I get a lot of questions from disc golfers inquiring about ways to improve their core strength. That same question has probably crossed your mind a few times.
Having an appreciable amount of core strength is extremely important if you want to stay strong, healthy, and perform at your highest level on the course.
It’s important to understand that when choosing the proper core exercises for disc golf, not all are created equal. You want to first determine WHY you want a stronger core. In disc golf, we don’t want to bend or twist at the spine. We actually want to do the exact opposite.
This eliminates exercises such as crunches, sit-ups, russian twists, etc… I actually don’t recommend those exercises for anyone at any time. But I’ll save that for another post down the road. For now, I’ll just say research has shown that repeatedly bending and twisting your lower spine could lead to an increased potential for pain and injury down the road.
During your throw, either backhand or sidearm, you want your core to resist movement while you rotate through the hips and the upper back (thoracic spine).
As you can see in this photo of 2010 World Champion Eric McCabe (EMac), he is rotating through his right hip while his torso is moving as one strong and stable unit. The only rotation will come from his hips first and then his upper spine as he follows through.
If he was to twist or round through his lower back, as I often see many disc golfers doing, he wouldn’t be nearly as powerful and would be at a higher risk for a back injury.
As a former gymnast, EMac has built a solid foundation of strength and stability through his midsection.
If you start twisting through your core when you throw- back pain, a loss of power/energy transfer, and a whole host of other issues might show up to say hello. Maybe not right away, but they’ve got your number and could call you at any time.
Our core is also made to resist rotation while we are moving our limbs. When you are walking the course with your backpack on, your core is keeping you upright and bearing a load (the backpack) while your legs move underneath you. If your core starts to lose its stability and endurance to keep you upright, you start to slouch. This puts stress on your neck, lower back, and hips.
Taking all that into account…one of the first core exercises I have my disc golf athletes do is called the Bird Dog.
It’s so effective that I’ve included it in my free disc golf kick-start routine I’m releasing this week to my newsletter subscribers. The kick-start routine is “Workout One” of my upcoming disc golf strength and mobility program.
It’s such a simple looking exercise, yet it is extremely effective when done correctly and should be a staple of your exercise routine.
The key to an effective Bird Dog exercise is to keep your limb movements smooth and slow while your weight stays centered over your belly button. Your hips and torso should stay “silent” with very little sway side-to-side.
Watch the video below for a more in-depth breakdown of the Bird Dog exercise.
Remember to keep it slow and smooth. I recommend starting with 2-4 sets of 5-8 repetitions each side. The number of sets and reps will be dependant on your current fitness levels.
If you’ve mastered the Bird Dog, then you’re ready to try it with your knees slightly elevated an inch off the ground. Only move to this advanced variation if the first level has become effortless. Remember to still keep your torso stable and weight balanced over your center as you move your limbs.
Incorporate the Bird Dog into your workout routine and you will be well on your way to playing Disc Golf Strong.
P.S. If you want to get the free kick-start routine, as well as, be one of the first disc golfers notified when I release the strength and mobility program, all you have to do is download my free disc golf pre-round warm up e-book by entering your name and email in the form either at the bottom of this page or on the home page of this website.