Developing Power for Golf, Part I: Lower Body Strength
The world of golf now has a heavy focus on power and hitting the ball as far as possible. The transformation of Bryson DeChambeau proves how important building up strength is to transfer over to power in the golf swing. The next couple of articles, I will get into upper body strength and grip/forearm strength, but this article will focus on lower body strength to aid power in the golf swing. The lower body is extremely important to the golf swing for using force from the ground up, maintaining an athletic position from start to finish, and using its strength to translate into power for the repetitive motion of the golf swing. Often times, many individuals do not know where to start to develop strength in the lower body. This article will provide guidance on how to build up lower body strength, maintain that strength, and turn that strength into power for the golf swing.
The main idea for lower body strength is to develop a baseline that is a starting point. Some of the exercises will be bilateral, or using both legs. Some of the exercises will be unilateral, or using just the left leg or just the right leg. These exercises will hopefully aid improvements in lower body strength, balance for one or both legs, and working in a variety of movement planes/patterns to cater to the golf swing. All of the exercises shown in this article will be basic and have guidance on how to do the exercises safely or with solid technique. The goal is to develop a routine that will improve lower body strength over the next few weeks while helping to improve an individual’s golf game. I want to help as many individuals as possible reach their potential to take strokes off their golf game, getting stronger off the golf course, and continuing to improve their quality of life/health.
Here are six exercises for lower body strength and power development:
Both Legs/Bilateral Movements
1) Deadlift (Trap Bar Deadlift shown)
Key Points: Start with the feet shoulder width apart and bend the knees next while grabbing the handles of the bar. Bring the chest towards the floor with the head/neck in a comfortable position while having the hips and the knees at the same height. Push from the floor keeping tension from the chest down to lift the bar towards the waist standing tall at the top. Slowly lower the chest and hips while bending the knees taking the bar back to the ground. Repeat the sequence for the next several repetitions.
2) Squats (Dumbbell Goblet Squat shown)
Key Points: Start with the feet shoulder width apart standing tall holding onto the dumbbell at chest height. Start to descend towards the floor with a slightly forward chest/trunk and bending at the hips along with knees until you reach full range of motion. Go back up towards the top and stand tall at the finish. Repeat the sequence for the next several repetitions.
3) Bridge (Two Leg Bridge shown)
Key Points: Lay flat on your back using a comfortable surface with knees bent and feet flat on the surface while keeping arms at your side. Slowly lift the buttocks off the mat towards the ceiling keeping the knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Go to a comfortable range of motion at the top then slowly lower the buttocks down to the surface. Repeat the sequence for the next several repetitions.
Single Leg/Unilateral Movements
4) Split Squats (Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat shown)
Key Points: Start with one foot/leg in front of the body with a slightly bent knee and foot on the ground. The other leg will be elevated on a bench, chair, or other raised surface behind the body. Start to drop the body towards the floor bending both knees more the farther you go down while keeping the front foot flat on the ground while keeping the chest/trunk slightly forward. Once at a comfortable range of motion, head back up to the start position. Repeat the sequences for the next several repetitions on both legs.
5) Single Leg Deadlift
Key Points: Start with the feet shoulder width apart and standing tall. Take one leg off the floor pushing it back away from the body while bending the knee on the front leg and keeping the foot on the ground. Bring the chest/trunk towards the ground closely to the same height as the hips. Bring the back leg towards the other leg to return to the start position. Repeat the sequence for the next several repetitions on both legs.
6) Forward Lunge
Key Points: Start with the feet shoulder width apart and standing tall. Take one leg and bring it forward bending at the knee along with the hip. Keep the other leg stationary with slight knee bend and toes pointed down along with slight forward lean of the trunk. Bring the front leg back to the start position. Repeat the sequence for the next several repetitions.
There are many variations of all six of these exercises, so do not hesitate to stop in for further training and performance of lower body strength to develop a plan for improvements in your golf game.
-Andrew Roberts, PTA, CSCS, TPI Level 1