The Loop

Want a better golf swing? Train diagonally

December 09, 2016

The majority of gym goers exercise almost exclusively in the sagittal plane. Things like squats, rows, hammer curls, and deadlifts all are performed in the same plane, and they are good exercises for overall strength and stability. However, the golf swing is performed in multiple planes of motion. The body rotates (transverse plane), shifts (frontal plane) and even thrusts (sagittal)—all in less than two seconds as you go from address to finish. Knowing this, doesn't it make sense to train in all three planes of motion when you work out? Even better, it's smart to choose exercises that make you move in two or more planes with each repetition.


Photo by Getty Images

It's also important to know that many muscles are designed to work together. The outer unit of muscles and other soft tissue are often grouped in what are known as "slings." These slings function as a unit as your body moves. Perhaps the most important of these for golfers to train is the posterior oblique sling. Think of it as strand of connective tissue (fascia) that runs from the lower part of your shoulder down to the opposite hip (see illustration above). Actually, it goes from one side of your lattissimus dorsi muscle down and across your back to the gluteus maximus on the other side. If you imagine yourself making a swing, you can see how important it is to coordinate the movement of one side of your shoulder and back with the opposite hip. These muscles provide stability and power to a golf swing, especially when they work in coordination.

So how do you train the posterior oblique sling? Watch the video below for two golf-specific exercises that will train this diagonal patterning of muscle function, so you can make a coordinated and powerful swing. The bonus, they also help reduce injuries, particularly to your lower back.