Stability and balance – there’s a difference
A common misuse of fitness terminology I often hear and read is when the terms “balance” and “stability” are referenced interchangeably as if they were synonyms. Balance and stability are not synonyms in the dictionary, and they are not synonyms in regard to exercise and training.
“You can’t shoot a cannon from a canoe”
Although the canoe may be balanced with a cannon in it, it surely doesn’t have the stability to maintain its position upon firing. The body also needs a stable supportive base to produce force in a controlled manner.
If you are more stable, you can move weight more efficiently. Whether that weight is a dumb bell or your own bodyweight is irrelevant – it will get you closer to your goals regardless of what they are.
For example if you wanted to shoot an arrow with a bow, you would need to keep the bow and arrow stable as you pulled the string back—you would need to have good balance, strength, and local muscular endurance.
This is the same principal involved in creating a powerful golf swing. The ability to keep one part of the body secure (stable) while stretching and contracting adjacent segments allows us to generate speed and maintain a consistent posture throughout the golf swing.
The Gluteus Maximus – king of the golf swing
Within the swing the lower body is very important in providing that stability. The Gluteus Maximus (Glute Max), which is the largest of the buttock muscles, is the “king of the golf swing”. This is a secret that PGA pros use for developing serious stability and consistency.
This muscle is extremely important in maintaining lower body stability throughout a single golf swing or throughout a full four-day PGA event.
The Glute Max is “king of the golf swing” because it acts as a shock absorber for your lower body and provides stability for your upper body throughout the swing.
When you picture a good golf setup the player should look athletic and stable. Without maintaining this stable athletic posture you can’t attain a repeatable and consistent swing or generate power from the ground.
Lack of glute strength simply results in a weak over the top swing with zero consistency, therefore it is very important to have this muscle group functioning at its optimal level in order to create a strong, repeatable and consistent swing.
Strengthening your Gluteus Maximus
There is one base exercise that I recommend to all my players for developing Gluteus Maximus strength. The glut drill is called the “Bridge”. This is one of the most important golf exercises and should be a staple in your golf fitness routine.
- Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet on the ground.
- Cross your arms across your chest and then raise your hips until you have created a level “bridge” with your thighs and torso.
- Perform 3 sets of 10 reps each.
- Hold each repetition for 2 seconds as the Glutes are active for roughly 2 seconds per golf swing.
When performing the bridge the further your heels are away from your bottom the more you will use your hamstrings instead of the Glutes, so make sure they are appropriately positioned.
When beginning, perform with both legs at once, and as you improve, work your way towards single leg bridges as per the photo and eventually perform with heels on a Swiss ball.
For more information, visit www.perthgolfphysio.com, and if you have health concerns, please consult a medical professional before commencing any physical activity.