As a physical therapist, I believe that everyone should train balance starting as young adults. The benefits of training balance go far beyond the ability to avoid falling. Training balance can strengthen your neuromuscular system, improve the strength in your stability muscles and reduce the risk of injury.
Balance is often not included in the focus of training related to improving your golf swing. Despite the differences in golf swings seen among varying levels of golfers and skill, a commonality exists: the golf swing must be executed while the golfer is perfectly balanced.
The follow through is an important component of the swing that requires balance. In a great swing, a golfer should be able to hold that position for up to 5-10 seconds before choosing to move into a different position.
Specifically, between backswing into downswing, a weight shift occurs from your trail leg to your lead leg, placing the majority of your weight on the front foot. Without balance, this weight shift could not occur, or compensations would start to kick in. Golf swing faults that may indicate poor balance include:
• Loss of footing at follow through
• Unable to maintain position of follow through
• Trunk shifting back/away from target
• Limited hip rotation on trail limb due to planted trail foot
Below are a few exercises to focus on improving your balance. These are simple to complete and, with intentional repetitions, can improve your stability in your swing and facilitate prevention of injuries.
Single Leg Balance Progression
Progression demonstrated from easy (left) to progression 1 (center), to progression 2 (right). Progression occurs when you can complete 30-60s without loss of balance or foot placement, or a corrective step. Complete 2-3 sets.
Single Leg Ball Toss
Standing in golf setup position, lift one leg up into a single leg position. Holding medicine ball, rotate into your backswing, followed by a transition back into starting position progressing forward into downswing and releasing the ball. Complete two sets x 10 repetitions on each side.
Single Leg Rotation
Standing in golf setup position, lift one leg up and rotate back and forth between downswing and backswing positions. Goal is to complete 10 full rotations without losing your balance. Complete exercise on both sides.