This is a guest post from our fitness trainer, Kathy Ekdahl, of PersonalBestPersonalTraining.com
This year’s golf season may be winding down here in the northeast, but it’s not the time to stop working on your golf game. This is the time to begin to physically prepare for next season, or for your golf during the winter if you are lucky enough to travel south.
[amazon_link id=”1592403409″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ][/amazon_link]An often neglected area of golf fitness is balance. Good balance is an absolute necessity for a good golf game, not to mention avoiding nasty falls and subsequent injuries! As we age, our body’s ability to balance and navigate unstable surfaces diminishes, while at the same time, bones are more fragile and healing from injuries becomes more and more difficult. This scenario is a recipe for disaster. The good news is that balance can be improved with simple practice and some core stability training and, with consistency and dedication, you could improve your balance and stability within just several weeks.
It is very easy to begin improving your balance.
- Take a few minutes every day to practice standing on one leg. Challenge yourself- if you start with only 5-10 seconds- continue to practice until you reach 20 seconds, or even 30 seconds. Once you can stand on one leg for 20 seconds or more, try doing this with your eyes closed. This is quite a challenge. Most professional golfers can balance on one leg for 20 seconds with eyes closed! Begin by balancing as you hold on to a secure surface. As you improve your balance, work towards balancing without holding on at all. And, while practicing standing on one leg, always keep your upper body lifted, spine erect and abdominals engaged. Looking down at the ground as you balance will throw your posture off, and good posture is key for good balance and a good golf game.
- For the next stage, I recommend practicing standing balance on unstable surfaces such as an inflatable disc, but using a pillow from your home will work just as well. These techniques will “fire up” your neuromuscular system, and begin to get your muscles thinking and reacting more easily to unstable surfaces- whether they are a pillow, the ice in your driveway, or the swift movement of a golf club.
- Supplement this balance work with some core training such as Bridges for your glutes, “Birddog” for your spinal muscles and Plank Holds for your abdominal and back muscles. I also recommend training the lateral hip muscles, important stabilizers for the hip joint and for balance. Something as simple as standing side leg lifts can work, as well as the “Clamshell” exercise- a side lying exercise, sometimes using an exercise band, in which you rotate the hip open like a “Clamshell”.
Lack of balance is a major risk factor for falls, fractures and serious injuries in our day to day activities. But, if this does not motivate you do balance training, perhaps improving your golf game will. Combine balance training with stretching and core strengthening, and you are on your way to having your best golf season ever!
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Kathy Ekdahl, CSCS, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, is the owner of Personal Best Personal Training in Hudson, Massachusetts. She is a former health club owner and has been teaching Yoga since 1997. Kathy is a TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor and is the Staff Personal Trainer at The International Golf Club, Bolton, MA. Kathy also coaches Women’s Varsity Lacrosse at Hudson High School.