Updated: Oct 15, 2020
The days are getting shorter, the shadows are getting longer, and unfortunately, another golf season is ending. So how can you help improve your golf game without moving farther south for the winter?
It is one of the most common questions I receive from my golfing clients, and this year, there is an added twist; some people are working out from home now more than ever. Today, we are going to be discussing one of my favorite training tools that is portable, relatively inexpensive, and very effective for off-season golf training. Today we will be talking about kettlebells! The original version of a kettlebell actually came from Russia, where it was used as a counterweight for potatoes. The farmers would juggle or throw the kettlebells around to each other. People noticed how strong the farmers became, and centuries later, kettlebells have re-emerged as a fitness tool. Kettlebells have a different shape than a barbell or a dumbbell. If you look at a kettlebell, you can see that it has a handle with the weight directly below it. Because of this, it more closely resembles many items that we encounter daily, such as a bag, bucket, or suitcase. That means that a kettlebell will be more “functional” than other pieces of exercise equipment.
Depending on which exercises you choose, kettlebells also incorporate things like inertia, weight transfer, and momentum. Kettlebells are great for increasing your grip strength, stabilizing your core, and strengthening many of the primary muscle groups that are used in a golf swing. Generally speaking, I notice that my clients can hit the ball about 10 yards farther after they have completed a block of training using kettlebells. I have a few exercises to share with you, but before I do, let’s lay down some ground rules. Since you are basically using an iron ball with a handle, safety is very important. Make sure you have plenty of distance between yourself and anyone else around you (or any mirrors or artwork that you are fond of). It is important to use your bare hands rather than using gloves, so you can feel the kettlebell articulate in your hand. This is what will help build your grip strength. And since some kettlebell movements are very dynamic, start nice and easy with more basic exercises, before progressing to the ones that require more power. If you do not feel confident doing these exercises on your own, consider hiring a fitness professional, and look for someone who has a specific kettlebell certification. That will help ensure that you do the moves correctly. And of course, always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Warm up- Walking Get outside if you can and go for a brief walk! 5 to 10 minutes would be considered a good warm-up. Keep your chest high, shoulders down and back, and focus on deep breathing. Beginner Level- Goblet Squat- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart while holding a light kettlebell to your chest. You can also hold a dumbbell if you have one. Squat down, keeping your back straight and pushing your hips back. Continue down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, or until you are uncomfortable, then push up to the starting position through your heels. Kettlebell Deadlifts- Place a kettlebell on the ground. Step over the kettlebell so that it is in the center beneath you. Move your feet to shoulder width. Tighten your core and keep your chest up. Begin by kicking your hips back and slightly bending your knees extend your arms down to grab onto the kettlebell. Holding onto the kettlebell, drive your hips forward to stand back up slowly, and release the movement by kicking your hips back and slightly bending knees. Intermediate Level- Kettlebell Kneeling Squats- Place a kettlebell on the ground next to you and kneel on a padded surface. Grab the kettlebell and hold the kettlebell with both hands, close to the chest. Tighten your core and drive your glutes forward as you lift the kettlebell against gravity, until your hips are fully extended. Slowly lower back down to the starting position. Kettlebell Lunges (Racked)- Grab a light kettlebell and raise it so that it is resting between your bicep and forearm. This is called the “racked position”. On the opposite side, step one leg back into a lunge position. Keeping her upper body as straight as possible, slowly lower down into a lunge, trying to achieve a 90° bend in the knee. Ensure that the knee in front does not cross over the toe as you lower down. Slowly return to the starting position. When you finish, repeat on the other side. Advanced- Kettlebell Swings- Hold a kettlebell with both hands in an overhand grip. Stand straight with your leg slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Lean forward at your waist slightly and bend your knees as if you were going into a squat position. Let your arms hang naturally and try to relax your neck. Swing the kettlebell between your legs, and as you build momentum and using your hips, explosively swing the kettlebell in front of you. Do not let the kettlebell travel past the height of your shoulders. Kettlebell Clean and Squats- Hold a kettlebell with both hands in an overhand grip. Stand straight with your legs slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Lean forward at your waist slightly and bend your knees as if you were going into a squat position. Let your arms hang naturally and try to relax your neck. Slowly squat down, then explosively stand up forcing the kettlebell up to chest height. With the kettlebell in the goblet position, squat down until your legs reach 90°, then return to the starting position. Slowly lower the kettlebell back to the hanging position.
Check out the workout, with videos and downloadable programs at: https://www.myboundlessbody.com/post/golf_kettlebells
Find a downloadable PDF of the workout here!
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