7 game-changing golf exercises you can do at home
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Get the eye of the Tiger with these domestic workouts courtesy of a top golf strength coach.
2020: a fine year for memes, less so for sport.
It's been a tough few months for professional athletes, no doubt, but don't overlook the impact on regular competitors either. From the half marathon heroes to weekly five-a-siders and beyond, millions will have missed the thrill of chasing a pack or picking up a bib of late.
If you're one looking for a footway back into sport why not try golf? With its optimum opportunity for social distancing, might well have emerged as one of the best to try post-lockdown.
What's more, you can get your body ready for it without leaving the house. According to golf fitness specialist Nick Buchan of Stronger Golf, there are plenty of ways to get fit for the fairway at home: “When you don’t have gym equipment it doesn’t mean you can’t get better. You’ll be surprised what these exercises can have on your clubhead."
So limber up and get ready to pump some iron(s).
1. Squat jumps
For: Deadly drives
“Golf may look rotational, but what we’ve started to learn from technological advances in the sport is that the power generated is actually vertical. All of the forces are upwards - meaning the higher you can jump should correlate with how far you can hit a ball. Squat jumps, deadlifts and vertical jumps will be massively helpful. With something like a squat jump, do less reps and really focus on the form and the explosiveness of the jump, getting those knees high.”
2. Door frame press
For: better swing control
“Believe it or not, a door frame can provide the same great core workout that you’d normally get from a rope or medicine ball. Stand in front of an open door frame so that the edge of it is just far enough that when you reach both of your hands out in front it’s there. Then push into the door frame and work those obliques, abdominal muscles and lats that contribute to creating rotation. Short duration holds, 7 to 12 seconds of pushing at a high intensity, will do it. Doing enough of this will improve your core and in turn provide better posture when stood over a golf ball.”
3. Towel isometric deadlift
For: extra force
“Your body likes isometric exercises [static strength training], which is a great way of developing extra power for a sport such as golf. This particular move is very good for those working out at home: firstly, get in a deadlift position and stand with a towel underneath your feet, holding both ends of the towel with your hands at either side. Now try and stand up as you would in a deadlift. Done properly, the towel isn’t going to move no matter how much you put into it. Aim for short duration holds, 7 to 12 seconds pushing into the ground - a lot of lower body strength can be developed this way, with gains of up to 10 or 20 per cent extra force."
4. Side lying open book
For: Back strength
"Hitting a ball requires a fast, dynamic full range of motion through the joints, which can chew up the spine and hip areas if you overexert yourself. Yoga and Pilates really help in this regard, but you can’t go wrong with the side-lying open book – a classic stretch. Lying on your side, arms straight out on the ground in front of you with palms pressed together, move your top arm back behind you and over your head, leaving the bottom hand where it is. Ensure you rotate the sternum all the way around, trying to get that top shoulder to the floor behind you. Keep the knees pinned together. A few sets of these on both sides will be fantastic for strengthening your thoracic spine."
5. Step ups
For: Putting practice
"Some may balk at this, but the art of putting is arguably the highest skill in golf. And the only way to improve is simply to practice, practice and practice, which comes with its own issues because being hunched in a putting position for hours on end isn’t good for you. To help you stay out to train longer, go to your staircase and try step-ups, using one leg at a time and supporting yourself with bodyweight only. Driving your knees into your midriff, it’ll get your heart rate up too and gradually build some muscle in your lower body."
6. Glute bridge to leg raise
For: Better balance
"If you can get more static balance then you’re going to feel a bit more stable over a golf ball on an uneven lie, i.e. hitting uphill. So why not target any weaker side you might have with a glute bridge into leg raise. The glute bridge is simple [lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, tense your glutes and raise your hips off the floor until it's as high as it can be, holding at the top for a matter of seconds before gradually bringing your pelvis back down and doing it again] and introduce leg raises as part of this allows you to build up strength on a particular side. Just ensure you're in a position where the rib cage is pointed up and pelvis pointed down, exhaling when your backside leaves the floor and inhaling when you return to the start position. The harder you breathe the more you'll get from it."
For: All-round strength
"If you want to a really great fitness move for all-round flexibility try performing a few dead bugs, my favourite exercise of all. It keeps your spine neutral, and your back won’t feel too sore. Lie on your back with your arms held out in front of you pointing to the sky, bringing your legs up so your knees are bent at 90-degree angles. This is your default position. Now raise one leg and the opposite arm at the same time, exhaling as you do so, and ensuring your back stays flat on the floor. Carefully return to the default position and keep at it until you feel you’ve worked the core enough.”