If you’re an adult reading this, can you imagine your body being completely different 6 months from now? I’m not talking about packing on a few pounds; I’m talking about gaining 3-5 inches in height, dealing with those long, gangly teenager arms, and having a center of gravity that’s constantly changing as you get taller.
Most adults have forgotten what it’s like to be 10, 13, or 16 years old. The sheer amount of change happening to our bodies during our teenage years can make it difficult to master certain skills and sports. Golf is no different. Because balance and form are so important to a golf swing, younger players often find themselves having to relearn techniques to adapt to their changing body.
Specializing Too Early
When we talk about specializing, we’re talking about focusing on a single sport and nothing else. This is relatively common with gymnastics and swimming; to compete at a professional level, most athletes need to start early and focus only on that sport. This is partly because most professional gymnasts and swimmers careers will be over by the time they hit their 30’s, but it's also because those types of sports require a crazy amount of strength and endurance. Young athletes are generally stronger, more nimble and less prone to injuries than older athletes.
The problem with specializing too early is not properly developing other important muscle groups, thereby increasing injury risk. Someone who spends a lot of time in the water will not be as well equipped to play basketball because that sport requires different muscles to perform in a different way. When you talk to PGA tour professionals, many were multi-sport athletes before gravitating toward golf later in life.
Now, that’s not to say kids can’t start their golf training early. For those wanting to become professionals, the training should start early because continual improvement is necessary for junior golfers to succeed in today’s ultra-competitive junior golf landscape. However, the point is to not limit themselves by neglecting other physical activities, just because they don’t relate to golf directly.
5 Junior Golf Exercises
We work with many junior golfers and our primary goal is to make them more aware of their own body and build it in such a way that it will support whatever their goals may be. -- whether that’s to play golf for fun, or try to make it professionally. Here are 5 training exercises junior golfers can do to continue improving their golf fitness, balance, technique and biomechanics, even while dealing with all of the changes adolescence subjects their bodies to.
1. Hip Raise on Exercise Ball
The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the core and hip muscles. It improves your core stability and allows your body to handle the shockwave of energy being released during a golf swing. For this exercise, you’ll need an exercise ball.
- Lie on your back with your calves on top of the ball.
- Squeeze your glutes and raise your hips.
- Bend your knees to roll the ball toward you.
- Straighten your legs to roll the ball back, then lower your body to the floor.
- Raise your body back up.
Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
2. Golfers’ Air Squat
Like a regular squat, it’s designed to strengthen your legs and build endurance. Your legs play a more significant role in your golf swing than you may think. The golfers’ air squat is a little bit different than a normal squat in that you’ll tuck in your elbows to the front. This mimics the same balancing requirements when performing a golf swing.
To perform the exercise
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your spine at address position.
- Bring your hands up to your face and rest them on the side of your head.
- Point your elbows forward.
- In a controlled fashion, bend your knees to 90 degrees (don’t go further down).
- Keep your spine in golf posture and your arms in the same position.
- Come back up.
Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
3. Side Twist with Resistance Bands
As you can see in the image above, the whole purpose of this exercise is to imitate the golf swing. By using resistance bands, we’re strengthening all of the core muscles involved in this movement while still maintaining flexibility.
To perform this exercise, you’ll need bi-lateral resistance bands and an anchor to connect it to.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Grab hold of the handles and step backwards. The more you stretch the band, the harder it will be to perform the exercise.
- In a controlled motion, move both hands to one side, rotating your upper body as if performing a golf swing.
- Return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise on the opposite side.
Do 3 sets of 10-12 rotations per side.
4. Golfers’ Twist
Similar to the Side Twist with Resistance Bands exercise in number 3, this exercise is designed to improve balance and form. Without balance, a junior golfer will have far less control over their golf swing.
To perform this exercise
- Stand with your feet together.
- Cross your arms over your chest and touch your shoulders.
- Bend your knees slightly and tilt forward just a bit.
- Twist your body from side to side, not too fast, maintaining control at all times.
Do 3 sets of 10 rotations per side.
5. Golf Club Twist
This is another great exercise for your balance and flexibility. While it may not be as sexy as building muscle and endurance, working on your flexibility and balance is one of the most important things you can do as a golfer.
For this one, you’ll need a golf club -- any one will do.
- Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width.
- Grab your golf club with both hands, one hand at the top of the club near the top of the grip, the other at the bottom near the club head. Hold it at stomach height in front of you.
- Again, not too fast, swing the club to one side. Do this 10 times.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side with 10 reps.
Discovery and Development
Start slowly with these exercises. If proper form is a struggle, slow down the movement. Muscle memory doesn’t distinguish between good form and bad form, so it’s important to get it right the first time and practice the proper movements.
These junior golf exercises require minimal equipment and can be done from just about anywhere. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive training program, you have two great options:
- For those living in, or near, Jupiter, Florida, you can come visit our golf training center. Every day, we work with junior golfers at all skill levels, so we know what exercises work for rapidly developing bodies and which exercises to avoid. Plus, it's fun for juniors to train where the Pros train!
- If you’re nowhere near our golf fitness center, the internet can be an amazing tool for getting quality golf workouts. Through our comprehensive online video training platform, Hit It Great, you or your child can get world-class training from your living room. We offer two junior-specific programs: "Discover" and "Develop."
Our “Discover” program is 4 weeks long with 3 days of training each week and is great for kids just getting into golf. The “Develop” program is more comprehensive and is designed for those serious about competing at the highest junior level (and beyond). Get in touch with us today to learn more.
Team Joey D Golf
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