WEB-EXTRA: FITNESS - GET TO THE CORE OF YOUR SWING\u000A16 exercises to make you a better golfer\u000AThe weakest part of most golfers\u0027 bodies is the part they need most: the core. Without strong, pliable muscles in your stomach, hips, butt and lower back, you can\u0027t make a golf swing that is both powerful and technically sound. In the February edition of Golf Digest, I gave you an introduction to building a better core. Now I\u0027m going to share with you the entire, 16-exercise workout. Do this three to five times a week and you\u0027ll notice a dramatic improvement in your golf swing and you\u0027ll feel a whole lot better.\u000A\u000A -- Mark Verstegen\u000A\u000A\u000A\u000ATHE WORKOUT:\u000A\u000AMini-band walk forward (1 set, 10 steps)Mini-bank walk sideways(1 set, 10 steps, each directionHip crossovers (1 set, six reps, each direction)Glute bridges (1 set, 10 reps)Inverted hamstring stretch (1 set, 6 reps, each leg)Quad rocking (1 set, 10 reps)World\u0027s greatest stretch (1 set, 3 reps, each direction)Lateral squat (1 set, 6 reps, each direction)Backward lunge with tilt (1 set, 6 reps, each direction)Knee hugs (1 set, 6 reps, each knee)Drop step lunge (1 set, 6reps, each leg)Med-ball perpendicular throws (1 set, 10 throws, each side)Med-ball parallel throws (1 set, 10 throws, each side)T-hip rotations (1 set, 6 rotations, each side)1-arm, one-leg Romanian deadlift (1 set, 6 reps, each leg)1-arm, 2-leg deadlift (1 set, 6 reps, each leg)\u000A1. MINI-BAND WALK FORWARD \u000A\u000A (ONE SET, 10 STEPS)\u000A\u000AWhy it works: The resistance of the stretch bands against your legs activates and strengthens the glutes, which are key to maintaining a stable base when you swing, especially at faster speeds.\u000A\u000A How to do it:Place a mini-band around your legs above the knee and another around your ankles. Walk forward in small steeps, keeping your knees bent and alternating the elbows driving back with each step. Keep your back straight and your knees over your toes at all times.\u000A2. MINI-BANK WALK SIDEWAYS \u000A\u000A(ONE SET, 10 STEPS, EACH DIRECTION)\u000A\u000AWhy it works: The resistance of the stretch bands against your legs activates and strengthens the hips, groin, quads and glutes, all key, to maintaining a stable base when you swing, especially at faster speeds.\u000A\u000A How to do it: Place a mini-band around your legs above the knee and another around your ankles. Walk sideways in small steeps, keeping your legs fairly straight and alternating the elbows driving back with each step. Keep your back straight and your knees over your toes at all times.\u000A3. HIP CROSSOVERS\u000A\u000A (ONE SET, SIX REPS, EACH DIRECTION)\u000A\u000AWhy it works: The twisting of the lower body helps stretch the muscles and tendons in the hips and lower back. This simulates the torque put on the hip region at the top of the backswing and the during the follow-through.\u000A\u000AHow to do it: Lie faceup on the ground with your arms to your sides, your knees bent, feet wider than shoulder-width apart, heels on the ground. Now twist your bent legs to the left until they reach the ground, then twist them to the right. Continue alternating sides while keeping your shoulders on the ground and your abs tight.\u000A4. GLUTE BRIDGES\u000A\u000A (ONE SET, 10 REPS)\u000A\u000AWhy it works: A great exercises for the glutes, it also strengthens the hamstrings and lower back. The extended position is very similar to the position a golfer gets in when thrusting the hips toward the target through impact.\u000A\u000AHow to do it: Lie face up with your arms out to your sides, knees bent, and your toes off the ground. Squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) and thrust your hips upward until your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.\u000A5. INVERTED HAMSTRING STRETCH\u000A\u000A(ONE SET, SIX REPS, EACH LEG) \u000A\u000AWhy it works: Although technically not part of the core, the hamstrings allow you to fire your core muscles properly during the swing-if they are flexible. They also help you maintain your posture throughout the swing and effectively transfer weight. In many cases, tight hamstrings are linked to lower-back pain.