I wish I could say that golf season was still in full swing.
Low temperatures and frost have pretty much put that to bed. Most people can still get out there but it is getting increasingly harder.
The good news is that now we can start to train for the offseason.
A lot of people look at training for golf in a few ways. Some are not sure why golfers need to train and others are surprised that golf training is very similar to the way we train other athletes.
Golfers must train because it makes them more durable and improves their performance. Golfers that train can easily lower their handicaps in a short amount of time. Combine that with some swing coaching and that golfer is going to enjoy a lot of success. Improving strength and mobility in the right places is also going to make a golfer more resistant to the everyday aches and pains.
Training for golf is actually one of the more simple populations to work with. Since it is still a relatively new area we do not have to worry about people’s long held beliefs about how golfers should train.
We see this in football where there is a coach that used to lift a lot and apparently knows more than the strength staff.
Organizations like the Titleist Performance Institute have made our lives even easier. They created an assessment protocol that targets different areas of the body and relates them to the golf swing. We can than take the way the body moves and design a program to improve mobility or stability in the right places.
One of these tests that is notorious for getting the best of people is the single leg bridge hold. The goal of the test is to perform a single leg bridge and hold it for 25 seconds. This would be an ideal time.
Sounds easy enough right? It is except there are a couple of rules. The hips cannot drop at all, the bod cannot twist, and the test is also over if the hamstring or low back start to cramp. These cramps happen quite a bit.
When we did the TPI seminar, there were not many people doing so hot on the SL bridge test and these are allegedly people that are “in the know.” I would assume most of the people in the room would know their way around a weight room and most of them were failing this test.
This is important because there are golfers who do not train at all and we can only imagine how they are going to do on that test.
What it means is that we need to train for glute strength to hit the ball further and stay healthy.
The Glute Bridge
This is the most basic glute exercise. To start lay on your back with your heels near your butt. Push through the floor and raise your hips. Only squeeze your butt to get there and stop before the hamstring and low back start to cramp.
If that is too hard then we can lay on our backs with legs straight and just focus on squeezing each glute.
The first progression on the glute bridge is to march it. At the top of the bridge pick one foot up 6 inches and alternate for 8 each side.
Then we can move into a single leg bridge. Squeeze the glute at the top and hold for 2 seconds. You can hold for longer as you get better at the movement.
We can also add weight to the glute bridge. Chains and barbells work well here. Adding weight does make it a lot harder to use the glutes and must be emphasized.
From their we can elevate into a hip thrust. With the back on a box/bench we extend the hips by squeezing the glutes and this gives a much bigger range of motion than the standard bridge. The addition of weight makes it even more challenging.
The next step is to make it a single leg hip thrust. One foot stays on the ground and we extend the hip by firing the glutes. This will require significantly less weight but helps build stability in the hip.
Keys to mastering glute exercises:
- Actively think about squeezing the muscles of the butt
- If an exercise is felt in the hamstring or low back then go back to #1 or the exercise is too advanced
- Every exercise requires that the hips get completely through
- Go in the progression that I have outlined and stick with an exercise for 2+ weeks. If it is getting easier try holding longer or squeezing harder
Start building some glute strength today and your golf game will be much more satisfying. The glutes are the powerhouse of the swing and a strong set of them will unleash more distance off of the club.