I recently attended a strength and conditioning session with my son, as part of his England Golf training programme and it was interesting to see, that although he works out in the gym regularly, his core strength was lacking.

Later that week I then read an article by a coach who trains several players on the LPGA Tour and college teams (both boys and girls) in the USA, who had also identified a weakness in core strength for many golfers considered to be in peak condition. Core strength is important for all golfers, regardless of age or ability.

Why is core strength so important in golf?

  • Your core strength produces power, stability and transfer of energy during your swing mechanics
  • Your core is essential for hitting long drives off the tee
  • It provides improved balance throughout your swing bringing consistency to the shots made
  • It protects your back from injuries

How can I assess my core strength?

Before attempting the test, please ensure you have no injuries or medical problems by seeking medical advice.

You will need a flat area and a watch.  Begin by setting up in the plank position as pictured above. Making sure you are parallel to the ground with your torso straight and rigid, resting your weight on your toes and forearms. There should be no sagging or bending.

  1. Position the watch or clock where you can easily see it.
  2. Assume the plank position with your elbows on the ground.
    1. Hold for 60 seconds.
  3. Lift your right arm off the ground.
    1. Hold for 15 seconds.
  4. Return your right arm to the ground and lift the left arm off the ground.
    1. Hold for 15 seconds.
  5. Return your left arm to the ground and lift the right leg off the ground.
    1. Hold for 15 seconds.
  6. Return your right leg to the ground and lift the left leg off the ground.
    1. Hold for 15 seconds.
  7. Lift your left leg and right arm off the ground.
    1. Hold for 15 seconds.
  8. Return your left leg and right arm to the ground.
  9. Lift your right leg and left arm off the ground.
    1. Hold for 15 seconds.
  10. Return to the plank exercise position (elbows on the ground).
    1. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

If you are able to complete the test fully, you have good core strength.

Bent Knee Back Hold

How can I improve my core strength?

Ideally seek a strength and conditioning coach to work with to develop a tailored programme for you. These exercises will however, improve your core strength

At home with no equipment

Bent Knee Back Hold: Lay with your back flat on the floor, knees bent and feet together. Elevate your hips off the floor inline with your knees and shoulders. Do not arch your lower back or allow hips to sag. Squeeze your glutes and hold for 30-60 seconds

In the gym

Swiss Ball Table Top

Place head and shoulders on the top of the ball with feet shoulder width apart on the floor. Elevate the hips to a horizontal position in line with your knees and shoulders. Place your hands on both hips. Extend the lower left leg outward from the knee until its straight, hold this position for 15-20 seconds and return leg back to starting position shown above. Repeat for each leg doing 15 repetitions on each

Standing cable chops

This exercise can be done with cables or using resistance rubber bands. This is a great exercise that replicates the golf swing, one that I advocate and have been using with amazing results. Grasp the rope or band similar to golf grip, placing feet slightly wider than shoulder width, knees bent and torso upright, the same stance as you would use in golf. Bracing your core muscles pull the arms downward (or upward depending on the exercise) following the swing movement in golf, rotating as you go. Perform 8 reps on each side for each chop.

These are just a flavour of the exercises you can use to improve your core strength. Give it a whirl, I know I’ve been impressed with the additional yardage (40-50 yards)I’ve experienced on my drives.

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