Prepare your body for anything!
It occurs to me that there is a lot of mis-information out there on training. “Don’t do rotation training, you could hurt your back!” “Don’t lift heavy, you could slip a disk!” “Always train on a flat surface!”
This last one is particularly problematic because the golf course isn’t flat! In this lesson, I’m going to give you an exercise that will help you to prepare your body for any situation the course throws at you.
The golf course is never flat!
This first example is simple enough: a bunker. Now it looks to me like this bunker is quite flat, but if you take a look at this guys feet, you can see he is on a bit of an uphill slope. What does this do to his hips? His knees? His torso? Well, to adjust to the lie, his body will put the necessary micro movements in place:
- His eyes are flat with the horizon
- His airways are open for breathing.
- His left hip will be higher than the right, as will his left knee and ankle.
- In turn his torso may be lowered on the left shoulder, to help bring his torso back to square.
- By squaring off his torso that is compensating for the tilt in the hips, this will allow his head to as close as possible to be straight with the horizon.
Now if we did take a quick look at the body as a whole, you would see that he probably has an “S” shape going on, much like a scoliosis. This is the beauty of the body. It has such an amazing adaptation to change that all of these things are working together, to help you play your shot from the sand.
How can you prepare for this kind of playing?
First off I would look at your base conditioning, which is absolutely vital in getting your core strong. I have a fully 8 week program that is specifically designed for this.
It also ensures that your movement patterns for the golf swing are working to the best of their abilities. Those include but are not limited to
- Full Spinal rotation
- Spinal Flexion and Extension
- Lateral Flexion of the spine
- Head rotation and Range of Motion.
The Drill – The Wood Chop
There is an exercise called ‘The Wood Chop”, which translates extremely well into a lot of sports, golf included. This is a way of training this kind of work in the bunker, or on the rough where your stance is less than optimal.
- Get onto a cable machine, position your feet so they are even, get the movement from left to right /right to left fluid.
- Now Make it harder. Grab a small aerobics step, put it under one foot to simulate uneven ground, and perform the woodchop with a low weight.
- “It is not essential” in this kind of training to be starting off going for power and strength, this is movement training on uneven surfaces. There is plenty of time to get power and strength in once your body is able to work with and perform the unusual tasks that you would normally ask of it on the golf course.
Above is a picture of the reverse woodchop in action. This is similar to, and translates well to the follow through of the golf swing. The woodchop is easily changed the planes of movement and heights, to help vary the exercise. You can do the reverse as shown here, you can go from high to low, you can chop straight across the middle and anything in between. It is really a versatile movement.
Bonus Drill – Swiss Ball Style
Now to help with a little bit of stability training, you can sit on a swiss ball, which takes the lower limbs out of the equation and helps to put in place neural and balance training. Or you can use a small aerobics step to put your body in an uneven lie and chop from there.
The woodchop is just one exercise that can be varied in an infinite number of ways, to allow you to train more than just one plane of movement. This means you can twist, push, pull, squat and bend and any direction, which is going to help strengthen muscles in all movements, so that your swing can be strengthened accordingly.