While the golf swing uses many different muscle groups, there are some more important than others. Some say the legs are vital for good hitting, yet trick-shot artists hit fantastic shots off their knees with the minimum of leg action.
Many believe the left upper arm tricep is responsible for pulling the club down in the plane, while others believe that the hands play a vital role.
But nearly all pros agree that the core muscles or stomach muscles are vital in building a swing that maximizes power and accuracy.
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The importance of the Golf Core Muscles
The easiest way of conveying the importance of the core muscles is to look at what would happen during the swing if the core and stomach muscles were weaker than they should be.
On the backswing, as the upper body turns, it is the core muscles that resist and create torque.
Without this ability to resist and contain the stress, the right leg would pop out and straighten; the right hip would be dragged up and to the right, which would result in the bottom of the spine also moving to the right resulting in a reverse pivot or tilt.
Golf Core Muscles on the Downswing
If a golfer can swing slowly enough on the backswing, it is much easier to contain the stress and has resistance at the top of the backswing.
However, strong stomach muscles are even more important on the downswing as their ability to brace against the unwinding body allows centrifugal force to promote a natural, free release of the club.
Without the ability to brace the body and hit against the left side, the release may not happen in time, resulting in a block or slice.
- Imagine a boxer about to throw a punch with the right hand.
- As the right elbow starts to straighten, imagine if the left side of the body popped open, not allowing anything to hit against – the right arm would never straighten fully, and the punch would never be thrown with any power.
- To release power from the right side, the left side of the body needs to be braced.
- Effective bracing comes from the core or tummy muscles being strong enough to contain the stress and not buckle as centrifugal force kicks in.
How to Train the Core Muscles
- Even the simplest type of twisting exercise helps build strong core muscles.
- Stand upright with arms outstretched. Looking straight ahead, start to turn back and forward, letting the momentum build up gradually.
- At the peak of the turn, make sure the tummy muscles contain the turn and do not buckle in any way. Carried out correctly, the spine will always stay in the vertical position.
- When confident that the tummy muscles are strong enough to resist correctly, bend forward, simulating the golf stance, and continue to turn back and forward, resisting in the same way.