Here’s a quick and easy way to fire up your golf muscles, and improve your strength and flexibility.
Most golf professionals realise the importance of having a flexibility, strengthening and conditioning program. These days, a lot of tour pros use a Swiss ball as part of their daily workout. I suspect that nearly every tour player has a Swiss ball in his home. And, you’ll see them in all of the medical facilities on tour. If top players are using Swiss balls to work out, then there’s every reason that you could benefit, too.
If used correctly, a Swiss ball will allow you to build up your postural control. It can also be used to get extra flexibility and core stability. It’s a moving sphere, so it requires you to do ‘balance re-education’. From a practical point of view, it’s light so it can be carried around and used anytime, anywhere, like in a locker room or office.
However, there are certain requirements with Swiss balls that many people don’t realise. First, you’ve got to use the ball dynamically to improve your posture. Just because you sit on a Swiss ball doesn’t mean it’s going to help – many people actually slump into bad postures. The other big mistake is to buy the wrong sized Swiss ball. If it’s too small or big, you’re likely to slump or compensate. It’s important to be measured so that your legs aren’t hanging off the ball and to prevent you from leaning too far forward. Also ensure the ball retains its pressure because a deflated ball can lead to soft posture as well.
I like to think of a Swiss ball workout as an intrinsic challenge that you give yourself every day, rather than just rolling around on it with no purpose. My drills are a little different from generic Swiss ball workouts because I arrange them in a golf-specific sequence. It’s a bit like the gears on your car. I want to make sure that you’re ‘layering up’ your skill and motor control as you do these ‘tasks’, especially before a round of golf. If you use the last exercise first, then you won’t get as much control as if you do them in the correct sequence.
This program takes some time to build up from level 1 to level 7. So contact your local physiotherapist if you experience sharp pain or difficulty with any of the exercises. But I guarantee your golf will benefit from the workout. You’ll see the relevance in the golf swing and it will allow your golf muscles to ‘fire’.
I firmly believe the Swiss ball can revolutionise the way we prepare specifically for golf. If used correctly, it allows you to build postural control and gain extra flexibility and core stability.
My skill-graduated exercises are what I call ‘primal’ challenges. Your muscle groups perform different functions in a sequence rather than just a solitary action. You really have to concentrate throughout your body to keep good form through the chain. I guarantee the workout will talk to you. In other words, you’ll see relevance to the golf swing with regard to your set-up and lower-body support. You’ll feel the correct muscles ‘fire’ through the chain if you’re doing them correctly. Your posture should improve, your lower base should stay stronger and you’ll be able to sequence the right muscles at the right time.
The beauty of this sequential warm-up routine is that it allows you to measure your feels and tolerances every day. You can gauge your quality of movement for every exercise (say, with a mark out of 10). You can measure how quickly you fatigued on each exercise. And, finally, you can understand how each exercise relates to the golf swing. Since your energy levels vary, they’re unique exercises that you can use to monitor your body from day to day.
The players I’ve trained see immediate relevance. The secret is not to overdo it. You’ve got to learn how much you can handle on a particular day. Some days will be better than others. So it’s not about doing hundreds of repetitions or 10 times 10. It’s about doing what you can handle and understanding your body from inside out.