Health & FitnessOctober 3, 2014

Fitness Friday: Firm up your backside

If you don't have strong glutes (that's the butt, in case you didn't know), you're not only cheating yourself of a power source in the golf swing, you're inviting back pain, said Golf Digest fitness advisor Randy Myers (@randymyers_). "If your glutes go into atrophy, the back has to do the work to support the upper body when you swing the club, and it's simply not equipped to do that properly. That's when you get back pain," Myers says. When you're sitting, your glutes also are the muscles that are supposed keep your torso upright.

How valuable are strong glutes in the golf swing? In terms of power generation, they contract as you swing down and through allowing the upper body to whip the club through the hitting area. They also allow you to maintain your address posture, which is key to solid contact. The good news is you can strengthen them fairly easily with these three exercises from Myers.

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Lie on your back, arms extended out, knees bent and feet on the floor. Make sure your feet and knees are aligned. While squeezing your glutes together and pulling in your core, thrust your hips into the air, hold for a couple of breaths and return to the floor. Do 10 to 15 reps. Try to thrust your hips higher with each rep.

2. PHYSIO BALL BRIDGE

Lie on your back with your legs in line, heels on the ball and arms crossed over your chest. Keep your legs extended, and thrust up with your hips (your hamstrings will be active, too). Hold for the length of two breaths, and return to the floor. Do 10 to 15 reps. If this is too difficult, brace the ball against a wall.

__3. PHYSIO HEEL LIFT

__Get in a push-up position with the ball under your pelvis and your feet spread wider than your hips. As you tighten your core, raise your legs up and together so the heels touch. Don't raise your legs any higher than the point where your back starts to arch. Hold for two breaths, and return to the start. Do 10 to 15 reps.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.

Follow @ronkaspriske

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