One of my favorite golf publications is Golf Digest and I am a regular reader and subscriber. This past week Ron Kapriske published an article titled “Fitness Friday. Get a Jump on Your Tee Shots.” Ron mentioned golfers over 50 several times and in the attached video.
So the question that popped into my mind was, is jumping an exercise that we should promote in golfers over 50?
Although we have exercises in the Age Defying Golf Rx program that specifically designed to add power to the golfer, we do not have any exercises that require jumping. Is this something that we should add?
First lets look at the potential benefits of jumping for exercise
“Golfers who can jump are not only able to store and deliver power, they also have better synchronicity in their swings,” says fitness expert Mark Verstegen, author of Core Performance Golf.
The Squat Thrust Golf Move
There is no doubt the jumping for exercise builds strength and power in the most explosive muscles in your legs. However, how many of us “mortal” golfers actually make the squat thrust move that the pros are making these days? I don’t see it too often and I feel that it is a very advanced move.
If you have not yet seen the squat thrust move that the professional golfers are making in their swings, you should find a video of Tiger Woods Swing. He makes a huge squat thrust move through the ball.
The problem with a squat thrust move for normal golfers, is that it greatly decreases your odds of making clean ball contact.
Think about it: it is difficult enough to make clean ball contact, but how likely are you going to consistently hit the ball if you are lowering your body just before impact and then raising your body through impact? I feel that it simply too advanced for the every day golfer to adopt. What do you think?
From my experience, I find it much easier for the golfer to develop rotational power and keep the body quieter through the swing. As the golfer passes the age of 50, the body takes longer to engrain or learn a muscle pattern. As a result, I feel that it would be tremendously difficult for golfers in this age range to develop a drop and hip thrust with any sort of competence or repeatability.
Dangers of Jumping
For some golfers, jumping for exercise can lead to more harm than good. Especially golfers over the age of 50.
Jumping places a ton of pressure and stress on the knee joint in two specific areas. First, within the knee joint itself, jumping can exacerbate and speed up joint breakdown leading to arthritis. I can’t think of any benefit that outweighs this drawback. From my experience, a knee joint replacement is a surgery that you definitely want to avoid. They are tough to recover from.
The second area prone to damage is the underneath part of your patella, knee cap, as it interacts with the femur, or upper leg bone. We call this patellar friction and it can be very painful.
In summary, I believe that jumping for exercise is only beneficial for a specific group of golfers. You can add jumping to your training if you are pain free and have not had previous knee surgery (previous knee surgery, any surgery, puts you at a sever risk of developing arthritis). Additionally, although jumping will improve leg strength and power, it will primarily only benefit elite golfers who are developing the squat thrust move in their golf swing.
QUESTION: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT ADDING JUMPING TO YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE? DO YOU USE THE SQUAT THRUST MOVE IN YOUR SWING? HOW DOES IT WORK FOR YOU?
Thanks for Reading!
D. RYAN YORK, DPT CGS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Golf Performance Specialist