Feature Image Copyright : Dean Drobot
These days top golfers really are athletes. Professional golf players are more likely to be walking around the course with six packs than beer bellies. And the golf buggy is now more of a luxury than a requirement for most.
You may also notice that drive distances seem to be increasing with every new generation that comes through. Tee position are getting shifted back till they can almost be shifted back no more to stop players hitting all the par 4 greens in one shot! Yes, this may have something to do with improvements in technology but there is also an element of extra strength involved, and this comes from training.
In my previous article, I explained how beginners should concentrate on hitting the ball straight first and worrying about distance later. But once you have nailed that straight drive, here are some exercises so you can begin to improve your driving distance. All can be done in your living room and don’t require any special equipment.
Which muscles are most important for drive distance?
This doesn’t just apply to your stomach but also to the hips and lower back.
The core is arguably the most important area of any golfers body. Energy is transferred from the lower body (the legs) to the upper body (the arms and shoulders) through the core. During this time the body rotates, the core is the area of the body that allows this rotation to occur. So in order to create power during this rotation, you require a strong core. Not only that but it is the center point for balance during the swing action. A strong core means better balance through the swing and therefore more consistency!
A weak core can actually cause injuries too, especially to the lower back. So ensuring a strong core will allow you to play much longer into those senior years!
Otherwise known as your butt! Yes, that’s right to be a great golfer you’ve got to have a strong ass.
The glutes help to stabilize the pelvis, giving greater balance and strength. So as with the core, the stronger you are in these areas the more stability you have throughout the entire swing motion. As you take your backswing you will feel the weight transfer to your right glutes, as you swing through this weight transfers onto the left. All the while the upper body rotates above.
You may have heard in other sports that most of your power comes from the legs. This is true in golf too. The kinetic energy begins to build in the legs and must be transferred to the upper body through the glutes. So if you are looking to increase power the glutes are key.
The shoulders are crucial to a powerful golf swing. Muscles in the shoulders work to allow the arms to extend correctly during the backswing.
The key muscle group to focus on here is the rotator cuff. This group of four muscles acts as the main muscular support in this area and strengthening can help prevent injury which can be a common occurrence in golfers.
Front and side plank
For strength and stability in the core.
- Lying face down, make two fists with your hands
- Roll your shoulders back away from your head and push up away from the floor using your forearms
- Keep your back flat and engage your abdominal muscles
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and release back down onto the floor
- Lie on your side with your knees at 90 degrees to the body
- Extend the bottom leg out
- Reach your hands out in the same direction as the legs.
- Take the top hand and raise it up to a vertical position then keep going to rotate the body around
- Then return to the start position on your side.
Drop step lunge with rotational reach
This exercise really works those glutes and helps you focus on keeping stable whilst rotating too.
- Stand with legs shoulder width apart
- Drop one foot back and lunge
- Whilst lunging also rotate the upper body and reach
Ahmad explains much better than I can in the video below
This can be done with weights but is also great without. It also works the core too as an added bonus!
- Sit down and bring your heels towards your butt
- Lie down keeping your feet flat on the ground
- Put your arms out to the side to keep yourself stable
- Push your hips upwards keeping your back straight.
- At the top of the stretch push as high as you can to really work the glutes.
Great for shoulder stregth but also works the core and helps with stability too.
- Start on all fours with your palms flat on the floor beneath the shoulders
- Raise the knees slightly off the ground
- The bring one foot forward whilst moving the opposite arm forward at the same time
- Depending how much room you have you can either keep moving forwards or move forward and back
This exercise will help create more control through the shoulders. Control in this area will create a more stable and consistent swing.
- Put your hands on a wall at shoulder height
- Begin to push the wall away protracting the shoulder blades
- Push away from the wall.
- Only the shoulder blades should move around the rib cage
- Return back to starting position and repeat
Watch the video below as this is quite a tricky one to grasp
So there you have it a few exercises and stretches to help you work on those core muscle groups and to hopefully improve your drive. If nothing else this will help you focus on important aspects of your swing. You will become more aware of where the power is generated from. It is not just about swinging as fast as you possibly can but about creating stability and strength from the legs up to the shoulders.
If you have any exercises that you find have really helped you, feel free to leave a comment below and I may add them to my list.