Golfers believe in balance.
I would actually be really interested to find the root of the golfer’s obsession with balance. Balance is just a part of the equation along with strength, mobility, and power.
Yet, the common golfer will treat poor balance as if it is a disease. Lots of people suck at balancing. It just isn’t a thing that we practice all that much.
Anyone that is any good at balancing on one leg practices it. It really is that simple. Training for balance just requires you to do it.
How Should we Train Balance
Balance training can be as simple as standing on one leg. This is the simplest form of balancing. It is also where everyone should start.
In the TPI golf assessment we test the single leg balance with the eyes closed. A tour professional usually tests out at 16+ seconds. I think the first time I did one of my legs got to 3 seconds. 3! That is awful.
If you are like me and can barely pull this off then that is your starting point. Stand on one leg with your eyes open and if you can hold that for a while close them. When you hit 16+ seconds you can make things more complicated.
In the past with some post rehab athletes I have added in throwing, catching, and passing a football or basketball to add some variation.
The best way to incorporate balance training into a program is to add in unilateral or single leg exercises. The following is not an end all list but they are all helpful.
Single Leg RDL
Reverse Lunge to SLB
OK, this is way more advanced than the exercises. These are much more dynamic movements and require a high level of lower body stability and strength.
Being able to decelerate your body on one leg will make the single leg balance test seem like a breeze.
When landing a single leg hop make sure that you:
- sink the hips
- bend the knee
- land softly
- prevent any motion other than absorbing the jump
Single Leg Hop/ Linear Bound
SL Hop/ Linear Bound- 2 count
What About Balance Pads and BOSU Balls?
Personally, I am not a fan of unstable surface training. I know that it reduces total force production when compared to stable surfaces. Unstable surfaces are also going to reduce the impact of the muscles we want trained by creating co contraction of all muscles surrounding the joint. This is something we want in core stability training and rehab. I am leaving it out of training.
I also think that the exercises performed on unstable surfaces are often too hard and ineffective. For example, someone would get much more benefit from performing a step up onto a box instead of a ball. It is also easier for them to master.
My final concern with those implements is that golf is not played on unstable surface. The ground does not react to the golfer in the way that a balance pad does. That throws the specificity argument out of the window.
Stick to the type of exercises that I have listed above and your balance will improve while getting stronger.
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