Five Effective Exercises for Junior Golfers
As an added bonus to our article in the May issue of Golf Digest on the importance of fitness for junior golfers, we asked the guys from the Golf Performance Center in Ridgefield, Conn., to give us their five best exercises. If you're a parent getting your kid into golf, you need to get them started in the gym, not lifting heavy weights, but performing some basic exercises," says David Donatucci, PGA of America director of fitness and performance, and co-creator of the PGA Sports Academy for kids. Before a young athlete is able to progress to the next level he/she have the basic movement skills down. These workouts are focused on core stability, which will help junior golfers master the "fundamental movements" necessary to make an athletic golf swing.
1. The Suspended RowDescription: Exercise for back strength and core stability.
How to perform: Grab the handles. Step forward until your body reaches a 45-degree angle. Pull yourself up keeping a neutral spine, while keeping your shoulders down.
How it relates to golf: This will help with staying in golf posture, shoulder health, stability throughout swing allowing for better rotational speed.
Who it is for: This good for all levels of athletes, by modifying foot position closer to attachment. Closer makes it harder further away will increase body weight load. --------
2. Inclined Push-UpDescription: Push-up exercise for upper body strength and core stability.
How to perform: Place your hand on the pad or bench and align your hands with your chest. Bend your elbows to maintain neutral alignment of the spine and engage your abs and glutes. If you have trouble going all the way, limit your range of motion to halfway and work your way down.
How it relates to golf: Good upper body strength is needed to create good acceleration and deceleration of the torso your golf swing. A more stabilized core allows for better rotational speeds.
Who it is for: This is good for all levels of athletes, and you can modify foot position (stand closer) to make it more difficult. --------
3. Pistol SquatDescription: A triple flexion, unilateral or single-leg exercise to increase core stability and improve balance.
How to perform: Grab a kettle bell and extend arms at chest level (above, left). Stand on one leg, squat on your single leg as far down as you can go while maintaining good control of movement (above, right).
How it relates to golf: This exercise will help balance, stability, weight transfer and power.
Who it is for: With modifications using weight, cable system or bands, the pistol squat is a popular exercise for top athletes, but will help those on all levels. --------
4. Single Leg DeadliftDescription: This hip-dominating movement will challenge your balance, core stability, hip and upper body strength.
How to perform: Begin in a tall standing position and engage your core, hinge from the hips, extend back with elevated leg (above, left). At the top, your body will look like a "T" with your shoulders and leg elevated parallel to the ground (above, right).
How it relates to golf: This will help you generate more power in the downswing by helping you transfer energy through the body. Also will aid posture, balance, separation of upper body and lower body.
Who it is for: For all levels of athletes, can be modified to fit anyone with adjustments of weight, depth of hinge and height of weight being moved. --------
5. Med Ball SlamsDescription: Tall kneeling position, this exercise will challenge core and hip stability, and increase power generated by your upper body.
How to perform: The purpose here is to move fast. From a tall kneeling position (use a pad if needed) with your arms extended over your head, squeeze the glutes and tighten the abs and slam a medicine ball as hard as you can while keeping arms straight and maintaining your torso posture. Your shoulders will be down and palms should be facing your sides.
How it relates to golf: The medicine ball slam will help you develop power in your downswing while also helping to maintain posture.
Who it is for: All athletes can benefit from this exercise. Exercise can be modified for anyone with differing the weight of the ball.