Building Control through Core Strength

John Rozelle

Sep 9,2014

Knee to Opposite elbow

The twisting action of the golf swing translates from the lower body through the core into the upper body and the arms. While the hips and core are critical in all athletic movements, in golf the core plays a key role in controlling the swing. For this reason it is important to develop the core with movements that assist in developing control over that twisting movement.
We are going to apply some principles from yoga this month and give you a sequence of holds and movements that you will time by breaths.I’m going to have you start out maintaining the holds for 4 breaths and complete 10 rounds of the whole sequence. I will describe the movement from one side, but obviously you should balance that with the movement on the other side. You can adjust the number of breaths and rounds to find a level that challenges you.

  1. Plank Hold: A proper plank is similar to the top of a push-up. You want a straight line parallel to the ground from your shoulders to your hips. Your shoulders should be extended, so your shoulder blades are not together but pulled apart and out towards the side of your shoulders. Stomach is flexed tight during this and every movement in the sequence.
  2. Knee to Same-Side Elbow: From the plank bring your right knee forward to touch your right elbow and hold. After the appropriate number of breaths bring the leg back into the plank and move the left knee to the left elbow.
  3. Knee to Opposite-Side Elbow: From the plank bring your right knee across to your left elbow. Keep your core flexed. This will cause your back to round a little. That’s OK. Repeat for the other side.

1. Leg inside across stretch: From the plank bring your right leg underneath and across your body, so the outside of your right foot is resting on the ground to the left of your hips. Give a slight twist to the right to stretch your right hip. Repeat for the other side.

1. Plank with side leg hold: From the plank bring your right leg up and out, perpendicular to your hips. Start out with the knee bent and work up to holding the leg straight. Repeat for the other side.

2. Push-ups: Complete 4 push-ups with the hands under the shoulders and the elbows tucked close to the ribs.

3. Windshield Wipers: Laying on your back, arms out to the side with palms down, bring your legs up to a 90 degree angle keeping your feet together. Slowly drop your legs to your left side towards your outstretched hand keeping your shoulders on the ground as best you can. Touch the ground lightly and immediately swing the legs all the way to the right side in the same way, touch the ground lightly before bringing them back to the middle, and then lower your feet to the ground so your body is straight with arms outstretched. Try to only touch the ground lightly, in a controlled fashion at each point. This sequence of movements is called a windshield wiper. Complete 4 of them.

After you’ve completed your work, it’s good to move into a stretch of the muscles. Let’s look at 3 simple stretches that complement this work.

  1. Laying Twist: Laying on your back bring one knee to your chest, then rotate that knee to the opposite side of the body while maintaining both shoulders in contact with the floor.
  2. Pigeon: Place hands and feet on the ground, then bring the outside of the right foot to the ground outside the left hand. Lay the shin on the ground so your right knee is next to your right hand. Extend the left leg back until you are in a seated position. First, look up and lean back gently to stretch the left hip flexor. Second, fold forward over the right shin to stretch the right posterior chain and hip. Hold this position for 1-2 minutes, as it takes a while for these big complex muscle groups to relax.
  3. Cat – Cow: A gentle moving stretch, from your hands and knees round your back and bring your chin to your chest while rocking your hips back towards your heels slightly (cat). Pause. Move in the opposite direction arching the back, pushing the ribs towards the floor and looking up (cow). Cycle the breath with the movements, breathing in during cow and out during cat.