Fitness Friday: Can you do a jumping split squat?
__By Ron Kaspriske
You're looking at LPGA Tour pro Ryann O'Toole, 27, who routinely performs this exercise—a jumping split squat with a twist—at her gym in Orlando. "It's a power exercise," says trainer Ben Shear (@ben_shear), a Golf Digest fitness advisor. "It will improve the stability, coordination and speed of your swing. That means longer—and straighter—shots."
This exercise improves lower-body stability, trunk rotation and the ability of golf's key muscle groups (glutes, hamstrings, obliques) to engage when you want to hit that big drive. It also improves your X-Factor, which is the differential between your shoulder and hip turns at the top of the swing. The bigger your X-Factor, the more potential to swing faster and hit shots farther.
Begin with jumping split squats (no twist), alternating the position of the legs while you're in the air. Shear recommends doing them slowly at first. You can add speed and the upper-body twist as you improve. O'Toole shows how it's done:
Start in a split stance, holding a medicine ball by the hip of your lead leg.
Jump straight up, alternating the position of your legs while in the air. At the same time, rotate your upper body so the ball moves down by the hip of the other leg.
Land on both feet at the same time, with your shoulders supported by your hips. The knee of your lead leg should be above the foot, not out in front of it.
Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.
(Photos by Dom Furore)