Friday, October 31, 2014

Health Habit Building Tips to Improve Your Golf Game: #4 - Strengthen Your Glutes

In May 2013, Golf Digest published a great article describing a 42 point, six week get fit plan

We’re expanding on the points and adding insights and perspectives. The list was authored by Ben Shear, who trains many of the game's top players, including Luke Donald, Jason Day and Webb Simpson. Embrace his suggestions, and it won't be long before you look better, feel better and, yes, play better golf.

Strengthen the most important muscles in the golf swing: your glutes (buttocks).

We can strengthen the glutes with basic techniques that are relatively simple and accessible to everyone. Doing movements with just our body weight can make a significant impact on both glute development and cardio health if done with enough duration and intensity. Adding resistance, even in small amounts will increase strength and performance to higher levels which will enable more powerful and consistent swing posture and performance. The glutes are engaged when we address the ball prior to the swing and throughout the backswing, downswing, and follow through. They provide a stable foundation for golf and for normal life activities.

Good movements that can strengthen the glutes include:

  • Squat variations: Squatting is a normal, natural movement that we sue when we sit or when we pick up objects off the ground, body-weight squats, squats holding dumbbells or kettelbells, and weighted bar squats will all increase strength of the glutes. Maintaining proper form enables us to perform the movements safely and efficiently.
  • Kettlebell swings: Kettlebell swings will strengthen glutes, grip, back, and shoulders and can simultaneously improve cardio endurance.

  • Good mornings: Good mornings can be done with bodyweight alone or holding a dumb bell or kettlebell for resistance.
  • Deadlifts: A natural movement required for picking up items from the ground. Learn good form before using weight.
  • Walking: Basic human transportation. Walk fast and often, great for the glutes.
  • Sprinting: Occasionally up the intensity of your walking. Intensity improves effectiveness.
  • Stairclimbing: Skip the elevator, walk more stairs, strengthen the glutes, improve your golf game.

Do all of these in order to provide various stresses to your body and strengthen your glutes. But remember, Pound for pound, squatting is the best bang for your buck strength exercise. Squatting makes us stronger by working different large muscle groups. The primary groups include the body movers – the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. In addition, the muscle of our “core” must stabilize the torso and maintain a neutral spine while supporting the load during the movement. The squat is a complex movement that forces coordinated work and the body grows stronger as a unit.

Next we’ll discuss the importance of posture. Let us know your thoughts about strengthening the glutes, water, walking, and sleeping.