Stability, Mobility & Muscular Endurance
As with all sports, golf places specific demands on the body. The golf swing requires targeted areas to be mobile, others to be stable, and solid movement mechanics and coordination. If any of these fitness requirements are not up to par, your body still finds a way to swing a golf club, but this results in swing compensations—flaws that often lead to pain in some shape or form.
The basis of golf fitness development begins with increasing stability and mobility in the correct areas. Starting with our ankles and moving up, our body should have an alternating pattern of mobile and stable joints: ankle-mobile, knee-stable, hip-mobile, lower back (lumbar spine)-stable, mid back (t-spine)-mobile, cervical spine-stable.
All too often, however, this pattern is not the case. Muscles and/or joints are forced to handle movements/ranges/loads they were not designed to handle. Without corrective exercise to restore the integrity of your joints, it’s just a matter of time before an improperly used body part will give out.
We have found these Phase 1 exercises to be helpful for players of all levels and ages. Once you have built ideal joint integrity—stable where they need to be stable, mobile where they need to be mobile—and muscular endurance, you will be ready for your next phase of golf-specific fitness training.
***If you have any health concerns/issues please contact your physician before attempting these exercises.
Open Books (T-spine/mid back mobility)
• Lie on your right side in the fetal position.
• Using your right hand, hold your knees firm to the floor, extend your left arm out in front of your chest, open your chest to the sky and reach your left shoulder blade and hand towards the ground.
• Keeping your arm straight, hold for a two-second count and then return your left-hand back to the floor.
• Repeat for 12 repetitions per side.
Windshield Wipers (Internal and external hip mobility)
• Lie on your back with bent knees.
• While keeping your knees bent, widen your feet as far as possible and take your arms out to your side to keep your upper back stable to the floor.
• Slowly take your knees side to side together, getting them as low to the ground as possible. Hold for two seconds at the bottom of each repetition.
• Alternate sides for 10 per side.
Horse Stance Golf Turns (T-spine/mid back mobility)
• Positioning yourself on hands and knees, take your right hand and place it firmly behind your head.
• While keeping your left arm straight, slowly rotate your right elbow and chest towards the sky until you find your end range of motion.
• Hold for two seconds, then take your right elbow back down and connect it with your left elbow.
• Repeat for 12 repetitions per side
Birddog (Core and back stability)
• Position yourself on your hands and knees.
• Lift your right arm and left leg, elevating them until they are flat and in-line with your spine
• Hold firmly in this extended position, then slowly connect your right elbow to your left knee in a crunching motion.
• Repeat for 10-12 repetitions per side.
Step-back Lunge with Rotation (Balance/lower body stability)
• With arms out to your side, step back with your right leg and let your right knee bend towards the ground.
• Slowly rotate your spine and arms, reaching your right hand toward your left foot and your left hand/arm reaching behind you.
• Slowly uncoil your rotation and return to a standing position with your feet back next to each other.
• Repeat for 10 repetitions per side.
Single Leg Lateral Floor Reaches (Balance/lateral stability)
• Stand on your left leg with your right leg off the ground in a balanced position.
• Slowly hinge at your hip and bend your left knee and reach your right hand towards the floor on the left side of your left foot.
• Return upright but continue to keep your right foot off the ground, now repeat but reach your left hand towards the ground on the right side of your left foot, return back upright.
• Continue this alternating reach pattern until you have completed 10-12 reaches per leg.
Co-Owner of RallySport in Boulder (rallysportboulder.com), Dillon Johnson is Level 3 Certified by the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) and Certified by the Personal Training Academy Global ([email protected]; 303-928-9007). Phase 2: Strength Development will appear in an upcoming issue. Golfers interested in golf-specific training should meet with a Titleist Performance Institute Certified Golf Fitness Professional and complete a TPI Assessment (mytpi.com).