Kettlebells are a great alternative to dumbbells while weight training, and they’re great for keeping in shape in general. But, did you know kettlebells are also perfect for golf fitness and building core strength? This comes down to the level of stability and control you need to keep while doing kettlebell exercises, such as swings and rotations.
Movements with kettlebells combine mobility, strength, balance and power. They work several large muscle groups rather than isolating a certain muscle, such as in a bicep curl. This mimics the golf swing, where you use many large muscle groups simultaneously. Kettlebell exercises also help with links between these large muscle groups, similar to how they work within the golf swing. All these benefits carry over to your golf game and overall fitness and strength.
If you’re worried about your fitness level, don’t be. Kettlebell training has very little impact on your joints, so they’re ideal for golfers of any age or fitness level. But do remember to always warm up. And don’t start with a weight that is too heavy for you; start light and build up to larger weights if needed.
Here are four exercises for a better, stronger swing. Start with 15 to 25 pounds, or whatever feels comfortable, and work up from there.
Take a similar stance to your golf swing, feet shoulders width apart, knees slightly bent and bending at the hips. Then, take your kettlebell in both hands and let it hang between your knees. Now, swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height. Try to keep your arms straight and focus on the momentum from your legs, hips and shoulders.
This exercise really builds explosive power, so start light. Once you are confident with the correct form, try heavier kettlebells to build some serious power.
Start in the same position as the previous exercise, but with only one hand on the kettlebell. Then explode upward from your legs, pulling the kettlebell up to your shoulder and then into a shoulder press position, with your arm extended upwards. Return to the starting position and then repeat for the opposite arm. This explosive movement is great for the golf swing while building power and stability.
Single-leg windmill touches
Start with the kettlebell on the ground in front of you, at about one foot away. Then, stand on one leg with both arms reached out to the sides parallel to the ground. Make sure you feel comfortable and balanced. Now, using the same arm as the leg you are standing on (if you are balancing on your right foot use your right hand), reach down and touch the kettlebell. Make sure you are rotating towards the kettlebell as you bend down. It is okay for your back foot to raise up behind you to keep your balance. Then, once you have touched the kettlebell, return back to the start. Switch legs and repeat for the opposite side.
This exercise helps with balance and core strength. It will also strengthen your hips, knees and ankles, which are used in your golf swing.
Single-arm floor press
Start by lying on your back, then pick up your kettlebell with one arm. You want to have your tricep resting on the ground, and the heavy end of the kettlebell pointing vertically to the sky, with your forearm at a 90-degree angle to the ground — in a similar position to a bench press. From this position, push the kettlebell straight up into the air, until your arm is extended straight out in front of you. Keep the heavy end of the kettlebell pointing up and make sure the rest of your body is stable to get the most out of this exercise.
This builds great core strength and stability, as well as power in your arms. The best part of using kettlebells for this exercise is that you are also working on grip strength while you’re trying to keep the heavy end pointing to the sky.
So when you’re not out on the golf course, why not spend some time in the gym or at home with some kettlebells? As well as keeping you fit, it could do wonders for your golf swing.
–– Joseph Mills