Golf Fitness and The Core, What is it Really?

The most overused and misunderstood word in fitness and now in golf could easily be the “core”. What is the core exactly? Is it a muscle? Is it a group of muscles? How does it help in the golf swing? It is thrown around so loosely that it can be confusing to most. Ask 10 different fitness professionals and you may get 10 different answers.

What is the Core?

Like I said ask 10 get 10, so here is mine.

Think of the core of anything, apple core, core of a golf ball. It almost always refers to the center, well the fitness term is no different. It is the group of muscles that makes up the center of the body, mainly the abdominal muscles the image to the right shows them best. I am not talking about the 6 pack everyone dreams of, it’s the muscles beneath the surface that nobody sees. The core is also made up by the glutes, lower back and sides of the hips. There is also terms like the lateral core, the posterior core, and the anterior core, again these are just terms that make up a group of muscles. This group of muscles can be amazing if activated properly. If you activate the core during a stretch of the arms, watch what happens (20 – 30 degrees more range of motion). Stand on one leg with the core activated and your balance is 10 times better. The problem is, 80 percent of the golfers we have tested over the past 10 years do not know how to activate their core properly.

How do you use the core in golf?

First you must learn how to activate the core. I have a few ways I explain it to clients because it’s not easy to do. The first, which is what most people understand is to think that someone is about to punch you in the stomach, besides punching them back, what is your first reaction? With most, it is to tighten their stomach, it’s just a natural reaction. Well, that is activating the core, the hard part is holding it. The second way I explain it is to have them cough, no it’s not a physical! When you cough your core muscles have to contract to restrict the lungs, which is activating the core. Again, the hard part is holding that contraction.