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GAP Golf Fitness: Rotation exercises to power your golf swing
In this month's GAP Fitness segment, Kevin Neeld of Endeavor Fitness examines how core stablity affects rotation and offers three exercises to improve power.
By Kevin Neeld
Rotational power is fundamental to a high-level golf game. Quite simply, hitting the ball a little farther with each shot can often shave several strokes off your score. Golfers can improve rotational power by following a simple three-step core training progression.
Building Rotational Core Stability
While the majority of golf swing power should be generated (or at least initiated) in the hips, itís important that the core is able to effectively stabilize the spine and ribcage during the swing and to prevent any unwanted movement. A great exercise to build rotational core stability is called the Standing Belly Press IsoHold. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Bend your knees slightly so that your right elbow is even with a cable column, about one foot away from the column.
Interlock your fingers around the cable handle and pull it into the center of your chest. Slowly extend your arms all the way out so that your hands are at shoulder level. You should feel the cable trying to pull you into rotation. Use your core to maintain a neutral position and prevent this rotation. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Dynamic Rotational Stability
The next step to improving rotational core power is to make the exercise a bit more dynamic to challenge your coreís ability to prevent movement. Using the previous exercise, you can do this by extending your arms, holding for a second, then bringing your hands back into your chest, repeating this for 8-10 times per side. You can also use cable chops and lifts, phenomenal exercises made popular by world-renowned physical therapist Gray Cook.
To perform a Standing Cable Lift, stand in the same position as the Standing Belly Press Iso Hold, but set the column to the lowest height, and put a rope at the end instead of a handle. Grab one end of the rope with your left hand, pull the rope all the way through the hole that attaches it to the cable, and grab the rope about eight inches away from your left hand with your right hand.
While maintaining a neutral position, pull the rope in a diagonal pattern from your right hip up to your left shoulder so that your left hand ends up directly next to your left shoulder. Without moving your left hand from this position, use your right hand to continue to push the rope in a diagonal pattern over your left shoulder. Return to the starting position and repeat eight times. Switch sides and repeat.
The Ultimate Rotational Power Exercise
After youíve mastered the ability to maintain a neutral, immovable spine/hip position while putting a rotational stress across your core, youíre ready to take the next step. The final part of the rotational core power progression is using your hips to drive a strong rotation and your core to transfer this energy through to your upper body.
One of the best exercises to improve your bodyís ability to transfer energy through your core is a Standing Rotational Cable Lift.
This is a slight variation of the Standing Cable Lift. Youíll begin in the same position with your left hand on the end of the rope, but youíll need to stand about two feet away from the column and keep your right hand free. Start by rotating your hips toward the cable column and reaching your left hand toward the column. Forcefully rotate your hips away from the column as quickly as possible.
Simultaneously pull with your left hand across your body so that your left hand ends up by your left shoulder. In one motion, grab the rope with your right hand about eight inches away from your left hand and drive the rope over your left shoulder while continuing to rotate your hips away from the column. Reverse the motion, under control, to return to the starting position. Repeat eight times on each side.
To add variety to these movements you can perform them in an upward diagonal, downward diagonal, and horizontal pattern. Incorporating all three patterns will help ensure that your core is well-prepared for power rotational movements in all directions.
Kevin Neeld is the President, COO, and Director of Athletic Development of Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, N.J. Through the application of training and injury prevention techniques, Neeld specializes in guiding athletes to optimal health and performance. For more information on training with Neeld, click here.