Depending on the era, most casual golfers from the 1970s and 1980s would not equate fitness with improving or elevating their golf game.
However, if you talk to anyone from the late 1990s are early 2000s, this all changed when Tiger Woods hit the scene. He was an athlete playing golf and he aggressively worked on his body to make himself a better player. He changed the game.
Fast forward to the present day and professional golfers of all levels now have rigorous workout schedules and college golf teams all have strength & conditioning coaches. Professional golfers such as Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Justin Thomas just to name a few are all athletes that have spent time in the gym to improve their ability to compete at the highest level on the course.
If working out can help them, it can certainly help you improve your game. The key is getting stronger by adding speed, increasing stability and flexibility. We break down some of the best exercises that will help loosen your hips, stabilize your shoulders, and help you build power and strength in your golf swing.
1. Lunges With Rotation
We recommend you use a small medicine ball (heavy ball) to perform this exercise. Stand with your feet together, holding the ball close to your chest. Lunge your right foot forward, with your left knee bending towards the ground. Hold this position and rotate arms, balls, and torso to the right. Rotate back to center and return to the starting position. Alternate legs and perform 20 times.
This golf exercise will help you improve your balance, swing rotation, and strength.
2. Alternate Lateral Jump
A critical exercise for any golf workout, alternate Lateral Jumps will help you develop lower body power that you can leverage for more distance.
Simply put, this is jumping back and forth from side-to-side, but to get the most value from this golf exercise you need to focus on your technique. You want this to be an explosive move. It’s important that you load up for each jump, activating the muscles in your lower body. You don’t need to jump an extreme distance back and forth, but you do want a consistent motion back-and-forth, side-to-side.
3. Medicine Ball Core Rotations
Also known as “Russian Twists”, Medicine Ball Core Rotations are great for your core and for teaching your body to properly rotate with balance.
Start by sitting on the ground with your knees bent and the medicine balls against your chest. Lean back slowly until you are balanced on your butt and your feet are slightly off the ground. While holding the ball close, quickly rotate back and forth, trying to keep your feet off the ground.
4. Split Squat
The split squat exercise is designed to build up leg strength and improve your swing speed. An additional benefit will be improved balance.
While not required, we recommend you leverage a bar for this golf exercise and that you hold it behind your head, resting on your shoulders. You will start in a standing position with your feet together. With one leg, take a large step forward. Now lunge down, with your front knee in front of your front foot, and your back knee will almost touch the ground. Make sure during your squat that your head stays up and you are looking forward. Hold this position for a few seconds before coming out of your lunge. Repeat 10 times. As you get more advanced, you can add weight to the bar you are resting on your shoulders.
5. Sword Draws
The Sword Draw golf exercise will help you with external shoulder rotation and can even assist you in keeping your golf swing on plane.
To perform this part of your golf workout, you will need a dumbbell. Pick the correct weight based on your physical condition. Stand with your feet as far apart as your normal golf stance. Hold the dumbbell in your right hand near your left hip with your palm facing your body and your thumb pointing towards your left hip. Keeping your arm straight, rotate your shoulder, and lift the weight above your head and to the right. When you complete this motion, your thumb should be pointing behind you. We recommend multiple sets of 15 and you can increase the weight of the dumbbell over time.
6. Hip Drops
You may not have given it much thought, but lack of internal hip rotation can cause significant issues in your golf swing. The Hip Drop golf exercise will help you improve this part of your body. This is also a great pre-round stretch.
Sit on the ground, with your legs spread far apart, your feet flat on the ground, and your knees up. Place your hands on the ground behind you. One leg at a time, rotate your knee in and move it as close to the ground as you can. You should feel a nice stretch in your hip. Complete a comfortable number of reps on with each leg.
7. Dumbbell Bench Press
The one-handed Dumbbell Bench Press allows you to strengthen your upper body while also working on core stabilization. A great 2-for-1 golf exercise.
You should lie on a weight lifting bench or the floor with an appropriate weight dumbbell in one hand. Simply perform a bench press with this one arm. Do 3 sets of 10 and then switch arms.
8. Single Leg Deadlift
The Single Leg Deadlift golf exercise will strengthen your lower back, hamstrings, and glutes. Performing these on a regular basis will not only help your swing, but they will also protect your back from future injuries.
Start in a standing position with your feet together and a dumbbell in each hand. The dumbbells should be hanging down in front of your thighs. Bow forward, letting one leg kick back behind you. Keeping your back straight, lower down until the dumbbells get as close to the floor as possible. Return back to your starting position. Try to do 3 sets of 10 on both legs, and you can increase the weight over time. It is more important to do these with good technique than adding a bunch of weight.
9. Pelvic Tilt
Every time you swing a golf club you put pressure on your lower back and pelvis muscles. If not properly managed, these areas can become tender and sore. The Pelvic Tilt is a simple golf exercise to help your pelvic and lower back.
Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Place your hands behind your head (this position is similar to the starting position of a Sit Up). Tighten your abs, buttocks, and thighs to press the small of your back against the floor. Perform 10 reps and try to increase this number as you continue your golf workouts.
10. Squat With Medicine Ball Rotations
This is a great full body exercise that will improve your core and work on your balance. You’ll need a medicine ball and you should pick the most appropriate weight for you.
Start in a standing position, with the medicine ball on the ground, next to your right foot. Squat down low and grab the ball with both hands. In one motion, stand up and lift the ball to the left of your hand, with your arms fully extended. Squat down to return the ball to its original position. Do as many reps as you are comfortable performing and make sure you do both sides.
To customize programming and help improve the strength, stability, and flexibility, consult with one of our Personal Trainers in club and complete your Game Plan Session.
Story Credit: Allen Panuncio – Canadian Professional Golf Association, Senior Instructor, Richmond Hill Golf Club