Getting To The Core Of The Problem With Your Golf Game

By: Sean Cochran

Just about everything you do during golf practice and/or a gameinvolves the core region of your body.

Hitting a long drive off the tee, iron shots, pitch shots andblasting out of the bunker and even putting. Heck, even pickingup the ball in the cup takes strength in your core region.

So, it would make sense then that many of your struggles in golforiginate in the weaknesses in the core of your body.

How do you fix it? Well, there's no magic core strength pill orpatch. It takes some good, old-fashioned flexibility trainingand exercise. Now, I'm not talking about hitting the gym everyday of the week and pumping iron like some of those puffed upbody builders. This is simple stuff you can do right in yourhome or office; just minutes a day, maybe 15 to 20 minutes,that's it.

I already do my sit-ups every day!

Different types of core exercises exist. Many of you areprobably familiar with exercises such as the sit-up, which is anexercise that can be used to train the core. If you have readany of our other articles, read our manual Your Body and YourSwing or watched the DVD, you are well aware of what the wordcore means and its relation to the golf swing.

Let us do a quick review for your benefit and introduce thetypes of core exercises to perform for a better golf swing.

The core is an anatomical region of the body. It can generallybe defined as the region of your body between the hips andchest. It encompasses numerous muscle groups on the front, side,and backside of the body. In general the core consists of themuscles that make up your abdominals, lower back, obliques, andhips.

The core region is important to the golf swing for many reasons.The core is essentially called the "engine" of the body. It isthe area that "drives" the body for most any human movementincluding your golf swing. It is primarily responsible for thecapacities of: balance, stability, and power development withinthe body. For these capacities to occur efficiently it isnecessary to train the core for improved performance.

Core Training for the Golfer

Many of us correlate core training to only the abdominal sectionof the body. In order to develop the core correctly, we musttrain all areas of the core equally. This means to address theobliques, hips, and lower back with the same number of exercisesand repetitions as you do for the commonly trained abdominalregion.

A quick note from experience: More times than not, most golfershave "imbalances" in the core region. This means that certainmuscles or muscle groups are weaker than others. To improve yourperformance on the golf course, you need to have a balanced corefor optimal strength, endurance and power. Keeping this thoughtin mind, many times the lower back region is "weaker" than theabdominals (an imbalanced core). Picture the golfer picking uphis ball from the cup. We've all seen them, creaking as they godown, maybe a quiet groan as if no one hears it. If this is thecase, additional attention/exercises are needed for the lowerback to bring it "up to speed," so to speak, in level with theabdominals.

Moving forward, knowing that we must train the entire core andcreate balance between all the muscles, it is time to discusswhat type of exercises to utilize in training the core region.To develop the core region for golf you will want to performexercises in the following categories: stability (balance),strength, endurance, and power. All four of these categories arenecessary for an optimal swing. Leaving one of the categorieslisted above out of your training program is like building aboat with a hole in it. It won't work!

Let us define the differing training categories of a "golfspecific core program" to help you better understand the purposebehind each category. The categories of core training that areincorporated in golf training are: 1) stability (balance)training, 2) strength training, 3) endurance training, and 4)power training.

Balance and Stability

Stabilization exercises are exercises that give the body theability to have better balance. A large portion of your balancecapability is directly related to the core region of the body.If you are unable to maintain your balance throughout the golfswing, the efficiency of the swing, contact with the ball, andclub head speed will suffer. For example, when you swing yourdriver and are not able to maintain that perfect "finishedposition" of swing, the problem may be related to your balancecapacities throughout the entire swing.

Balance training develops the integration of your neural andmuscular systems, your brain and your body. Improvement in thefunctioning of these two systems of the body and integration ofthese two systems will result in a better swing. Follow thelogic and it will all make sense. If you improve the ability ofyour body to balance, then the ability to maintain balancewithin your golf swing will become easier.

Strength

The golf swing requires that certain body parts remain in astable position while other body parts are moving. To perform apowerful golf swing, the body must have the strength andflexibility to perform these actions simultaneously.

In order to perform the above activity it is required to developthe strength parameters of the core. If you have a weak corethen the ability to maintain a posture, keep a posture, andperform this over a period of time will be compromised. Torepeat, the core region of the body is involved in thestabilization process of the body. To improve this capacity, wemust train the body to be more efficient at stabilizing itselfduring the golf swing. Strength exercises develop and improvethis capacity within your body for the purpose of improving yourgolf swing.

Endurance

The golf swing is a repetitive movement performed by the body.You are doing the same activity over and over. An efficient golfswing and good scores require that you perform the same swing onthe 18th hole as you do on the 1st hole. If you are unable to dothis then the mechanics of your swing will suffer, as will yourscores. To eliminate this situation it is necessary to developthe endurance capacities of the core region. Endurance exercisesallow the body to perform the same activity over and overwithout getting fatigued. As a result of the golf swing being arepetitive athletic movement, endurance training will enhancethe ability to maintain your optimal swing mechanics over anextended period of time.

Power Exercises are geared towards improving the power outputsof the body. Training for power gives you the opportunity to hitthe ball farther. The core region of the body is directlyrelated to torque development in the golf swing. Power can alsobe defined as torque (rotational power) when discussing the golfswing. In order to create high amounts of club head speed, yourbody has to create large amounts of torque. If you want tocreate greater power in your golf swing you must include powerexercises in your core training program.

If you are really serious about improving your game, start atthe core of the problem!

In this article we have described the core and how to train thecore specifically for the improvement of your golf game. A fewpoints to keep in mind from this article: 1) the core is aregion of the body that includes all muscles from your hips toyour chest, 2) you must develop the capacities of stability,strength, endurance, and power within the core for a benefit inyour game, and 3) the development of the core must be balancedin terms of all muscles involved and in all the trainingcomponents (equal amounts of stability, strength, endurance, andpower) within the core

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