Fitness Friday: For solid contact, keep your hamstrings strong
*Every week Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. Here's his advice for keeping your hamstrings healthy so you can stay in your posture and hit solid shots. Look for Weekend Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman.
Here's Ron: One of golf's most common swing flaws is failing to maintain the posture created at address. Many amateurs rise out of their stance as they swing the club down from the top, and this causes them to make poor contact with the ball. Fat and thin shots are a typical result.
Golf instructors will often try to fix this issue with various drills that help keep students from "standing up" when they swing down and through the impact zone. An example would be to hold a golf shaft just over a student's head and have the student make swings trying not to bump the shaft. Another would be to the student maintain the knee flex created at address.
Both are effective, and often a golfer with this stand-up problem will immediately start hitting solid shots after using these drills. The teacher and student shake hands and go on their merry ways. Problem solved, right?
It's easy to correct this problem for a swing or two, or even half a round. But without strong, flexible hamstrings (the muscles on the back of your thighs), the problem will come back; ** especially after fatigue sets in. Your hamstrings help support the body while you swing. Wherever you are right now, get into your address posture and then feel the back of your legs. If you can't feel your hamstring muscles working to hold that posture, you're probably going to struggle to hit the ball solidly.
If you haven't already, you should make the hamstrings a top priority of workouts, says Chris Noss, one of the PGA Tour's most-respected fitness trainers. He works with Camillo Villegas and Zach Johnson, to name two of his clients. In fact, starting workouts by warming up the hamstring muscles is always a good idea, since they play a key role in doing many exercises with proper form as well as avoiding injuries. "Tight and weak hamstrings often lead to back issues, not just swing flaws," Noss says.
To see me demonstrate a good hamstring warm-up exercise, click on the video below.