While going through the Golf Digest archives, I recently found a good article I did with fitness trainer Don Saladino, who co-owns the Drive 495 (@drive495) golf gym in Manhattan with his brother Joe.
The reason I bring it up is because I'm often asked what areas of the body should be focal points of any golf workout. Everyone immediately thinks of the core muscles as a good starting point and it's true, you can't go wrong strengthening the belt of muscles that run from your chest down to your knees (think a pitcher's strike zone).
But Don and I came up with an easier way to remember which muscles matter most in terms of training for golf. We called it the Three Hs: hamstrings,hips and hunchback. Granted, the last one is an issue and not a body part, but it made it easier to remember the muscles that golfers often neglect.
The Three Hs are especially important in terms of addressing a ball with good posture and maintaining that posture throughout the swing.Whether it's physical limitations or fatigue, many amateurs eventually find themselves more and more hunched over as they address a golf ball. This comes from a rounding of the back known as "C" posture, because the spine bends into a shape like the letter. They also get more hunched over because their hamstrings and hip flexors are fatiguing.
These same golfers will then thrust their hips toward the ball as they start the downswing and stand nearly upright at impact. They do this for two reasons: 1. Their muscles aren't functioning correctly; 2. They are subconsciously trying to create more room for the club to meet the ball, because their rounded-back posture at address would cause them to slam it into the ground behind the ball if they didn't.
So how can you improve your golf posture and keep swinging with proficiency late into a round? See Don demonstrate some good exercises to help deal with the Three Hs.
Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor for Golf Digest.*
(Illustration by Bryan Christie)