In any athletic movement the core is the most important part of your body. When most people think of the core they think of six pack abs. There is much more to your core than your external front abdominals.
Your core also involves your internal and external obliques, serattus muscles over your ribs, transverse abdominals which are under your rectus abdominals (six pack) and the erector spinae muscles of your lower back. Phew, there is your anatomy lesson. Actually there is more but we will stick with that.
The point is all these muscles must work very hard to keep your torso stable. They also work to move your lower body beyond its normal plane (like doing leg lifts). In disc golf the use of your core is no exception, in fact it is more important than lots of other sports. Balance is one of the most important factors in being able to get the power from your arm to your disc.
Your balance is mostly reliant on your core strength. Your obliques also play a part in generating power on your pull through but mostly it is balance that keeps the flow of energy aligned.
So now that you know that core strength is important, what can you do to improve it? This article is not meant to be a guide on how to work out your abs because I don’t think the majority of people will use any routine that I post. What I will do is show you one important exercises and talk about some important points.
One of the most important abdominal exercises you can do to increase your core strength that every single person should be doing regardless of activity is the plank. The plank mimics the activity that your core is designed to do, stabilize you. Doing crunches and sit ups is great for beach abs but it is not ‘sport specific’ especially to disc golf. That doesn’t mean sit ups won’t help you but planks are much more efficient and practical.
The plank exercise engages more of your core in the way it was designed to be engaged. When in the plank position you will be engaging your external core and your internal core which is really more important.
Hold the plank position for as long as you can. Start small and work your way up, say 30 seconds, and work up to 1 minute and longer. If you master the plank start adding weight to make it more challenging, use unstable surfaces on your hands and feet etc. Get creative to make the exercise more effective. Below is the position to hold and side plank variation to work your obliques.
If you are having a hard time with the move, you can do a modified variation from your knees as pictured below.
Other than planks and actually throwing discs the other movements to work on are all balance activities. Use a balance board, start with two feet and move to one. Stand on one foot, if that’s easy look up, if that’s easy shut your eyes. If that’s easy hold weights that are off balance in each hand. Get creative, the more you can work on your balance, the better your run up, motion and delivery will be in disc golf.
Now that your core is strong and your balance is on point you can work on your run up, motion and follow through. Practice your run up in slow motion over and over again. Do it with your eyes closed to put you off balance. Give yourself 3 cues to do in your run up and then do them in your slow motion routine. It might be ‘reach back’, ‘forward hips’, ‘heel follow through’ or whatever works for you.
If you are really patient you should break this down further into each phase of the run up and then put it all together in one motion. This will improve your balance and flow of energy from your body to your disc.
Please comment with some tricks that have helped you.