The Loop

Fitness Friday: Ramping up the plank

January 26, 2012

Many of my Twitter followers have been patiently waiting for an advanced version of my 20-in-20 workout. It's coming soon, I promise. But while we're on the topic of advanced workouts, you should know that almost all the exercises in your current program can be amped up in several ways.

Simply increasing the external load or resistance in a movement is the most obvious. A 20-pound dumbbell overhead press can become a 25-pound press. But two other ways that are equally if not more beneficial for golfers are to perform the exercise in an unstable position or challenge more muscles in a similar activity.

The coordinated movement of a golf swing requires not only several muscle groups to function properly, but it also requires several muscle groups to function properly when instability, balance and fatigue become real issues. Things such as making a good swing from an uneven lie or trying to finish strong on a 98-degree day are why golfers should eventually advance from basic exercises to ones that challenge stability and muscle coordination.

Doing exercises in an unstable position could be anything from lying back on a physio ball instead of on a sturdy flat bench while doing chest presses to doing lunges while the toe of your back leg is resting on a platform. If your body feels unstable, it's going to work extra hard to try to create stability while you perform the movement.

Challenging more muscles to work together also is key. If you normally do a push-up with both arms and both legs on the ground, now try doing them with both arms but only one leg resting on the ground. Just don't forget that if you train one side of your body, be sure to train the other.

One of my favorite advanced exercises is adding an internal hip rotation to a plank. Let's face it, planks are great for golfers because they help stabilize the body during the swing by strengthening the abdominal muscles. But they're also boring. And hip hugs are good for golfers because they help with posture and the proper rotation during a swing. Still, they aren't very challenging for an experienced athlete.

But if you put the two together into one exercise, suddenly you have a great golf-training movement. So don't be afraid to try advanced versions of your current exercises. So go ahead and develop your own advanced workout. Just do it safely and prudently.

To see me demonstrate a hip-rotation plank, click on the link below.

*Ron Kaspriske

Fitness Editor

Golf Digest*