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Sunday, October 20, 2013

How Your "Love Handles" Affect Your Shots

Okay, technically your obliques aren't the same as your love handles. Your oblique muscles are underneath the fatty rolls we call love handles. But if you've got love handles, there's a good chance your obliques are a little weak... and that can affect your swing.

I've got a couple of articles that can help you identify the problem and strengthen the muscles.

Rose demonstrating exerciseThe first article is a post from Golf Digest's Instruction Blog called Activate Your Obliques for a Better Swing. GD's Fitness Editor Ron Kaspriske talked to Dave Phillips and Greg Rose -- the guys you see every week on GC's Titleist Performance Institute show -- about how weak obliques and weak glutes combine to affect your swing. One of those affects is the notorious reverse pivot, and the TPI guys show you how to test for weak obliques and give you a simple exercise to help strengthen them. The photo to the right is from that post.

But I know some of you will want more, perhaps even a full plan to help really build your core strength.  For that I found an article over at called Lose the Love Handles. The author, Stew Smith, was a Navy SEAL and is a fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. (That means he's a trustworthy source of info, folks!) Smith, like Phillips and Rose, works the obliques and legs together.

The article is fairly long but the part you'll be interested in (a little over halfway down the page) is the Tuesday and Friday workout for the legs and love handles. You may not want to follow his workout precisely but it will give you an idea about what exercises are most effective for working these two areas.

And just a bit below that is a list of exercises for building the core, especially the stomach and lower back, if you're interested.

With winter just around the corner, now might be a good time to begin some simple core work to get ready for next year. These articles can get you started.