During the summer, many women find themselves with extra time on their hands, and look for reasons to 'play' outdoors. Every year, increasingly more women decide to pick up the game of golf. And it has become a well-known fact that golf is a sport based on precision and power.
Besides proper instruction, one of the main concerns with high handicappers or the recreational female golfer is the lack of upper body strength for executing an effective swing. A couple days of playing can sometimes leave the weekend golfer feeling tight
and sore come Monday. Overpowering the ball to make up for lack of driving distance incorporates too many of the body's large muscles, which contributes to inconsistent shots. Remember, it is a game of repetitive precision. The stronger and more balanced
the body, the easier it is to attain consistency.
In general, women lack the upper body strength of men. Of course there are varying degrees of musculature depending on one's fitness level and genetic makeup, but women's strength generally lies in their lower body. The legs and hips are instrumental in the swing, but the less experienced player tries to gather their clubhead speed primarily from their arms and back. Quite often, high-handicap women throw too much of their lower body into the swing, resulting in a sway or slide. This is often due to the lack of core stabilization and upper trunk strength, and is evident when trying to generate extra power.
It is natural for the body to try and gain strength any way it can, but what the occasional golfer fails to realize is that power is created through stabilizing one area while moving another. The key is to add a few golf-specific exercises in your workout routine to create more upper body strength, and to help the 'weekend warrioress' develop a stronger, more stable swing.
Three areas that I find relatively weak in my female clients are their back, triceps and wrists.
The back muscles not only help stabilize your spine and shoulder blades, but also work as a prime mover to uncoil the upper body within the swing. The triceps help accelerate the arms on the downswing and follow-through. While the wrists have many functions, such as hinging the club up on the backswing, they also aid in forearm strength and grip pressure. Keeping strong, healthy wrists are key to avoiding unwanted injury.
I incorporate these three exercises into all of my athlete's programs. Try adding these to your sequence to give your game the extra 'warrioress' edge you're looking for!
Start with cable at shoulder level. Stand opposite hand to arm. Pull cable back with elbow up, twisting only core through the motion. The lower body stays still. Perform up to three sets of 20 reps, then switch sides to increase back strength, rotational flexibility and core stabilization.
Stand as you would in your address position. Grab cable with outside arm. Keep a slight bend in elbow, mimicking downswing motion, and extending arm through impact area. Perform up to three sets with controlled form for 20 reps, then switch sides. Excellent for the triceps and muscles on outside of shoulder.
Hold golf club (may be weighted), keeping elbow at side. Rotate the club comfortably from one side to the other. Relax, then keeping your thumb on the shaft, lift and extend the club and wrist. Perform up to three sets of 10-20 reps each, then switch sides.
Excellent for strengthening wrist rotation and hinge, as well as forearms, decreasing potential for wrist and elbow injury.
Andrea Doddato, is a A.C.E. Certified. C.H.E.K. Golf Biomechanic and Personal Trainer to many PGA, LPGA and Future Tour players and a member of the GFM Advisory Team. To find out more on Andrea, log onto www.golffitnessmagazine.com/advisoryteam.
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