An exercise routine for a golfer may vary from one to the next. Some focus on hitting the weight room, others prefer speed and agility training at the track, while many just hit the greens each week hoping a few quick stretches will do the trick. A golf-specific exercise program may vary from one golfer to the next; however, every program should include one common exercise: lunges. The lunge is a fundamental movement with a host of benefits for your golf swing. The lunge trains the three major components of your golf swing: flexibility, strength, and balance.
A lunge is a movement which involves a stepping motion while lowering your own body weight in a controlled manner. Lunges can take on many forms and variations. Each variation targets the muscles differently. Most commonly we are concerned with how the “lowering portion” of the exercise looks and where your motion is coming from. Try not to be too surprised when you read this, but the emphasis should be on the hips.
A correct lunge focuses on motion of the hip and activation of the gluteal muscles during the movement. An incorrect lunge typically involves too much movement of the knee. This will cause the knee to drive too far forward and result in excessive strain on the joint itself and over activation of the upper thigh muscles.
Keep in mind that it is impossible to solely use one small group of muscles while performing lunges. Working multiple muscle groups is beauty of this exercise. Lunges will essentially work all the muscles from the core, to the glutes, thighs, and to the muscles of the lower leg including the foot and ankle. Our emphasis during the exercise needs to pertain to the ratio of how much each group is working, with the overwhelming favorite being the glutes and hips. To reinforce this aspect, focus on bringing the trunk downward without flexing your spine. Another helpful cue is to push your nose forward out and over your front foot. Completing this motion is achieved by flexing through the hips which in turn activates the glutes.
Ideally this exercise can be performed with alternating steps ten times each. Perform two sets for a maximum of three to four times per week. Strengthening through a lunge will provide a stable base and platform for the body to rotate around during your golf swing. A stable core means more power and accuracy, which leads to lower scores. Focusing on good body mechanics with lunging can also prevent excessive twisting of your back, allowing you to stay healthy throughout the season.
If you are interested in learning more exercises and specific techniques to improve your golf game join me for “Golfsmart: Tee Box Warm Up.”