A key ingredient to hitting the ball farther is the ability to rotate your upper body away from the target during the backswing, while your lower body remains fairly stationary. In essence, you're coiling your upper torso by using your hips and legs as resistance (like Nick Watney, right)). Then, when it's time to start your downswing, you release this coil like a spring and generate a great deal of swing speed by rotating the lower body, followed by the upper body, toward the target.
It's a simple concept, but many golfers struggle to coil because of physical limitations, says golf instructor Karen Palacios-Jansen.
"I typically see golfers taking the club back with very little body rotation," says Palacios-Jansen, named by Golf Digest as one of the 50 Best Women Teachers in America. "It's very difficult to hit the ball powerfully unless you know how to wind the upper body against the lower body. Many amateurs just end up lifting their arms during the backswing. There's no turn."
In addition to being a terrific golf instructor, Palacios-Jansen also is very knowledgeable in terms of golf fitness. She's been training golfers in the gym and on the course for decades (you can follow her @kpjgolf). She recently unveiled her new "Cardiogolf" program, which combines strength, mobility and cardiovascular exercises into one workout.
One of the exercises in this new routine is terrific for improving your coil in the backswing and learning how to swing through the ball with explosive power. Plus, it's a good way to prime muscles before you play and get a good sweat going. To see her demonstrate it, watch the video below:
Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor for Golf Digest.
(Photo by Dom Furore)