With nothing more complicated (or costly) than an elasticated band, you can devise a training regime that will transform your levels of strength and flexibility – with direct and immediate benefits to your golf swing. The GolfBand team has developed this simple and flexible piece of equipment to offer golfers of all ages and abilities the opportunity to use the concept of resistance training to strengthen and condition golf-specific muscles.
In the second of a two-part series (the last issue featured upper body exercises), GolfBand ambassador and professional golfer Charlie Clare demonstrates six simple exercises taken from the GolfBand program designed to strengthen the lower body, especially the Glutes, which will help improve your power, balance, and stability.
Part 2 - Lower body conditioning exercises
Each of the simple exercises devised through GolfBand’s research are proven to be effective for developing and maintaining strength and flexibility in muscle groups specific to golf. Strength is important but flexibility is the real key – the better your range of motion more easily you will be able to make and repeat a sound swing. This is where resistance training comes into it’s own; a couple of 20-minute sessions a week is all it takes to make a difference to your level of flexibility. With regular training, you will enjoy the flexibility that allows you to produce your best golf swing more often.
Parts 1 of this series can be found here, giving you the basis of a terrific full body workout.
Six lower body exercises for Power, Balance and Stability
One thing great golfers have is big, strong and powerful glutes (buttocks). It’s the huge gluteal muscles in their rear that are the cannons of their powerful golf swing. The glutes also have a primary role to play in the technical “shape-making” of the swing. Not only do they drive the body coil and provide balance they limit pelvic instability and ‘tuck under’ at impact. They also control lateral slide and the spinal pelvic angle.
The muscles of the glute – the Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus – help provide the movement in your legs and upper body and help balance the muscles of your core. The Gluteus Medius is situated on the outer surface of the pelvis and is crucial within the golf swing, as it aids hip rotation and stability as well as correct weight movement patterns, all of which lead to good ‘sequencing’ and timing.
Squats with/without bicep curls
To kick things off, here’s a great lower body exercise which works most of the major lower body muscle groups (i.e. gluteus, quadriceps & hamstrings).
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, keep neutral spine & abdominals tight
- Loop the GolfBand under both feet and hold on to the ends of the band in each hand
- Your starting position should see the arms hanging, full length at your sides, elbows soft
- Go through the motion of sitting down, bending at the hip & knee joints
- Keep chest lifted & your weight supported through the heels
- Return to standing position
- Suggested number of Reps: 2 X 10-12
Note: A bicep curl can be incorporated by bringing hands up towards the shoulders during the squat (keep elbows close to waist)
Thigh raise works the outer thigh
Having warmed up your lower body muscles with the basic squat exercise, this thigh raise works the core and outer thigh (specifically the hip abductor muscles which include the Gluteus Medius & Gluteus Minumus)
- Tie/clip the GolfBand in a tight loop around your thighs (this is made easy using the GolfBand Loop)
- Stand with your feet spread to shoulder-width & with knees ‘soft’
- Keep your hips facing forward and your feet parallel
- Using a wall, a golf club (as I am) or chair for support; slowly lift one leg out to the side
- Keep toe and knee facing forward
- Hold momentarily, and then return the leg to the starting position
- Suggested number of Reps: 10-12
- Repeat on the opposite side
Glute kick back works the buttocks & backs of thighs
Now for an exercise that is aimed at directly helping strengthen muscles which work together to transfer load and help to maintain a good posture (the Gluteus Maximus and Hamstring muscles).
- Stand up straight, with your feet spread to shoulder width, and keep the knees ‘soft’
- Tie/clip GolfBand into a small loop, and place around your right ankle; hook the other end of the loop around the left foot (as shown)
- Again, use a wall, a golf club or a chair for support as you prepare to kick back the raised foot
- With bent knee slowly push the leg back behind you – it is vital the hips remain facing forward
- Return to starting position
- Keep stomach held in & do not arch your back
- Suggested number of Reps: 10-12 Repeat with opposite leg
Marching with high knees works the front of thigh
This may not look particularly demanding… but you’ll be surprised how long 60 seconds really is once you get into your stride. A great workout for the Quadriceps
- Tie/Clip the GolfBand in a smallish loop around your ankles (again, the GolfBand Loop is useful here)
- Focus on keeping your knees & toes facing forward as you step in to a march, legs slightly wider than hip width
- Swing your arms in rhythm and bring your knees up to hip height (the arms helps with balance; the lower body is doing all the work!)
- Beginners are advised to start off just raising the knees slightly and gradually increase the march as you progress
- Continue marching for 30 / 45 / 60 seconds – build up your target as you progress with the exercise
Toe taps behind works the buttocks and inner thigh
This variation on the kick-back exercise we looked at earlier will work the gluteal muscles and the inner thigh.
- Tie/Clip the GolfBand around your ankles
- Keeping your knees & toes facing forward, step and tap from side to side (as you see demonstrated below)
- Alternate taking each leg back and tapping your toe behind you, crossing slightly to the opposite side
- Keep your supporting knee bent & working leg straight
- Perform 30 / 40 / 50 taps in total, adjusting your target according to your fitness (increase as you progress)
Squat and side-step works the buttocks and thighs
This exercise is for those large powerful muscles, the Gluteals and Quadriceps, which provide power, balance and stability in the golf swing.
- Tie/Clip the Golf Band in a loop around your ankles
- Start with hands on hips, & feet hip-width apart
- Take right leg, step out to right side & squat
- Sit down bending at the hip & knee joints
- Keep chest lifted & weight through the heels
- Come up, returning to starting position
- Repeat exercise on left side
- Suggested reps: Alternate right & left 10 / 20 / 30 times (increase number as you progress)