Play | The Core

Play | The Core

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Stay golf fit while we ride this thing out

By Ron Kaspriske

This is a strange time. Mother Nature has temporarily taken away many of the things we need—or love—to do. But exercise doesn’t have to be one of them.

“If you have access to a resistance band and something sturdy to anchor it to, you have all you need to get a quality workout that will give your golf game a boost,” says Andrea Doddato, one of Golf Digest’s 50 Best Fitness Trainers in America. Doddato works with professional and amateur golfers from her home base, Brentwood Country Club in Los Angeles.

Including these one-arm, split-stance rows Doddato is demonstrating, which are great for training the rotational power needed to hit the ball far while controlling the club from start to finish, she put together eight other band exercises designed to keep you golf fit until we see sunnier days. Do them a few times a week, or more, to get maximum results.

“It doesn’t take all that much to give your game a real performance boost.”

FORWARD REACHES TO ROW
This promotes lower-body stability and trains better weight shift when you swing. Standing on one leg with the resistance band pulled taut to your stomach with the opposite side’s arm (above left), bend forward at the hips, letting the elevated leg extend behind you while reaching out with the same side’s arm (above right). Hold for a second, then straighten the posted leg while pulling the band back to your stomach. Do two sets, 15 reps, switch leg and hand positions and repeat.

SQUATS TO PRESSES
This will help you maintain your address posture as you swing—reducing the chance of hitting fat and thin shots. Anchor the resistance band behind you and grab it with one arm, fully extending it above your head (above left) so you feel resistance. Drop into a full squat, letting your arm bend to approximately 45 degrees (above right). You shouldn’t feel extra stress in the lower part of your spine from getting pulled backward. Also, keep your torso from twisting. Do two sets, 15 reps, switch hands and repeat.

ROTATIONAL PUNCHES 
This trains the explosive move of rotating toward the target while pushing off the ground, which generates better clubhead speed as you swing down into the ball. Holding the band with one hand, start in an athletic squatted position (above left). Simultaneously stand up and rotate your body 90 degrees while punching the resistance band into a fully extended position (above right). Unwind in the opposite direction, and lower your body back into the start position. Do two sets of 15 reps, switch hands and repeat in the opposite direction.

CORE PRESSES
This is great for developing non-rotational stability in your swing. You’ll be able to better separate the rotational movements of the upper and lower body to properly sequence movement. Holding the resistance band in a taut position with both hands, stand on one leg while raising the other into a 45-degree bent position in front of you while maintaining balance (above left). Now push the resistance band away from your abdomen and hold it in the extended position for a second (above right) before slowly returning it to the starting pose. Do two sets, 15 reps, switch legs and repeat.

ANTI-ROTATION DEEP SQUATS
This helps several aspects of your swing, most notably hip mobility that leads to improved posture, and core strength that leads to better control of the club. From a standing position, hold the resistance band fully stretched with one arm only (above left). Prevent the band from pulling your torso forward. You want to stay upright. Next, lower into a full squat, with your butt dropping below knee height (above right). Do this as you keep the band at roughly the same length it started. Resist it from twisting your torso toward the anchored point. Do two sets, 15 reps, then switch hands and repeat.

BACKWARD LUNGES
This improves the core and hip strength needed to coil your upper body in the backswing and unleash your lower body in the downswing. Anchoring the band perpendicular to your body and holding it with both hands, arms extended, step back into a lunge while trying to keep the band from pulling your upper body toward its anchored point (above  left). Then step forward with the back foot, and repeat the exercise with the opposite leg (above right). Do two sets, 10 reps, switch the band to the other side of your body, and repeat.

SIDE-PLANKING ROWS
This strengthens the muscles of the mid-back, which are key to rotational power. It also improves shoulder and upper-back function, so you can keep your arms extended through the hitting area, helping you hit solid shots. From a side-plank position with your support elbow directly under its shoulder, hold the resistance band taut in the opposite hand, which should be fully extended in front of your torso (first photo above). As you maintain the plank, pull the band toward your side while preventing your torso from twisting toward the anchored point (second photo above). Do 10 to 20 reps, switch sides, then repeat.

ROTATIONAL PRESSES
This improves your ability to swing the club faster without losing your balance. Get in a split stance with the band anchored behind you and stretched to where you feel resistance in the arm holding it (above left). While maintaining balance in your lower body, press forward with the arm holding the band until it’s fully extended (above right). The power for this movement should come from a forward rotation of the torso (the same direction as the press). You should retract the opposite arm as you perform the rep. Do 20 reps, switch arm and leg positions, and repeat. Then go get a towel—you’re done!

EQUIPMENT
SuperFlex movement and resistance bands, workout handles and clips, superflexfitness.com