Hip and thigh strengthening exercises are very important for developing a solid base for your swing. You may not realize it but these muscle groups are contribute quite a bit to an effective swing.
When examining the thigh, the key groups to target are the quadriceps and hamstrings. If you are unfamiliar with your anatomy, the quadriceps of located in the front of your thigh and are responsible for helping to straighten your knee. They also are very active for stability when you stand with your knees bent, like you do during your stance.
The hamstrings are located in the back of your thighs, and their primary function is to help bend your knees. In the golf swing, this group helps contribute to your weight shift, leading to increased power.
Moving up to the hips, there are many muscles that comprise this area, but the main area to work is the gluteals/buttocks. These muscles are very powerful, and will help contribute to stability throughout your legs and pelvis. They are very commonly weak in the general population, so strengthening here is that much more important.
The exercises listed here are general in nature, but are great to isolate these muscles as part of your golf strength training program.
1. Squats - If you want to hit some major muscle groups, a squat is a great exercise to add to the routine. But, you want to make sure you are doing them correctly. One key thing to remember: If you look down while performing a squat, make sure you can still see your toes! If you can't see your toes, you are using too much of your quads and not enough of your glutes. Variations: squat with overhead shoulder press, squat on BOSU ball, and/or hold weights.
2. Alternating Lunges - Another great exercise for thigh strengthening!
-Stand upright and take a large forward step with your right leg. Your right knee bends until your left knee almost touches the ground.
-Return to upright position and repeat stepping forward with left leg.
Variations: Hold dumbbells, perform "walking" lunges, hold medicine ball and twist during lunge.
3. Hamstring Curls - Can be performed either with machine or exercise ball. Common hamstring curl machines are either in a seated position or a prone (on your stomach) position. If using an exercise ball, lay on the ground on your back with your knees straight and ankles resting on the ball. Lift your buttocks in the air and bend your knees, rolling the ball towards you. Return to starting position and repeat.
4. Lateral Band Walks - This exercise is also listed under the ankle strengthening page. This is a great exercise not only for the lower leg but also for your glutes!
Equipment requirement: Resistance band.
-With a long resistance band lying on the ground, stand on the band with both feet shoulder width apart.
-Grab both end on the band with your hands and hold.
-Keep resistance on the band by always having you feet apart. Your toes should always be facing forward as well. Walk 10-20 feet to the right, then cover the same distance to the left.
Variations: Perform with knees straight or with them bent in squat position.
5. Wall Squats - A variation of a squat, a wall squat will also target the quads and glutes.
-First, find a bare wall or door and lean against it with your back.
-Move your feet about 12-18 inches away from the wall. To perform the exercise, slide down the wall as far as you feel comfortable going(preferably not further than a 90 degrees at your knee) and hold for at least 5 seconds. The longer the hold, the more it will burn!
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