Fitness Friday: Muscle it out of the rough
*Editor's note: Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. This week he shows you two exercises to build strength in your upper body, which is necessary to drive the club through U.S. Open type rough. Look for Saturday Morning Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.
Here's Ron: At some point during today's second-round coverage of the U.S. Open, you will inevitably see someone take a big hack at a ball buried in deep rough. Maybe he will extricate it successfully and get it on the green, maybe he won't. But poor technique isn't always to blame for a lack of success. "You need a lot of upper-body strength to swing through the thick stuff," says Randy Myers, director of fitness at the Sea Island (Ga.) Golf Resort and trainer to many top PGA Tour pros, including Dustin Johnson and Lucas Glover. "You not only have to make sure you can get through the grass, but you also need strength to keep the club from twisting open or closed."
When most people think of swinging through the rough, they think of having strong hands and arms. But that's only half the equation, says Craig Davies, another top trainer on the PGA ** Tour. "You also need strength and stability in the upper body." While the hands and arms keep the clubhead from twisting, it's the muscles of the upper body, particularly the shoulders, deltoids and latissimus dorsi ("lats"), that provide the power to get through tall, thick grass.
There are many forearm and upper-body strengthening exercises you can do to increase your chances of hitting good shots from deep rough. For two exercises you might not have seen before, click on the video below.