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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Build a better launching pad

By Ron Kaspriske

Most golfers think that the lower body needs to be really active during the downswing. But at some point, the lower body must stabilize to let the shoulders, arms, hands and clubhead fire through the impact zone. If your legs didn't do this, you would lose control and have a difficult time consistently hitting the ball on the sweet spot.

Even Happy Gilmore had to plant his front foot before launching a drive, like 400 yards. And you should, too.

"You need a solid platform if your goal is to hit the ball solidly," says Golf Digest fitness advisor Ben Shear (@ben_shear), who trains PGA Tour pros Luke Donald, Jason Day and Webb Simpson.

"The initiation of the lower-body rotation should feel like it's almost starting immediately after the initial takeaway of the arms and club," Shear says. "This allows the lower body to stabilize early, so that later the upper body can come whipping around without you falling over."

Like Happy's girlfriend.

fitness-friday-0321-power-moves.jpgMASTER THIS POWER MOVE WITH ONE EXERCISE

Start slow until the movement becomes natural, and then increase speed so it feels powerful. The goal is to get your weight on your left side before you yank the band across your body. Golf Digest fitness advisor Ben Shear says to also do this exercise in the opposite direction to maintain muscular balance.


1. Using a stretch band, simulate your address posture with a fairly narrow stance (less than shoulder-width).


2. Take a big sidestep with your left foot toward an imaginary target, letting the band stretch in that direction.


3.
Now aggressively pull the band across your torso while rotating your body toward the target. It's as if you were swinging a club through impact.



Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.


Photos by Dom Furore