\u000A\u000AHow to do it:Stand on your left leg only with your arms extended from your sides. Now bend over at the waist, and raise your right leg so it\u0027s behind you and parallel to the ground. When you feel the hamstring stretch in your left leg, return to the starting position. Switch legs and repeat.\u000A6. QUAD ROCKING\u000A\u000A (ONE SET, 10 REPS)\u000A\u000AWhy it works: This mobilizes your hips, allowing them to perform correctly throughout the swing. This also strengthens the lower back, relieving some of the stress placed on it during a round of golf.\u000A\u000AHow to do it:Get down on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Pull your belly button in toward your spine while maintaining a natural curve in your lower back. Move your hips backward until you start feeling your pelvis rotating Return to the starting position. Try to hold your pelvis still throughout the exercise and breath normally.\u000A7. WORLD\u0027S GREATEST STRETCH\u000A\u000A(ONE SET, THREE REPS, EACH DIRECTION)\u000A\u000AWhy it works: The name says it all. This lengthens nearly every muscle in the core and also the key ones attached such as the hamstrings, upper back, etc. This stretch will increase the amount a golfer can turn.\u000A\u000A How to do it:Stand with your back straight, arms to your sides. Step forward into a lunge with your right foot. Place your left hand on the ground and your right elbow to the inside of your right foot and hold the stretch for two seconds. Rotate your right arm and chest to the sky as far as you can. Hold for two seconds. Take your elbow back and down toward your instep and reach through to your opposite side. Place your right hand outside your right foot and repeat. Make sure to keep your back knee off the ground and to contract the glutes.\u000A8. LATERAL SQUAT\u000A\u000A(ONE SET, SIX REPS, EACH DIRECTION)\u000A\u000AWhy it works: Stretches the hip adductors (inside of the thigh), glutes, groin, hamstrings and strengthens the quads. The legs play such a key role in providing power for the golf swing but they need to be more elastic and powerful. This exercise builds the lower part of the core.\u000A\u000AHow to do it: Stand with your feet spread slightly wider than the shoulders. Shift your hips to the right and down by bending your right knee and keeping your left leg straight. Your feet should be pointing straight ahead and flat on the ground. Push through the right hip, returning to the starting position. Then shift your hips to the left and repeat the exercise in the other direction. Be sure to keep your knee on the squat side behind your toes, your back flat and your chest up.\u000A9. BACKWARD LUNGE WITH TILT\u000A\u000A(ONE SET, SIX REPS, EACH LEG)\u000A\u000AWhy it works: This exercise stretches the hip flexors, the glutes, the groin area and the oblique muscles (sides of the torso). Without flexibility in these areas, you wouldn\u0027t be able to rotate your upper body very well during the backswing or through to the finish.\u000A\u000A How to do it:Step backward with your right foot into a lunge position, and contract your right glute. Reach your right hand over your head and laterally crunch your torso to the left. Return to the starting position. Switch legs, and repeat.\u000A10. KNEE HUGS\u000A\u000A(ONE SET, SIX REPS, EACH KNEE)\u000A\u000AWhy it works: A terrific exercise for maintaining your posture throughout the swing. This stretches the glutes, the hamstrings and the hip flexors.\u000A\u000AHow to do it: Stand with your back straight and your arms at your sides. Lift your right foot off the ground and squat back down on your left leg. Grab below the knee with your hands and pull your right knee as close to your chest as you can while contracting your left glute for two seconds. Return to the start and switch leg positions. Make sure to keep your chest up and contract the glute of the leg you are standing on.