The new, hip thing

By Micah Golden-Grant M.Ed. CPT, Head Trainer at Body Dynamix, Tarzana

A golfer's hips play a crucial role in the efficiency of his or her swing. Tight, stiff glutes often contribute to a weak and inaccurate drive. To strengthen and stretch these muscles, try the Lateral Lunge. This exercise will increase hip mobility, stabilize the lower body and increase both swing power and accuracy. Do three sets of ten Lateral Lunges with each leg, two to three times each week, and say "goodbye" to sliding and swaying when you swing! As an added perk, keeping the glutes strong and flexible will take stress off the lower back and decrease discomfort after long days on the course.

The Start:

The starting position for the Lateral Lunge is quite simple. Just stand straight up with your feet shoulder width apart and face straight ahead. Pull your shoulders back to create proper posture during the exercise.

The Move:

Take a big step directly to the side, making sure your foot lands while still facing directly straight ahead. Upon landing, bend the stepping leg and push your bottom back to keep your weight driving through your heel as opposed to your toes. Make sure to keep your other leg straight in the locked position. Shoulders should be pulled back to keep the back nice and straight throughout the entire move. Sit as deep as you can while maintaining proper form and hold for 1-2 seconds.

The Finish:

Push hard off your bent leg to return all the way back to starting position in just one movement. Proceed to the other leg. Alternate legs throughout the set by doing 10 on each side.

The Modifications:

Need Easier? Eliminate the part where you push back to starting position, and simply shift your weight so that you are lunging the other direction. This turns the exercise into more of a deep stretch.

Need Harder? Add weight (a dumbbell, or kettle bell) and hold it between your legs. ry to lunge deep enough so that the weight touches the ground, while still keeping your back straight, of course. This will add resistance and challenge your flexibility. Another way to advance this exercise is to do all 10 reps on one leg before moving onto the other. ou will find that the burn sets in more quickly this way!

Micah Golden-Grant is the Head Performance Trainer at Body Dynamix Chiropractic and Performance, a sports medicine practice in Tarzana, Calif. A certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning specialist with a Masters Degree in Education, Micah specializes in sport specific performance training for athletes of all ages and all sports. Visit bdxchiro.com for info, contact, blog and more!

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