Why and how strong buttocks can help your game.
Remember when Tiger Woods withdrew from this year’s Farmer’s Insurance Open, citing lower back problems caused by his glutes “shutting off”?
Call it “broken booty syndrome,” “flabby butt” or “weak cheeks.” It’s actually an epidemic. In my 15 years of testing and screening hundreds of golf clients, I have found that almost 96 percent of them have weak, dysfunctional glutei (the correct term for what most of us call glutes).
Don’t laugh. The Gluteus Maximus is your largest hip extensor. It works with the Glutei Medius and Minimus to maintain posture and rotate your hips and legs through the swing. Neglecting this muscle group results postural inconsistency, lower back pain and and diminished leg drive.
In addition to laziness and lack of exercise, the most common reasons for weak glutei are the seated workplace, slouched posture and training focused on the “seen” muscles (chest, abs, thighs) as opposed to posterior (glutes, lats, hamstrings and shoulders).
Here are four exercises you can do today that will get your derriere back to being strong and functional. I suggest one set of 8-12 reps to start with, and progress toward three sets. Perform these exercises three times a week, every other day. If you are consistent, in a matter of weeks you will notice stronger glutei that will contribute to better posture, stability and strength. This will also create more consistency, decrease or eliminate back pain and help you regain lost distance off the tee.
1. Bridges Sets 1 and 2 – Hold for up to 10 seconds x 10 reps
• Lying flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground, extend your arms out to your side with your palms facing down.
• Push your heels into the ground and lift your pelvis up.
• Perform reps of this focusing on using your glutes to lift and minimizing your legs (hamstrings).
• To make this harder, you can cross your arms over your chest.
2. Chops (No Rotation) Half-Kneeling with bar Perform 1-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions
• Using an FMT band or a cable cross machine and a bar attachment (a Tricep rope can be an alternative to the bar), get into a half kneeling position with your down knee away from the machine or the door.
• Grab the bar or the tubing with both hands on top of the bar and keep your posture as tall as possible.
• Perform a chop diagonally across your body keeping your hands and the bar close to your chest throughout the movement.
3. Duck Walks 1-3 Sets of 10-15 steps each direction
• Place exercise band around your ankles and get into a good golf posture.
• Maintaining a stable posture, begin to side step to the left for the prescribed number of reps.
• Repeat to the right.
4. Exercise Ball Squats 1-3 sets of 12-15 reps
• Grab an exercise ball or medicine ball and hold your arms out in front of you so your arms are parallel to the ground.
• Place your feet shoulder width apart.
• As you perform the squat, draw your navel to your spine and make sure your knees track over your second toes.
Dee Tidwell owns Colorado Golf Fitness Club in Denver. He has obtained all of the TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) certifications and has coached two PGA Tour winners and countless amateur, high school and college golfers (coloradogolffitnessclub.com; 303-883-0435).