By Andrea Doddato
The 2011 LPGA season is in full swing. As in the start of every year, players are approached with questions of how they spent their off-season or what they worked on in order to make this year more successful than the last. For U.S. born Christina Kim the answer is simply, fitness. Less than a week after her final putt of 2010 dropped she made the commitment to dedicate herself to becoming fitter, stronger and faster.
On our first session she came in mentally prepared but I'm not sure her body was physically ready for what we were about to do to it. We had approximately five weeks to make gains that would have to hold her for the upcoming four events on the LET and LPGA Tours. And I have to say that I have never seen such determination and grit from anyone I have ever worked with! No matter how hard I pushed her she wanted to be pushed harder, the sign of a champion destined for greatness. Christina immediately gained my respect. Even though she put in no less than two hours 5-6 days a week, it wasn't just all bile, sweat and tears...we did incorporate a few laughs along the way...she is Christina Kim of course!
Christina sought out a fitness regimen for the same reason many other golfers do, to gain more distance. She felt that she had lost power and yardage within the last season or two. I questioned if she had changed teachers knowing that sometimes swing changes can result in lost distance. I was surprised to find that her father has been her only instructor. After learning that her swing as well as equipment were the same, we set out to make her body more efficient.
As her fitness coach I had three goals for Christina, first to get her torso to rotate better (power and accuracy are compromised when the arms are overly dominant in the swing), second to strengthen her glutes (she has a tendency to lose her coiling or "X Factor" so to strengthen and stabilize her base) and thirdly to merely speed her up.
If an onlooker were to witness our sessions in the gym they may have thought we made The Biggest Looser look like a stroll in the park. Incorporated within her workouts were sprints on a treadmill (while the treadmill is turned OFF), cables, bands, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, hex bar squats, balance equipment and a thick rope.
Here are three of Christina Kim's exercises that exemplify rotation, stability and power. Try adding these into your fitness routine for a better golf game.
1. Lunge Stance Torso Rotation
Exercise can be used with a cable or band. Take a lunge stance with your opposite foot forward to the arm performing the motion. Keep hips and shoulders in forward alignment. Maintain level shoulders as you pull your arm back, elbow retracting behind back. Push your other arm forward creating maximum rotation within the torso as the hips remain in forward alignment.
Perform 10-15 reps without compromising form on each side.
2. 1 Leg Dead-lift / Bench Sit
This exercise requires a great deal of balance. Begin performing with bodyweight only, as stability and strength increases incorporate a dumbbell.
Stand perpendicular at the end portion of a bench or step. You want to have enough of the bench for your glutes to touch but you will need your outside leg to clear the end of the bench. Keep your head pointing forward and your back to remain straight as you bend down maintaining a soft knee. You will feel a stretch in your hamstring of your standing leg as you touch the floor. Maintaining balance and form, straighten back up to standing position. Slowly begin to sit down on the bench using your quad strength while maintaining a straight back. Pause and use your one leg to stand back up to starting position. Exercise should be performed in a smooth motion.
Start with 5 reps increasing to 15 before adding weight.
3. Medicine Ball Rotational Slam
Medicine balls are a great power tool that can basically be used anywhere.
Take a shoulder width stance as you hold a medicine ball in front of you. Raise it in a circular rotation above your head as you use your arms and legs to forcefully drive the ball into the ground.
Perform 5-10 reps both left and right handed.
Andrea Doddato is a golf fitness professional that works with many LPGA players.
She writes for several golf publications and has been seen on ESPN and The Golf Channel.
She can be contacted through www.shapeandsport.com.
Topics: Kim, Christina