Hitting a long ball into play off the tee does a few things for golfers; a sense that all is well with the world and add to that some bragging rights!  But more importantly it allows the player to be more competitive. There are no secrets to hitting the ball long; you need a high swing speed and a square strike on the ball. Generating a high swing speed whilst maintaining stability to achieve consistency is the tough part, hence the theme for this article in highlighting the lower back and abdominals.

pic1The lower back and abdominals are probably the most important areas of the body for golf.  Golf demands a player to have strength in these areas for 2 fundamental physical skills:


  1. Stability to maintain the spine angle – this is where the consistency in strike is created
  2. Power, through generating rotational acceleration – the clubhead speed


Let’s have a closer look at what both of these skills mean; which muscles are involved; and what exercises you can do to improve them.


1.    Stability to maintain the spine angle:

This is the ability to keep your pelvis and lumbar spine at the same angles throughout the golf swing.  It requires strength in the deep Abdominal muscles, such as the Transverse Abdominis and Internal Oblique, as well as the deep Spinal Extensors (Multifidus). There is a tremendous force placed on the body through the hitting zone and players with a lack of strength in these areas will battle to maintain the “bent-over” posture.  They will rise to a more upright position (early extension causing blocked shots or big draws and hooks) as they perform the down-swing.


2.     Power, through generating rotational acceleration:

To generate a powerful rotation in the down swing, the motion has to start from the pelvis and abdominal area.  The more superficial External Oblique muscle is responsible for rotation of the lower torso and pelvis, independent of each other.  These muscles allow a player to rotate the pelvis first, stabilize it, and then rotate the abdominal and lower back area to transfer the energy up and into the shoulders, arms and ultimately the clubhead.


A great exercise to strengthen these muscles for stable and powerful abdominals and lower back is the “Bent-over Oblique Rotation”:

  1. Hold on to a D-handle, attached to a low pulley.  Turn so that one shoulder points to the resistance equipment.
  2. Move away from the resistance equipment far enough for the weights to lift, ensuring that there is tension on the cable.
  3. Go down into the Dead Lift posture, with your weight pushed back into your Hamstrings and the spine straight.
  4. With arms straight, use the Oblique muscles to rotate your torso away from the pulley, keeping the pelvis still.  Return back to the starting position.


Perform 3 sets of 20 fast repetitions on each side.


Some of us are blessed with bodies that have the necessary stability, strength and power which creates the sequence to hit that long ball, but for those who do not have that ability all is not lost – a little effort in the gym working on the right areas could well add distance to your tee shots and have you collecting the longest drive prize after golf!