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Posted on 10-01-2016
THE LONG BALL EXERCISE ROUTINE
Most golfers wish they could hit the ball farther but many do not have the time to devote to a gym membership or protracted workout program. There is a solution; an exercise program consisting of 3 basic maneuvers that focus on the main driver of a swing; the core rotator mucle groups. All you need is a standard size Swiss ball.
The first Swiss Ball exercise has you lying on the ball with the shoulder blades centered at the top of the ball or at 12 o'clock. The lower torso should be parellel to the ground in a plank position with the knees bent 90 dgrees and the feet planted firmly on the ground. Now, straighten both arms and point them at the sky, placing the palms together. From this starting position, it a good aidea to warm-up by stretching the upper body toward the sky and away from the ball. Then squeeze the shoulder baldes together and push back into the ball. Hold this isometric contraction for 10 seconds and perform several of these warm-up repitions. To actually perfrom the Russian twist from this starting position, twist the torso from one side to the other while keeping the pelvis locked and maintaing the starting knee bend and keeping the arms outstretched with palms together.
As you rotate to the right, the ball will of course roll to the left and vice versa. Keep in mind that when you rotate the shoulders to the right more weight will transfer to the right leg and foot but do not allow the left foot to rise up. Throughout the movement keep both feet and heels in contact with the ground. This exercise resembles the Russian Twist maneuver which is traditionally performed from a crunch position without a ball and usually calls for cradling a weight ball or kettlebell.
For the second “long ball” exercise, lie on your back on the ground and place your lower legs on the ball, with the knees bent to 90 degrees. The hips should be fixed firmly to the floor with both arms extended to the side with the palms down to start. Now, apply leg pressure to rotate the hips as far as possible to the right and then left. It is critical to keep the arms and shoulders fixed to the floor.
You should do at least 4 sets of 10 reps for each exercise. During the first two sets, hold the finish position for one second. On the last 2 sets, try to hold your finish for 10 seconds on each.
The final drill is simple but difficult to perform at first. It has been espoused by David Lee, the developer of the Gravity Golf system. This drill has you standing in an address position with or without a light club. Now simply take the right leg off the ground (for a right handed golfer) and practice slow, focused backswings and forward swings. In the beginning you may want to stop at the impact position until you feel comfoertable with a full swing. This one legged swing should be performed in the grass in case you fall over. In fact, there are training videos in which Lee advises that you should allow yourself to fall over if you lose balance. This concept has to do with the breaking down the “protective neurological envelope' that can sabotage balance during the swing. This concept is intriguing but beyond the scope of this article. If you have never tried this before, another way to appreciate the value of this swinging on the front leg only is that it forces you to 'bump' or laterally move the front hip forward to commence the downswing. If you initiate the downswing with the shoulders, you will fall over everytime.
If you have any issues performing these exercises due to lower back or hip pain, then you might consider getting checked by a chiropractor with advanced training in sports injuries. Hopefully you can perform these sets without aggravating a back condition but find that you are functionally limited. For example, you notice during the second exercise that you cannot rotate one hip to the ground as easily as the opposite side. This is another case were an expert in spinal biomechanics can help you to achieve dramatic improvements in your rotational range of motion and strength.
Dr. Grant K. Smith D.C. holds a MS in Sports Medicine and has earned the prestigious Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the NSCA. For an appointment call 251-621-2224
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