The good, the bad and the “golfish”

There is a bit of a debate in my industry when it comes to whether or not exercises that look like a golf swing are actually helpful.  As with most things in life, people seem to fall somewhere on the far extremes of this conversation.  But in my mind, the truth of the issue lies somewhere right smack dab in the middle.

I’m taking on this subject today as a piggyback from yesterday’s post.  I mentioned that one of the issues I encountered on the golf course yesterday is that my training volume vs. golf swing volume has not been balanced for the past few weeks.  The end result is a breakdown in my movement patterns.  Yes, it happens that quickly to me!  My body needs a balance in order to perform at it’s best.  This holds true for many of my clients as well, so the trick is combining good quality strength work and also incorporating exercises that strengthen the correct rotational patterns and address the need for stability.

No before I go off on a tangent about one of those exercises focusing on rotation in particular that have been making me crazy lately because so many people have been posting videos of what they call t-spine rotational work and it’s not, they are just moving their arms and giving the illusion of rotation…….whoops, sorry.  I’m saving this subject for an upcoming post, as you can see I’m a little fired up about this one.

Let’s get back to the point here, my belief is that there is an effective way to incorporate golf like exercises into a workout without causing a problem.  One rule to live by on this: If you are every taking golf swings with resistance attached to it, STOP!!!!!!!!!  Do not pass go, do not collect $200, in fact just start running the other way!  This would be the appropriate response….


Here is the deal, when you add resistance to your golf swing, you have to slow down in order to create the appropriate timing.  Yes, it actually makes you swing slower!  All of you using those weight clubs to warm up I hope you’re reading this.  I remember a very wise coach named Jason Glass once saying “Speed=Power”.  Why on earth would you want to do an exercise that does the opposite?  Hey coach, I’ve actually decided I want to hit the ball about 20 yards less than I currently do, can we work on that?

The other argument I will make in this department is that if you are swinging a lot outside of the gym, it’s easy to get out of balance.  Everyone is asymmetrical to begin with, but golfers struggle much more with this because we’re swinging at a much higher speed in one direction.  So is there really a need to keep doing swing motions in the gym when those patterns are already on overload?

So what I’m taking about when I say “golfish”, are exercises that can enhance your ability to stabilize rotation, improve the quality of your rotation or movement or on weeks where the snow is stopping you from doing anything, help keep those patterns engrained.

Here are three of my favorite options that place more focus on moving the torso and stabilizing the lower body:

One Leg Torso Rotation:  The key here is keeping the lower body quiet and feeling the glute on the standing leg fire.  This is definitely a challenging exercise and one to work up to.  You can always place the back foot on the ground to gain some stability.  I like lifting up the free leg to help engage the glutes further.

Half Kneeling Rotate and Press:  I called this one half kneeling, but I’m actually doing the demo from a lunge for an added challenge.  The goal here is to once again keep the lower body still, pelvis tucked under to engage the core and to focus on feeling the torso rotate. Make sure to stay within the boundaries of your body, when the torso stops, press straight out from there feeling as though you are pulling the dowel apart.

Lift, Turn and Reach:  Once again you are in that awesome half kneeling position that forces the core into better engagement and posture alignment.  Lift yourself off the ground first, get stable, turn and then lift the dowel out from there.

In all three of these exercises, the emphasis is being placed on where proper torso rotation needs to come from.  Like I said above, a lot of people just move their arms and never rotate.  While you may be seeking more torso rotation, I like to focus more on improving the quality of what you currently have first.

For me personally, I tend to gravitate towards these exercises because the focus in my swing right now is improving my torso rotation in the back swing.  My motor patterns in that direction are very undeveloped, probably because I never rolled that way as a baby but also because I have super long arms and flexible shoulders that like to take over.  I tend to rise out of my posture and reach the arms up verses stabilizing and just turning.  When I feel the boundaries of my rotation and use that to stay better connected in my back swing, a lot of good things happen!

Give these a try and let me know how it goes!


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