against a wall

• Stand about 4 feet from a wall, facing parallel to it.

• Set up with a medium-weight ball (8 to 10 pounds). The focus is on speed and power in the rotation, so lower the weight if you need to.

• Hold the ball at waist level, elbows bent 90 degrees. Rotate your trunk so you're holding the ball to the side opposite the wall and quickly rotate back, releasing the ball against the wall. Catch the ball as it rebounds, and repeat immediately.

Lunge with a twist

• Use a medium-weight medicine ball or dumbbell held at chest level and close to chest.

• Execute a walking lunge. As your back knee touches the floor, rotate your trunk across your forward leg. Be sure your shoulders rotate and your back stays straight.

• Return to the front as you come out of the lunge, then repeat the lunge and twist to the opposite side.

Shoulders

This is a special routine you can work on if your gym has an upper-body ergometer (aka "arm bike"). Ask one of the gym folks to show you this setup.

• Set the machine to isokinetic, RPM at three to four numbers below the default.

• Press start and turn the handles forward, easy, for 40 seconds; dig hard for 20 seconds; reverse direction, easy, for 40 seconds; then dig hard for 20 seconds. Continue for five minutes, increasing time as you improve.

• When you can do 10 minutes, reduce easy time by 10 seconds. When you are at 20 seconds easy and 40 seconds hard for 10 minutes, decrease the RPM setting.

Bob Thomas is director of the Navy Wellness Center in Pensacola, Fla. Email him at jomof14@cox.net">jomof14@cox.net.

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