Playing golf is hard! Especially when your own body gets in the way. If your body doesn’t move the way it needs to – to play golf the way you want to – you’ve come to the right place. Here at NY Golf Fitness Guru we specialize in helping golfers move better, feel better, and ultimately, Play Golf Better! Better athletes make better golfers!
One of the challenges the average amateur has is simply getting into the correct posture at address. And if you start a movement in poor posture you are certainly not going to be able to improve it while moving! The golf swing should take 1 second from backswing to impact. Not enough time for your brain to adjust your dynamic posture.
It’s Time To Improve Your Game
The best and fastest way to improve your game is not by buying a new set of golf clubs. It’s improving how the person holding the clubs moves. THAT’S YOU! And to do that we are going to start by improving your static posture at the address with the following three Swiss Ball Exercises.
I’ve been using the Swiss Ball as an exercise tool since 2001. I learned the proper way to use it for exercise and rehabilitation from one of my mentors, Paul Chek, who is a well-known therapist and golf fitness expert as well as the author of the Golf Biomechanics Manual.
Our objective is to lengthen the short-tight muscles in the front of the body, which get that way from all of the sitting we now do, and to strengthen the long-weak muscles on the backside of the body to help keep our skeletal system aligned for optimal movement.
Exercise #1: The Supine Lateral Ball Roll
The Supine Lateral Ball Roll is an excellent exercise for improving spinal stability, posture, balance, and coordination. This exercise requires that you hold your body up against gravity while supporting yourself using only one shoulder and one hip, there is tremendous activation of your extensor muscles, from your hamstrings to the base of your skull! Which is what makes it is excellent for postural conditioning. Additionally, during this exercise, the commonly weak muscles that play a critical role in maintaining proper posture (the deep abdominal wall, multifidus muscles of the spine, cervical extensors, and hip stabilizers) receive excellent conditioning. It also strengthens slings (or groups of muscles that work together to produce movement) that are relevant to golf. This exercise is strengthening both the Anterior Oblique Sling as well as the Posterior Oblique Sling.
To perform this exercise correctly:
- Begin by sitting on the ball. Roll yourself forward until your shoulders and head comfortably resting on the ball. Your butt should be up so that your hips and shoulders are in line with each other. The arms should be outstretched to the 9 and 3 o’clock position, with the palms facing up. Having a 6-foot dowel rod gives your brain excellent feedback to feel where your arms are in relation to your torso and the ground.
- Start the exercise by stepping laterally with one foot as you pull yourself to that side.
- Stop the movement once half your head and that same side butt is off the ball. That side shoulder and glute will be working together to keep you up.
- Hold the end position anywhere from one to three seconds and work up to 6 repetitions on each side.
- Try to keep your head in line with the space between your knees.
- Coaches Tip: Keep the hips elevated with the torso during the entire exercise. DON’T FALL OFF THE BALL!
Exercise #2: Swiss Ball Prone Reaching Opposites
The Prone Reaching Opposities exercise is another great exercise improving spinal stability, posture, balance, and coordination. This exercise requires single-leg and shoulder stability in a cross-body pattern. If you have an asymmetry in strength and stability in from side to side you will soon discover how challenging it is to stay centered on the ball and not roll off to the side or wiggle. This exercise is also strengthening an important sling used in golf, known as the Posterior Oblique Sling.
To perform this exercise correctly:
- Start on your knees behind the ball. Roll yourself forward until you feel centered on the ball with your toes touching the ground and your wrists directly underneath your shoulders. The elbows and spine should be straight.
- Begin the exercise by lifting one leg (knee straight, toes down) and the opposite side arm (thumb up, slightly off the center line). Your left arm will aim at 11 o’clock and your right arm at 1 o’clock you lift your arm and opposite side leg, exhale slowly through pursed lips and lift your navel upwards off the ball position anywhere from three to five seconds and work up to 5 repetitions on each side.
- Keeping your head in line with the tailbone, chin tucked in, eyes on the ground below.
Coaches Tip: Note which side is more challenging to stabilize. Work on your weakness, not your strength.
Exercise #3: Swiss Ball Supine Hip Extension (Feet on Ball)
Last, but not least we have the commonly seen Supine Hip Extension (Feet on Ball) exercise. Another excellent exercise is to strengthen the postural stabilizers used in golf and in the same pattern as the address and follow-through position. Notice in the first image the model’s hips are flexed (bent), just as they are in the address position of golf. The hips should remain in the flexed position until you transition from the top of the backswing into the downswing. At this point, the hips extend (straighten). The Swiss Ball Hip Extension (Feet on Ball) exercise takes your body through the same motions.
- Begin by sitting on the ground. Place your feet and calves on the ball and your arms on the floor beside you, PALMS UP-TOES UP!
- Start the exercise by gently pressing your heels into the ball as you elevate your hips to come in line with your shoulders and your ankles.
- Stop the movement once you are in a straight line from head to toe.
- Take three seconds to complete the lifting portion, hold the top position for three seconds, and take three seconds to lower yourself back to the ground.
- Work up to 10 repetitions, using the 3 – 3 – 3 tempo.
- As in the previous exercise, exhale gently through the mouth on the way up and inhale through the nose on the way down.
- Coaches Tip: To progress this exercise you can take your lower arms off the ground and place them on your rib cage, cross your arms over your chest, and/or place less of your leg on the ball.
Brett’s Bottom Line: If you’re an amateur golfer, odds are your body doesn’t move the way it needs to – to play golf the way you want to. The good news is, I’ve been successfully working with amateur golfers, just like you, since 2002! The result-