A great golf swing is a series of precise athletic moves. Begin with a smooth clean one-piece takeaway to start the swing. Make a wide full turn to the top of the back swing. Shifting weight to start a powerful swing. Generate smooth rapid acceleration. Maintain a proper spine angle through impact. Follow through to a balanced, tall, finish. These key movements are interrelated. If you master them your swing will feel right, look great, and result in lower scores. Doing this consistently requires enhancement of both technique and the machine that provides the platform, the power, and the motion required: Your body.

More specifically, a strong “core” creates the stability, strength and speed needed for a correct golf swing. The core is the central part of your body including your abdominal muscles and your middle and lower back muscles. It is used to stabilize your body and provide power during dynamic motion. Most sports training programs concentrate heavily on the core. Golf should be no exception. Without a strong core the golf swing is not only underpowered it is potentially dangerous for the lower back.

In this video, Avera Sports Institute Fitness Expert Dick Bartling shows us the correct technique for a plank, probably the best single exercise for strengthening your core. Lots of abdominal exercises, like crunches, are really more about having “six pack” abs than creating a strong core. The plank is the opposite. It is a highly effective exercise that you’ll find in nearly every sports training program. It is a simple and effective exercise. When in the plank position, you’ll feel your stomach, back, glutes and legs working together to keep you still and straight. At first it might be tough to stay in position for a full minute. But, over time, you’ll get stronger and more stable.

You might be surprised how many swing faults, like a reverse pivot, a break down in spine angle at impact, or quick putts, are related to weak muscles and poor posture. As these muscles get stronger you will feel and see the results. You’ll be able to stay down on the ball better, swing faster, and stay still when putting the ball. More importantly, core strength greatly reduces the risk of lower back injury.

Rick Cole