*Editor's note: Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. He gives you a health and fitness tip or an exercise or stretch to get your body warmed up for the weekend. This week he explains why back lunges might be best for golfers. He explains why and shows how to do them correctly for optimum safety and benefit. Look for Saturday Morning Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman.
While the squat remains one of the best power exercises golfers can do, several top golf fitness trainers think lunging is a safer, and possibly a better move to build strength in the crucial areas of the hips, glutes, and legs--especially if performed in the correct manner of dropping a leg behind you vs. extending a leg in front of you.
Craig Davies, director of nutrition and fitness at the Core Golf Academy in Orlando and a trainer to several top PGA Tour pros including Sean O'Hair and Hunter Mahan, says lunges are one of his favorites, "much more than squats." Generally speaking, it puts less stress on the lower back than squatting.
"I like lunges that move in a backward direction generally much more so than forward," Davies adds. "Forward lunges will generally result in the athlete loading predominantly through the quads (front of the thighs), especially if the athlete loads through their forefoot, which nearly all do. Excessive quad activation, compared to glute and hamstring activation with a back lunge, will generally result in shortening of the quads. And they are almost always chronically too short to begin with."
If that went over your head, then just remember that back lunges allow better activation of the hamstring and glutes than front lunges. The hamstring and glute muscles are crucial to power and stability in your golf swing.
To see demonstrations of two back lunges--one for strength training and the other a bonus cardio/strength training move--click on the video below.
--Ron Kaspriske Fitness Editor, Golf Digest