In the final
installment of our three part series of essential exercises for golfers, we conclude
with the upper body. Upper body strength is a hugely important aspect to golf
and can help take your game to the next level. Pound Ridge Golf Club plays at
7,165 from the back tees, so these techniques will help you maximize your swing
and achieve major distance on the fairway.
Let’s get started:
One-Arm Chest Press on Stability Ball
Try this advanced motion on a stability ball, or, for beginners, a bench or a stable surface.
Sitting upright on the ball with your knees / hips at 90-degrees, grasp the dumbbell with both hands, roll out into position, and slowly lower your body until you feel your head on the ball. Move your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your hips by contracting your glutes.
From there, extend your arms, release one hand and rotate your wrist so the dumbbell is perpendicular to your body. The hand holding the weight should be “stacked” above that shoulder which also allows you to rest, if needed.
Next, lower the dumbbell and allow your elbow to go wide, keeping your forearm vertical with the hand and weight above your elbow – while keeping your shoulders and torso parallel to the floor. When the elbow gets to 90 degrees, exhale as you press up to start position.
You’ll feel this exercise in your glutes and core. Keep your glutes tight the whole time and prevent any lateral shift on the ball.
One-Arm One-Leg Row
The goal of this advanced exercise is to keep your head and shoulders parallel to the ground at all times, your back flat and core tightened.
Using a knee-height chair, set up in the T-position as shown. Keeping your standing leg slightly bent, reach back with the up leg, with hips parallel to the floor. Take a breath in, then exhale as you pull the weight towards your hip. Return to starting position.
You will feel your glutes firing in the standing leg to stabilize the body. Your “down” arm should stabilize the upper body and will take some of the weight. The bridge formed between those two grounded points is similar to the “X”-Factor in the golf swing.
Stability Ball Push Up
Kneel in front of a stability ball and place your hands wide on the ball with your fingers pointing down to the floor. From there, extend your arms and legs and make a plank position on the ball (tip: the wider your feet the more stable and easier the exercise).
Keeping this neutral posture position, inhale as you lower your body until lightly touching your chest to the ball. Exhale and push through the ball to the start position (if you find this difficult, lean the ball against a wall).
Square Stance Rotating Row
Like the One-Arm One-Leg Row, this is an advanced exercise, so paying attention to your body is a must. Practice the move without weight first to ensure you have adequate mobility in your spine and that you can stabilize your lower body as you rotate your upper.
Place your feet in a squat stance (shoulder-width apart with toes out slightly, akin to the driver stance). Brace your core and pick up a kettlebell or a dumbbell. Hinging at the hips with knees bent and back flat, bend forward so that your body is angled 45-degrees from standing. Inhale and allow the weight to lower towards the floor with your shoulders turning slightly.
Next, pull the weight towards your hip as you exhale, allowing your shoulders to rotate around your spine angle. You should not be swaying; keep your head stationary throughout the exercise.
YTWL Shoulder Series
Beginners should start with an incline bench before progressing to the stability ball. Start with a moderate weight that allows full-range of motion for all exercises, even if it’s just the weight of your arms.
To get in position with a bench (beginners), ground your feet on either side and lie face-down, where your chin is past the top edge of the bench. You are using the bench to support your body during the exercise; as you improve you can engage your back muscles so you feel the rear of your body contracting to hold position. From there, progress to a stability ball (the larger the easier).
To get in position for the stability ball (advanced), wedge your feet against a wall and place the ball below your navel with the dumbbells out in front of the ball. Pick up the dumbbells and contract the muscles in your back and glutes by lifting up your upper body, making your body a straight line. You want to feel like you are pushing your hips into the ball at all times.
Maintain the same body position through the set. The goal is to complete all four without rest in between. Important note: keep your neck neutral – to do this, keep your chin and eyes down to the floor so the muscles around your shoulders can work efficiently.
The Y: From the above stated position, rotate your wrists so the palms are facing in (thumbs up). Inhale. Then as you exhale, brace your core and lift your arms forward in a “Y” shape as high as you can, keeping arms straight and thumbs up. Lower slowly back to start as you inhale and repeat.
The T: Turn your wrists to thumbs out (palms forward/up) with arms straight. Inhale, brace your core and as you exhale lift the weights sideways so your arms make a “T” shape to your body. Repeat.
The W: Rotate your wrists to palms up and bend your elbows, bringing them up to the side of your ribs. You keep your elbows bent to about 45 degrees and the idea is to keep your wrists straight and rotate at your shoulder so the hands move around towards the sky. Move with full range of motion at the shoulder while keeping your elbow in place. Exhale as you lift, inhale as you slowly lower.
The L: This is a combination of the T and W. Palms stay towards your feet. For this you lift your arms sideways bending to 90 degrees. From there you rotate your hands up keeping the 90 degree (L shape) angle, do not rotate your wrists. Exhale as you lift, inhale as you slowly lower.
These articles are for informational purposes only, and William Brett or Pound Ridge Golf Club cannot be held responsible for any incident that occurs without direct supervision. Before starting an exercise regimen, make sure you are cleared for exercise by your doctor. If you experience pain during any part of any exercise, refer to a medical practitioner and resolve the issue before continuing.
William Brett is a good friend of Pound Ridge Golf Club and TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor who works with golfers of all ages and abilities. An avid, single digit handicap based in Manhattan, Will conducts golf fitness evaluations on location, at your home, gym or even on the golf course. With data he gathers (which is compared to PGA averages), golfers receive a fitness handicap. Also, the results from the evaluation identify any weaknesses that can cause swing faults. Through this information Will is able to design custom golf fitness programs catered to the individual, making them stronger, more flexible and a better golfer.