\u000A11. DROP-STEP LUNGE\u000A\u000A(ONE SET, SIX REPS, EACH LEG)\u000A\u000AWhy it works: It activates and lengthens the hip muscles and strengthens the glutes. It helps the golfer sequence the downswing properly and generate more swing speed with the correct body rotation.\u000A\u000AHow to do it:From a standing position with your hands together in front of your chest, step backward and across with your right foot so it\u0027s about three feet behind and one foot outside of your left. Then sit back and down into a squat position. Stand up, reverse leg positions and repeat.\u000A12. MED-BALL PERPENDICULAR THROWS\u000A\u000A(ONE SET, 10 THROWS, EACH SIDE)\u000A\u000AWhy it works: Activates and strengthens the entire core area, especially the abs, glutes and hips. To do this exercise correctly, you have to recruit the core muscles needed in the golf swing.\u000A\u000A How to do it: Grab a medicine ball (the weight should feel manageable) and throw it into a wall as if you were simulating a swing. During the backswing, keep your knees bent and turn your back away from the wall. When you swing through, drive your back hip toward the wall. Keep your back flat and chest up. Catch the ball as it rebounds off the wall. Do all the reps in one direction before switching sides.\u000A13. MED-BALL PARALLEL THROWS\u000A\u000A(ONE SET, 10 THROWS, EACH SIDE)\u000A\u000AWhy it works: Activates and strengthens the hips and torso. Improves your recoil action through impact and allows you to compress the ball by swinging against a firm left side.\u000A\u000A How to do it:Grab a medicine ball and stand facing a wall in your golf posture. Bring it down alongside your hip and then thrust your legs up as you toss it into the wall. Once you catch the rebound, drop it down alongside your other hip and repeat the explosive movement.\u000A14. T-HIP ROTATIONS\u000A\u000A(ONE SET, SIX REPS, EACH SIDE)\u000A\u000AWhy it works: Stretches the hips and also strengthens the adductors.\u000A\u000A How to do it: Stand on your left leg and hold a support with your left hand. A chair is sufficient. Hinge through your left hip by dropping your chest and lifting your right leg to the ceiling to create a \u0022T\u0022 with your body. While holding on with your left hand, open your hips and shoulders toward the ceiling until you feel a stretch on the outside of your left hip. Hold for two seconds. Rotate your hips and shoulders down and across your body until you feel a stretch on the outside of your left hip. Finish one side before starting the other. Remember to move your hips and shoulders as one unit. Keep the leg you\u0027re standing on slightly bent at the knee and keep your back leg lifted toward the sky throughout the movement.\u000A15. 1-ARM, 1-LEG ROMANIAN DEADLIFT\u000A\u000A(ONE SET, SIX REPS, EACH LEG)\u000A\u000AWhy it works:This a great strength-building movement for the glutes, hamstrings and, to a lesser degree, the lower back and core. These muscles are needed for the explosive movement required in a powerful swing.\u000A\u000A How to do it: Stand on one leg holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Your leg should be in a fixed position but not locked at the knee. Shift your hips back and lower the dumbbells as far as you can while keeping your back straight. Fire your hamstrings and glutes as you return to an upright position. Keep the dumbbells close to your body, almost touching your leg throughout the movement. Don\u0027t think of it as bending forward, rather sitting back. Keep your shoulder blades back and down.\u000A16. 1-ARM, 2-LEG DEADLIFT\u000A\u000A(ONE SET, SIX REPS, EACH LEG)\u000A\u000AWhy it works: This is a great core-strengthening exercise that focuses on the hips and, to a lesser extent, the lower back. It helps train the muscles needed to use the ground as leverage for a powerful swing.\u000A\u000A How to do it: Place a dumbbell (medium to heavy) on a short platform or the ground in front of you. Using one arm only, grab the dumbbell as you lower yourself into a squat position. You should feel it in your hips. Then stand up and repeat the movement while continuing to hold the weight. Remember to keep your back straight and your heels on the ground throughout the exercise. Switch arms, and repeat.