Golfers and fans of the game: thank you for taking the time to read this article on the first day of The Masters.
I, for one, know that it is going to be a grind to be even remotely productive today. Good thing I am writing this early on. The snow here in MA is also disappearing after that BS at the beginning of the week.
Training to improve your golf game can be difficult. There are so many things that can go right or wrong on a given day, affecting the outcome.
When we are trying to build a solid swing there are some physical components that we need to possess to have success. This is obviously outside of the technical swing coaching which is not my thing.
Some qualities that help improve the golf swing are grip strength and core stability. With these two physical qualities we can have more control over what happens in the golf swing. This will in turn make it better and repeatable.
Those that lack control when they swing the club are unpredictable. The swing changes each time they tee it up and with no real idea of where the ball is going to go. Low handicappers have better grip strength and core stability than high handicappers.
Core stability is important because it allows for the torso to stay under control while rotating. That can eliminate early extension, reverse spin angle, and other swing faults. Those two characteristics are responsible for a lot of high scores in the game.
One solution that I have is to carry heavy things. Yea, that’s it.
We can use weighted carries to improve core stability, grip strength, total body control, and connective tissue strength. When we walk with something heavy it is hard to hold. There’s the grip strength. The core then needs to fire in order to avoid looking like a belly dancer with dumbbells in our hands. Once the core is activated and going we need to be coordinated enough to walk with the weight.
Here are some different variation to use.
Farmer carries are performed with weights on either side of the body. I have used dumbbells, kettlebells, sand bags, plates, and a hex bar. This is all because I do not have farmer carry handles.
In many of Dan John’s writings he explains that whenever he adds farmer carries to someone’s program, they become stronger. He isn’t exactly sure of the physiological mechanism but he doesn’t care either. That’s good enough for me.
Single Arm Carry
I bet you can’t guess whats going to happen here. With the SA carry you only carry the heavy weight in one hand, while keeping an upright torso. This trains to resist lateral flexion which could help reduce reverse spine angle and a lot of back pain issues.
Single Arm Overhead Carry
An OH carry is going to demand less on the core but train for shoulder stability. Simply hold a kettlebell overhead with the arm extended and walk. Repeat on the other side.
Since the weight is greatly reduced you will have less lateral demands. The key with this carry is to keep the rib cage locked down, reducing the arch in the back. That is a tendency when we go overhead and it takes away from the benefits of the exercise.
A cross carry mixes the last two carries. One heavy dummbell by your side and light kettlebell overhead. Walk for a while, switch, and walk back.
This will create some core demands that will throw you for a loop.
Bonus: Barbell Overhead Carry
This is an option that might not be for everyone. If you cannot reach both arms overhead without the ribs popping up then I would stick with the other variations. You also must be strong enough to safely get the bar up and down from overhead.
Carrying a barbell overhead, with the arms locked out, creates a lot of stability in the core and shoulders. It is challenging to keep the ribs down while also staying overhead. Double benefits on this variation.
But again, you must be able to reach overhead like the picture below.