FitnessJune 1, 2011

Rage Against The Machine

Most commercial gyms are overloaded with exercise machines to attract new members. What those people don't know is that most machines provide an inferior workout because they hinder stability and muscle coordination -- crucial to a good golf swing. Skip the machines, says fitness guru Mark Verstegen, founder of Athletes' Performance in Phoenix, and try these exercises.

1. Alternate-arm, dumbbell bench press while keeping your hips raised and off a physio ball (glutes contracted). (Top)

This strengthens your chest, improves balance, stabilizes your core and promotes range of motion in your shoulders and wrists. The chest-press machine creates a false sense of stability and hinders your shoulders from moving naturally.

2. Dumbell lateral squat with your hips back, your back flat and your torso engaged.

This improves leg strength, increases flexibility in your hips and groin, and allows your hips to move properly during the swing. It can also help decrease torque on your lower back. The Smith machine provides a false stability and masks deficiencies.

3. Medicine-ball throws while standing perpendicular to a wall.

Load into your right side from a semi-squat position. Transfer your weight into your left side by standing and rotating your torso toward the wall and releasing the ball. This improves explosive power and core strength. A trunk-rotation machine puts too much torque on your spine.

4. Stretch-tube hip-add/abduction pulls while balancing on one leg and extending the other out to the side.

This improves your hip strength, downswing power and foot stability. It also helps prevent swaying in your golf swing. The add/abduction machine trains the muscles in isolation and restricts range of motion of your hip rotators.

5. One-legged Romanian deadlift while holding dumbbells and keeping the grounded leg slightly flexed.

Create a straight body line from ears to ankle while bent over, and pull through your hip to return to a standing position. This balances and strengthens your hamstrings, glutes and hips. The hamstring-curl machine isolates only the muscle group.

6. Bent over row while balancing on one leg and holding a dumbbell with the opposite arm.

This challenges the rotational stability of your hips and torso while strengthening your shoulders, hamstrings and glutes. The lat-pulldown machine can cause shoulder impingement if you use it with the bar behind your neck. Plus, there's no involvement of your lower body.