Fitness Friday: How to stop lunging at the ball
Power generation in the golf swing comes from a combination of sequential body movements while using ground force as leverage. Unfortunately, many high-handicap players rely on their instincts a little too much when it comes to trying to hit the ball harder and farther. They know that when you want to attack something aggressively, you should move toward it. But in the golf swing, this lateral slide toward the target can promote a downswing that is too steep and make it difficult to square the face. Most golf instructors will tell you it's OK if the lead hip (left hip for right-handers) "bumps" toward the target as you start down from the top, but what's not OK is if the entire body lunges toward the target.
Not only should you try to override your instinct to lunge, says Golf Digest fitness advisor Ben Shear (@ben_shear), you should also train your hip adductors. The culprit for this sway/slide is often weak hip adductor muscles. This group of muscles that runs along the inside of each of your thighs is greatly responsible for internal hip rotation. And without the ability to rotate your hips toward each other, you won't have the strength to stop your body from moving in the direction the club is moving.
It's easy to correct these issues, Shear says, and he uses a two-pronged attack of softening the muscle tissue to make it more mobile and then strengthening the muscle group to make the region more stable. Click on the video below to see a demonstration of how you can train your hip adductors so you can swing with more stability.
Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.*