Fitness Friday: Help for beginning golfers

Editor's note: Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. This week he gives new players some excellent training advice to learn the basic swing motion without a club or ball. This advice is also good for veteran players. It's often more effective to work on your swing or make a swing change when you're not distracted by trying to hit the ball and see where it goes. Look for Saturday Morning Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.

*Roger Schiffman

Managing Editor

Golf Digest

Here's Ron: Trying to explain how the body should move as the club swings down into the ball is a challenge golf instructors have tussled with for decades. Heck, it's one of the reasons Golf Digest stays in business. Getting beginners to understand that the body has to rotate around a fixed point as the club swings down is particularly difficult on the driving range or the golf course because their focus often changes from making the proper movement to trying to hit the ball. So instead of grooving a proper golf swing on the course, it might be easier to pattern the movement in the gym.

If you're new to the game, next time you're in the gym or at home, get into your golf posture and stand perpendicular to a punching bag, a soft mat or even someone's chest. From this position, throw a hook punch with your dominant hand into your target (if it's someone's chest, let's hope you'll still be friends). To power the punch, most people will intuitively turn their torso toward the target as they rotate around their lead leg (left for right-handers). If you did that, congratulations, you just learned a fundamental of a good golf swing.

Now, to strengthen the muscles needed to groove this movement, anchor a stretch tube to a heavy post. Grab the handle with two hands--you can even simulate your golf grip--and get into your golf posture. Now practice throwing that hook punch toward your target while holding #iframe:||| onto the grip with both hands. Your body should still be rotating around your left leg. Do this exercise 10 to 15 times, then, because you need to train both sides of the body to maintain muscle balance, turn around and make 10 to 15 left-handed hook punches with the stretch tube.

Make this exercise a staple of your workout routine, and your golf swing should improve dramatically. To see a demonstration of the hook punch and the stretch-tube exercise, click on the video below.

*Ron Kaspriske

Fitness Editor

Golf Digest*