Strong legs = Better golf
The golf swing uses all areas of the body and requires both mobility and strength throughout the whole kinetic chain from the feet to the hands. The legs are a fundamental part of the golf swing, assisting in the generation and delivery of force and power to the golf club. There are many exercises that can help to develop leg strength. This month we are looking at one in particular called the ‘squat’.
How it benefits your body
Strong legs are important for staying mobile and active and performing a huge variety of day-to-day activities including sitting, walking and stairs. Squats are a fantastic exercise for building strength throughout the legs (hamstrings, quads, gluts and calves). They also help to improve strength in your core and upper body, whilst developing stability and balance. In addition, they promote and improve mobility in several areas of the body (ankles, hips, thoracic spine). All of these factors are important for an efficient golf swing.
How it benefits your golf game
Numerous studies show a strong correlation between strength/strength training and improved golf performance plus increased club head speed.
The force put into the club head comes from our ability to generate ground reaction forces from the floor up, through the body and into the club via the hands. Strong and stable legs are able to apply more force to the ground and therefore generate more ground reaction forces that can be directed to the club head. Squats are part of a number of exercises that help to build a strong and stable foundation for the golf swing
They can be done as part of your general fitness training as well as in your warm up. These are the same type of exercises that the European Tour professionals do on Tour.
How to do a Squat
The squat is an exercise that should be part of nearly everyone’s training. It is relatively easy to perform and in its simplest form can be done anywhere with no equipment. There are also numerous progressions with a variety of pieces of equipment that can increase the difficulty.
- Stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart
- Keep your back in a neutral position and aim to keep your chest up rather than dropping forward as you go down
- Slowly bend at the hips, knees and ankles until your thighs get to horizontal with the floor. Breathe in as you lower and breath out as you push back up to standing.
The below photos show the squat initially being performed with a seat or box to use as a point to touch lightly as you go down (but not rest fully on). You can start with a high chair/box and lower it as you improve, with the aim of progressing to a level where your thighs get to horizontal with the floor. This can be made harder by putting your hands behind your head, but make sure to keep your weight through the mid-foot during the whole movement and don’t fall forward onto the front of your feet/toes. A further progression is by doing the squats without anything behind you. Once you become safe and proficient at the movement pattern with just bodyweight, you can look to add weight through pieces of equipment like dumbbells, kettle bells and a bar.
European Tour Performance Institute & Physio Unit