Is it a push up? Is it an overhead press?
Which is what makes it an awesome tool to put in your toolbox.
WHAT IS A PUSH UP?
Although this may be a too simple question for many, it's important that we peel back the layers as far as we can on things.
A push up is an upper body strength exercise that targets the pecs (chest), triceps, and muscles of the core primarily.
HOW UPPER BODY GAINS CAN HELP YOUR GOLF GAME?
Strength and power in the upper body, and specifically a horizontal pressing pattern (like this one), has been shown to correlate with more clubhead speed (1).
When thinking about clubhead speed we often think about ground reaction forces and "it's all in the hips" but the upper body actually plays a significant role in the creation of clubhead speed.
Upper body exercises such as this one will help build:
Upper body tissue resilience
Joint stability and mobility
Strength and force production ability
All of which, while it won't directly fix your slice, will help you swing the golf club with more freedom, speed, and confidence knowing that your body is prepared for the sport!
Why the addition of the "Downdog"?
The addition of the downdog exposes our shoulder joint to greater ranges of motion, forcing it to stabilize in an overhead-ish position.
For many athletes that have pain while pressing overhead, a closed-chain and angled movement like this one is more comfortable. Therefore, it's a great step along the progression of returning to overhead pressing.
Lastly, if we look at the specific scapula movement that is undergone when moving from the push up into the downdog position we see some very similar patterns that are present in your golf swing. Teaching the scapula to track and move along the ribcage will create effeciency in our movement and robustness.
Overall, it's a great addition to an already great exercise.
The ONLY drawback of adding the downdog is that we can't load the push up via an external stimulus (like a plate on your back or a band). Therefore, as we progress on our strength training journey, this becomes more of a warm-up or hypertrophy tool than a strength tool.
Where should I incorporate this exercise into my training?
If you are new on your training journey, this may be a demanding upper body strength exercise and therefore can be included early in your workout and completed for 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps.
If you are further along your training journey, this exercise should be used as a warm-up or a hypertrophic exercise later in the workout. If this is the case, complete it for 2-3 reps or 10-15 reps.
But, there really isn't a bad spot to be including it.
Or become a SCRATCH Athlete and just do it when the program tells you to...
Let's go low.