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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Build Your Swing From The Ground Up

A good golf swing requires flexibility and range of motion, but unless your body has the stability to control all of that movement, your swing will be erratic. And stability starts from the ground up, according to Five Iron Fitness trainer Anthony Renna whose White Plains, NY, studio is devoted solely to golf—and regularly attracts outstanding local pros like Craig Thomas, Mike Diffley, and CJ Reeves, not to mention LPGA Futures Tour pro Nanette Hill.

As with all exercise, warm up first with a few minutes of aerobic activity and don’t force your body to do anything that causes pain. Start slow and build up your performance gradually. Renna suggests holding each position through one deep breath, then repeat three to five times in both directions.

Side Rotation

Lie on your side and draw up the knee of your top leg until it’s even with your belly button. Holding it steady with your lower hand, reach as far up and back as you can with your other arm. Keep your lower back stable, but try to touch your shoulder blade to the ground by turning your around your upper spine.


This position is familiar to every yoga practitioner. Brace your elbows directly beneath your shoulders and hold your neck in a neutral position as you raise your body off the ground. Make a straight line from your ears, through your hips, and to your ankles. You’ll build core strength and teach your spine to be stable.

Quad Rotation

Start on your hands and knees, then place one hand on the back of your head and turn until the elbow on that arm is between your other elbow and knee. Holding your lower back stable, rotate until the elbow points to the sky.

Hip Stretch

Notice how each exercise is raising your body farther from the floor? Kneel on one knee with the other foot flat on the floor in front like you were going to stand up. Holding a club with both hands in front of you, rotate in both directions as far as you can without moving your knee or hips. Be sure to move your chest, too, not just your arms. This is a good exercise to fight a pesky sway in your golf swing.

Seated Rotation

You can do this on a chair if you don’t have an exercise ball. Sit with your knees and feet together and hold a club across your chest with crossed arms. Now tilt forward slightly and rotate your shoulders just like you would in a golf swing. Notice how the club tilts, too? That’s the path it would follow to the ball—as long as your lower body stays stable.

Hip Hinge

Standing in an athletic position with your knees slightly bent and your weight on the balls of your feet, hold a club along your back so that there are just three points of contact—your head, your shoulders, and your butt. Now lean forward as if you were addressing a golf ball. This move helps you eliminate rounded shoulders or a swayed back and helps you maintain a strong, neutral spine. You can’t rotate your swing around a noodle.

Torso Separation

This is the golf swing in miniature done on a stable base and rotating around a stable spine. Assume an athletic address position, only hold the club across your chest and shoulders with crossed arms. Leaning forward slightly as if you were going to take a swing, rotate your shoulders as far as you can in both directions without moving your hips or lower body.

See these exercises (and more) in video at www.fiveironfitness.com/wmgg

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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