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Advanced Golf Exercise - Picnic Table - Leg Exercise
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Published: February 16, 2014
Lower body training is often overlooked, but it's critical to the one plane swing - or any golf swing for that matter.
Because we directly manipulate the club with our arms and hands, we tend to associate our upper body with controlling the club. That's true in many ways, but if your upper body is going to be generating a strong rotational force, your lower body has to be strong enough to stabilize that force.
You can swing as hard as you want with the upper body, but if the lower body is unstable you'll never play consistently, whether you're using a one plane swing, a two plane swing, or anything else.
The lower body has to be stable. It's the foundation of your golf swing. You can join a gym and get guided workouts to train these muscles if you want to, but if you can find a picnic table, which is usually free, you can get a great workout every morning.
We have two phenomenal exercises to help you develop the lower body so it is capable of giving you explosive power, strength, and stability. These simple exercises will help you develop a strong, stable base that allows you to rotate your upper body as hard as you want in a one plane swing.
These are some advanced moves, so if you're not in the greatest shape yet you'll need to start out with some of the intermediate exercises. There are some that are very similar to this, but a little safer to start out with. This is more advanced, so definitely be careful.
Picnic Table Jumps - Single Leg Training
The first exercise will train each leg individually. Find a picnic table bench that's low enough to allow you to put your foot on the bench without bending your knee more than 90°. Getting a deeper bend will put unnecessary strain on your knee.
A bench that's maybe a foot or so off the ground should allow you to get a 90° bend, or slightly less.
Once you've found a good spot, put one foot up on the bench then leap into the air, throwing your arms and all your weight into the air. Use the strength of that raised leg to provide all the power. Switch legs in the air and come down with the opposite foot on the bench, and repeat the process. Do 10 reps with each leg.
Each time, throw yourself up into the air, exploding as hard as you can off each leg in turn.
This will strengthen each leg individually. If you have a weakness in one leg and you're only doing two-legged exercises you can end up with one leg stronger than the other. Leg extensions or leg presses or squats at the gym are great, but you also need to do lunges or these jumps to work each leg individually.
Particularly in a golf swing, your front leg has to be pretty stable. Most golfers are right handed, but we're rotating into the left leg. If that leg doesn't have enough strength in the hip area and gives way, it's going to cause you to slide. You'll tend to tilt your spine angle back and you can end up hurting your hip and your back.
Having a very stable left leg and being able to rotate around it is critical, so it's important to work each leg individually.
Do your three sets of 10 jumps on each leg, switching legs in the air and giving yourself about a minute between sets.
The amount of rest between sets will depend on your fitness level. The more you limit your rest time the more cardio benefit you'll get from it, but do give yourself at least a minute because it's an explosive exercise.
You're not just going to the gym and doing mellow reps. The whole point of this is to explode into the air and start to work those muscles out aggressively in a different way.
Picnic Table Jumps - Both Legs Together
The next exercise is a little more advanced. You're going to be jumping up onto the picnic table with both legs, so there's obviously the potential for injury.
Be careful and don't attempt this unless you're comfortable doing it. Stay away from this exercise if you're not in great shape, not comfortable with it, or simply not very coordinated.
However, for the advanced player looking to really gain some strength, this is a phenomenal exercise to help strengthen the whole lower body area.
This exercise works both legs together. You're simply going to stand at one end of the picnic table - where there are no benches - and jump up onto the table with both legs. As before, you're looking for full, explosive power. Throw your hands up into the air and use your legs to generate the force.
Land on the table and jump back down to the ground. Do a small hops for rhythm and then bounce back up again. Do three sets of 10.
Strength Provides Stability
The goal of these exercises is to develop explosive power and support in your lower body. As you develop strength in this part of your body you will find that you can support an aggressive rotation with it. These jumps will also help stretch some of these areas, if you're not used to stretching or working them out.
As the muscles that attach to your lower back and around your legs become stronger and loosen up a bit you'll be able to rotate through the shot better, as well as maintaining your spine angle.
Do three sets of 10 of each of these exercises and see how much more support and stability you gain in your lower body.
Checkpoints for Practice
- The upper body provides rotation and power in the Rotary Swing - lower body strength provides a stable base
- Do three sets of 10 of each exercise - use caution and do not attempt if you are not fully comfortable
- Single Leg Jumps - Place one foot on the bench of a picnic table with knee angle of 90° or slightly less
- Use the leg's strength to jump as high as possible, switching feet in the air
- Both Legs Together - Stand at the end where there are no benches and jump onto the table with both legs, then down