In order to create power on your downswing, you need to ‘get behind the ball’ at the top of your swing. This involves rotating your shoulders and hips away from the target, so the majority of your weight shifts to the back foot at the top of the swing. Once you have wound your body up behind the ball, then you can shift your weight towards the target and fling your arms to hit the ball. Where a lot of people go wrong is they never quite get the lateral motion towards the target on the downswing. They either come over the top with upper body or hang back and use only hands and arms to hit the ball.
Ideally, you need a little lateral motion towards the target to get the weight set in motion towards the target and then let arms swing through to finish.
Here is a drill to help you learn how to sequence your downswing, will help you create more clubhead speed and power.
- Set up in your golf posture with your feet together.
- Make a backswing and stop at the top.
- Lift your front foot and step it towards the target. Keep your head steady and maintain your balance.
- Once your weight has shifted towards the target, swing your arms down and through to finish.
- Return to the start position and repeat exercise.
- Do 8 to 10 repetitions.
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Your ability to create power comes from the ground up; from your feet, through your legs all the way to your arms and finally to the club. You need to load your weight into your back leg and then transfer that load to the front leg as your arms fling through the shot.
You need to able to take your muscles through their full range of motion, so you need to have strong, flexible hips and legs.
To shift your weight from side to side quickly and efficiently, your adductors, hips, legs and feet initiate your downswing and weight shift.
These exercises condition your muscles used to create a powerful weight shift.
- Start with feet shoulder width apart.
- Lunge to the side with your right foot, keeping your toes forward and your feet flat.
- Squat through your right hip while keeping your left leg straight.
- Squat as low as possible, holding this position for 2 seconds.
- Push back to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
- Do 8 to 10 repetitions.
Pilates Side Lunge Series
Side Lunge with Ball
In the golf swing, you need to be able to do a combination of side flexion (frontal plane movement or side to side motion) and rotation (transverse plane or rotational movement) in your core to wind up your torso to create power.
Your obliques, along with erector spinae and abdominals are responsible for side flexion or lateral movement in your golf swing. If you have limited range of motion in any of these areas, then it is difficult to create the positions needed to get power. Although it is not necessary to know exactly what anatomy is used in the golf swing to play your best, having some awareness of what muscles are used can help you prepare your body to move at its best.
Having weak or tight oblique muscles could lead to swing flaws. Having an awareness of how to activate those muscles could help you move and swing better.
This side to side Pilates inspired exercise is one of many dynamic exercises that I incorporate into the Cardiogolf Pre-Round Warm-Up Routine that can help you increase your core temperature, prepare your nervous system for performing the golf swing, and strengthen your body. If you incorporate this exercise into your daily routine, you could strengthen those muscles and fire up your swing. Click here to download the Cardiogolf Pre-Round Warm-Up for FREE.
Modified Side to Side with Golf Club
- Hold a golf club across your body with your palms facing down.
- Lift the club up in the air, so that your arms are extended.
- To prepare inhale, as you straighten your back, pull your abdominals muscles in and anchor hips down.
- Inhale, reach arms higher, exhale, lean to the right side, inhale, pull yourself back up and return to the center.
- Inhale, reach arms higher, exhale lean to the left side, inhale, pull yourself back up and return to the center.
- Repeat motion on each side for 8 to 10 repetitions.
Keep hips anchored so that you feel a slight burn or tug in your obliques as you lean to the side.
Often golfers avoid fitness because they think they need to run or lift heavy weights. But golf-fitness is not about getting big and bulky but more about getting your muscles and joints to go through full range of motion.
Which is why I suggest to my clients that they incorporate Pilates into their fitness routine. Pilates is a full body exercise system that works all muscles, it’s low impact, helps increase strength and stability and improves flexibility.
Running and lifting weights can help improve your fitness, but doing mobility exercises, like the one done in Pilates programs, can target chronically tight muscles to more effectively get your body to move and swing better.
In order to maintain a neutral spine throughout your swing, you will want to do exercises that move your lower spine and pelvis. The following exercise is excellent to do that.
Spinal mobility decreases with age. Lack of spinal mobility is associated with poor posture and may restrict your shoulder and torso turn in the golf swing.
The roll up helps to articulate or open the vertebra of your spine, stretching your back and strengthening your deep transverse abdominal muscles.
- Lie on your back on the floor with your legs straight and your arms over your head. Your spine in neutral position.
- Lift your arms overhead as you press your belly button into your spine.
- Reach your arms as you roll up articulating your spine one vertebrae at a time.
- Reverse the movement, rolling back down on the mat.
- Do 4 to 5 repetitions.
Benefits of this exercise include:
- Spinal mobilization
- Strengthens core muscles
- Strengthens back
Cardiogolf Creator, LPGA Teaching Professional, Golf-Fitness Specialist and Certified Pilates Instructor Karen Palacios-Jansen teams up with 15 to Fit Pilates, Barre and Fitness to help you take your game to the next level. Karen will design an individualized golf-specific workout program for you combining Pilates reformer exercises with her unique Cardiogolf fitness program to help you improve your core strength, posture, balance, flexibility and swing technique to build more a powerful and repeatable golf swing.
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Download for free, Karen Jansen’s Cardiogolf Pre-Round Warm-Up Routine. This routine will not only loosen up muscles that are chronically tight in golfers, but also helps rehearse and perfect proper swing motion.