5 Lower Body Exercises to Add Distance to Your Drive
Do you ever flip on CBS on a Sunday afternoon, waiting with bated breath to see Dustin Johnson’s next drive? Those numbers can’t be right, can they? A 332-yard carry? With the combination of this generation of freak-of-nature athletes, the best equipment technology, and sport-specific exercise science breakthroughs, shots of the tee are getting longer every year.
And although you probably shouldn’t aspire to achieve DJ’s distance, there’s no harm in trying. But an equipment change isn’t the answer – it’s time to strengthen your lower body. Why spend hundreds of bucks on a fancy new driver when sweat is free? Incorporate these five lower body exercises, every single week, to add yards to your big stick.
Med Ball Wall Slams
Stand in an athletic position, with the wall to your left, holding a 6-12 pound medicine ball. Transferring your weight from your right foot to your left, explosively turn your hips towards the wall, throwing the ball at the ball. If you’re doing it right, the ball will travel in a straight line to and from the wall, and your core and glutes will be firing. Do 3 sets of 12 on your right and left side.
This drill will help with your power transfer from your right foot to your left. Standing on your right foot, starting in a still position, leap as far to your left as possible, landing softly on your left foot. Do the same on the opposite foot, returning to your original position. One way to incorporate this exercise is by doing it on a tabata timer. That is, 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, for 4 minutes. Rest 1 minute and repeat 3 to 5 times.
As you can tell by now, training your glutes is a crucial step in adding power to your drive. And no exercise targets those muscles more completely than the glute bridge. There are many variations, but if you’re a novice to resistance training, start by laying on the ground, palms facing down and bending your legs so your feet are beneath your knees. In a controlled motion, thrust your hips up so that your body creates a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold for a count, then slowly lower your butt back to the floor. Make them even harder by adding a band or weighted barbell to the movement. Add any variation of this exercise to any workout 3 times a week – not only will your drive go up, but your golf pants might feel a little tighter in the back as well.
Like the glute bridge, the kettlebell swing mainly targets the glutes. However, the kettlebell swing is more of a full-body movement, and, since you’re standing, can more closely mimic the hip drive of a golf swing. However, you can step into any gym and you will likely be seeing someone butchering this movement. Rounded backs, deep squats, and wild, uncontrolled movements are the death of this staple exercise. With your feet slightly wider than shoulder width, hinge down and grip the kettlebell, like you were about to hike a football. Then, sit back in your heels, drag the bell between your legs, and explode the bell forward with your hips, keeping your back straight, and only slightly squatting your legs. Since this is such a technical exercise, if you’re new to it, I suggest watching this in-depth video for a kettlebell swing 101.
Trap Bar Deadlift
Mobility and technique drills are great, but there’s nothing like adding a little raw strength to your lower body to really crush the ball off the tee. Like many compound movements, it’s best to learn how to do the deadlift right before doing it at all. The best way for the average athlete to train this movement is with a trap bar – a barbell that has a hexagonal middle that the lifter can stand in. (You can take a conventional stance with a regular barbell as well, but the trap bar takes less technical proficiency and keeps your wrists in a more neutral position.) Keeping your chin slightly tucked, your weight distributed mostly in the heels, lift the weight by pushing through the floor while keeping your back as straight as possible. When the bar gets to the height where your knees are in line with your hands, thrust your hips forward and squeeze your glutes at the top. Slowly lower, thinking about reversing the first movement to control the weight back to the ground. If you add this to your arsenal, keep the reps low. Five sets of five reps is enough to add some serious power over time.