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Best Exercises for Your Offseason Workout

December 17, 2014

Exercises to Strengthen Your Core at Home

cycling-79618_640If there’s one area that all golfers can improve during a Minnesota winter, it’s core strength. The muscles in your torso are the most efficient place to generate more speed and torque in your swing, and all of the exercises to strengthen them can be done in the comfort of your home. Throw in adds balance and back support, and exercises to strengthen your core are definitely the best exercises for your offseason workout.

Walk the Plank

2013 Teacher of the Year Eric Chiles prefers plank exercises to traditional sit-ups, which can be bad for your lower back. “A few years ago I was told at a PGA teaching seminar that Major League pitchers were told by their coaches, for every inning they wanted to pitch they should be able to do one full minute of planking,” says Chiles, Director of Instruction at the Chaska Town Course in the summer, who spends the winter teaching the Minnesota Golf Academy. “Have you ever tried to do a 9-minute plank? It’s nearly impossible,” he notes. “We golfers need to protect our backs, so anything you can do to strengthen your core and low back and include rotation in your exercises to make it more like a golf swing the better.” Chiles’ personal regimen includes a few minutes of planks followed by stretching exercises to “keep me healthy and feeling young!”

More Core

Luke Benoit also prefers planks to sit-ups. Recently named one of the Best Young Teachers in America by Golf Digest, Benoit is working on his PhD in Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota. “Planks are much better,” he says. “I also recommend a lot of rotational core stuff to engage the obliques and back more. Medicine ball work is fun and can add some explosive power. Generally isolating the core muscles alone is not as useful for golfers as integrating their core in a compound kinematic movement such as a side arm medicine ball toss.”

Benoit’s favorite medicine ball exercise is to get a 5-10 pound medicine ball and get in golf posture. For one minute, twist your body and the medicine ball as fast as you can to the right and the left. It won’t take very long to get tired.

He also recommends pull-ups and v-ups (leg lifts) for additional core work. “There is a limitless number of good core exercises,” he adds, “even 5-10 minutes a day will help.”

Online Ideas

The PGA of America offers a number of online golf exercise videos via Digital Golf Academy. Membership to this service costs $34.99/year or $4.99/month if you’d like to try it out on a short-term basis. Their free example features PGA instructor David Donatucci’s lesson on core strength and the effect of rotational movement on your swing.

Golf magazines often keep Minnesota golfers company through the long winter months. They also have added more and more fitness tips lately, as the stars we watch on tour follow regimented workout plans away from the course. Here is solid list of beginner, intermediate, and advanced core exercises from Golf Digest. Most can be done at home while you are stuck indoors, while others can be done outdoors during the winter if you wear the proper attire. Rochester’s Mayo Clinic also features a number of exercises for golfers on its website.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

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