Progressing the Lunge for Golfers

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I have a prediction for the beginning of this golf season. Brooks Keopka’s fitness routine and training is going to be criticized in the near future. 

He has had two last place finished in his last two starts and is dealing with a wrist injury that no one can allegedly figure out. 

I wrote about this back after he won the US Open. When things are going well, training and fitness are praised. When things do not go so well, it becomes the source of the issue. 

Typically it has to do with injuries, sometimes just performance. So now he is dealing with a wrist issue and the analysts are going to be left to speculate what’s happening. 

Since none of them know anything about fitness, medicine, or human performance I am sure someone will lead the lifting weights defense. 

Let’s just ignore the fact that the golf swing can put the wrist in trouble. Plenty of golfers have dealt with wrist injuries. He is a golfer that trains so we will have to deal with uninformed opinions on his injury. 

Anyway, I really want to talk about some lower body training for golfers, specifically lunge variations.

I think lunge variations are one of the best inclusions golfers can have in a program.

Lower Body Strength

Golfers that want to hit the ball far need to have strong legs. Club head speed is generated from the interaction of the ground and the lower body.

Your arms and core are not responsible for developing power. It starts in the lower body, moves through the core, and then into the arms.

Golfers are well served to get their legs as strong as possible to help their power development.

Lunge variations are also great for hip strength and stability. The glutes have to fire like crazy since there is only one leg doing the work and is naturally unstable.

These muscles are going to be the base of the golf swing.

Mobility

Lunge variations work on hip mobility. This also means that we work on strength in these positions of increased mobility.

Having range of motion is great but control is much more important for golfers. If you have strength and control in the movement then it is going to transfer to the swing.

Some people spend so much time working on range of motion without ever reinforcing it. When they go to use that range in the swing, it isn’t there.

Mobility doesn’t work alone. Be sure to develop strength in increased ranges of motion.

Balance

I think the importance of single leg balance is greatly overestimated for healthy golfers. It is also a bit flawed in most implementation.

 

Golf is not played on one leg. It is definitely not played on a balance pad or ball. Your ability to stand on one leg does not transfer to falling during the swing.

I suck at the single leg balance test. I used to fall off balance when I swung. I worked on better footwork and now don’t fall out of the swing.

If someone struggles with balancing on one leg it is too hard for them. How can we expect them to get better without giving them something easier?

If you do not know calculus, doing more calculus tests isn’t going to help you learn it.

Golfers do need to have stability and control in the lower body. Lunge variations are going to help this out dramatically.

The first time someone does a split squat, they often fall all over the place. Once they get stronger in that pattern, they do not fall over anymore.

Their balance/stability/control has improved and will greatly help the swing.

The following progression of lunges goes from easiest to hard. I like to see people get really strong in one variation before moving onto the next. Some people would do really well just staying in the first one and going as heavy as possible.

Split Squat

Very simply, this is just a lunge without stepping. You can use dumbbells, kettlebells, bars, or even body weight if appropriate.

Reverse Lunge

Forward Lunge

Walking Lunge

Bulgarians or RFEE Split Squats