One thing that I have worked on a lot with my golf swing this year is staying balanced in my swing.
Golfers need to be able to stay balanced to hit the ball well. Falling out of a swing requires great hand eye coordination to hit the ball remotely OK.
There is a huge misunderstanding when this idea comes to fitness. To improve balance in the golf swing we need motor control, mobility, and stability.
Not one of those qualities includes balancing on one leg. Standing on one leg is just one way to improve balance and it might not be the best choice for golfers. We can improve balance through more effective means.
Motor control issues are solved through a good golf professional. You might just not know how to stay balanced in the swing. I didn’t.
I used to roll over my back foot on the back swing and then spin my front foot out of control on the downswing. This had nothing to do with any fitness quality. I had to learn the footwork of the swing.
If you do not first address motor control (aka your swing), no amount of balance work is going to help you.
Balance is really just stability, can you resist movement? Balancing on one leg is just one way to create stability but it might actually be too hard for most people to accomplish. We use a single leg balance test in our golf assessments that rarely gets passed.
The tour standard for balancing on one leg is 16-20 seconds. Most people fall over around 3-5 seconds. That means that balancing on one leg is too difficult or the motor control has not been learned yet.
The best way to become more stable is to improve on strength. Single leg strength exercises are great for improving stability and strength.
Mobility issues can disguise themselves as balance problems. You may lack hip mobility which makes it difficult to get into your backswing. It may appear that you are falling back in the swing because you lack balance but the hips are to blame.
This can happen at any mobile joint. An immobile ankle is going to be hard to balance on.
Just because a golfer lacks balance in their swing should they automatically go to single leg balance work. Instead, golfers should combine single leg strength training with good instruction. That way stability and motor control are directly addressed. Mobility will also benefit from this strategy.
5 Single Leg Strength Exercises that Golfers should do are as follows. The real interesting part is that the exercises i recommend do involve a single leg balance component but they are backed with a strength component. Training both of them together is much more worth your time.
Bulgarian Split Squat
This is easily one of the hardest single leg exercises that you can do. This means that the strength gains from it are going to really good. Start light or even with your back foot on the ground and work your way up on this one. I promise that any golfer that is good at this exercise will not struggle with strength.
Single Leg Squat
The SL squat only gives you one point of contact with the ground. You get single leg balance and strength at the same time. This is a great complement to the Bulgarian for creating single leg strength.
Single Leg RDL
The single leg RDL is one of the best direct hamstring exercises done on one leg. It also helps with hip mobility in a hinge pattern.
I really like the Bowler Squat for single leg strength, stability, and hip mobility. This little rotation that comes into it is great for helping with a golfer’s rotation.
The lateral lunge is a great lower body exercise for getting some side to side strength. This is an under-trained plane of movement.