August 5, 2021

Golf is an intensive game that involves sudden moments of exertion. It's also majorly one-sided as players swing 75 to 100 times from one side of their body, which can often create muscle imbalances and lead to injuries.

The core tends to be the weakest part of a golfer's body. Hence, without strong, pliable muscles in the stomach, hips, and lower back, it becomes hard to make a golf swing that is both powerful and technically sound.

Your physical fitness in terms of how much you exercise, how you eat, and how you keep your body in shape plays an essential role in improving your golf game. Incorporating warm-up sessions, doing some strength and flexibility training in between your golf game creates flexibility and mobility to execute a proper golf swing.

Having a consistent fitness routine can make a significant difference in reducing the risks of injuries and also help improve your golf game. In this article, we'll outline the importance of warm-up and cool-down sessions and share various golf exercises you can incorporate into your fitness routine that will enhance your performance.

Warming Up Before Golf Workouts

Golf is a very demanding sport and is considered an anaerobic activity. Anaerobic activities involve quick bursts of energy and are performed at maximum effort for a short period of time. Warming up is essential as it helps prepare your body for aerobic activity by gradually revving up your cardiovascular system. A warm-up session also significantly helps reduce risks of injuries and muscle soreness.

The risks of getting injuries while playing golf are very high because of the explosive movement. Most of the time, the game is played by one side of your body, so the risk of your back, neck, shoulder, and arms getting injured is quite high. However, you can mitigate this by warming for about 5 minutes before your game.

An in-depth study conducted by NCBI showed that golf players might be suffering from injuries due to lack of 'warm-up, poor trunk flexibility and strength, faulty swing technique, and overuse.'

This shows that warm-up sessions are crucial to improving one's game and ensuring that one has the physical strength and capability to handle the game.

Benefits of Golf Workouts

Golf fitness can have a tremendous impact on your game's performance. All you need is 20 - 30 minutes a day, and you will begin to see noticeable improvements in your performance.

a) Injury Prevention

Recreational golfers tend to suffer from injuries such as tendinitis, muscle and joint pain throughout their body, and lower back problems. These can all be reduced or prevented by warming up correctly and strengthening your body. The golf swing can put a great deal of stress on your body; hence you need to have the proper strength and flexibility. If you lack it, there is a high chance that you will experience pain or injury.

Having a consistent fitness routine can help reduce your chances of injury. Strength training and healthy eating help ensure that your muscles are stronger, which protects your joints from the pressure the golf swing exerts on them. Having strength in your lower body, upper body, and core serves as an assurance that you can not only enjoy being on the golf course longer but be there with less pain.

b) Adds Power to Your Swing

If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that every golfer wants to know how to hit the golf ball farther. Increasing your swing speed means that you are also able to add distance to your shots. However, if you try to swing harder without having any golf workout, then the likelihood of suffering a serious injury is very high. You can also harm the quality of your swing.

Golf exercises come in handy. If you increase your overall strength and flexibility, it becomes a lot easier for you to increase your swing speed without even noticing that you are.

c) Have Better Control

As golfers, you want to hit the balls as far you can, but you also want to keep in play. The golf swing can easily be considered an extremely complex movement in that it requires precise control of your body for one to see its success. This is where golf exercise becomes truly essential.

It tends to be hard for many golfers to make smooth, effortless swings because their bodies are very tense while on the course. Though they may be strong, they may not know how to transfer it to their golf swing. There are certain strength exercises that focus on control and are specially tailored to golf that can be essential to learn. This would mean engaging all the muscles in your body rather than just in one spot and being efficient with the energy you expend.

How Long and Often Should You Exercise

This is dependent on the type of golfer you are. If you're a recreational golfer, ideally, your workout routine should be at least 30 minutes to an hour, 3 to 4 times a week. It's most likely that competitive golfers already have fitness trainers; however, you can increase the intensity of the workout during off-seasons. The workout routine can maintain your current condition whilst also aiming to improve your strength and flexibility for the upcoming season.

Cooling Down After Golf Workouts

Cooling down allows for a gradual recovery of pre-exercise blood pressure and heart rate. An effective cool-down session can help reduce the risk of injuries as it allows your body to relax and lowers your body temperature. Cooldown sessions usually include gentle cardio exercises and static stretches, which help relax strained muscles. It's important to note that since golf is a very intense sport, certain muscle groups can be under a lot of stress; hence, without a proper cool down, it can lead to injuries and certain diseases. Cooldown sessions help the body dispose of waste products such as lactic acid.

13 Golf Workouts To Improve Your Game

Here are golf workouts that will cover different muscle groups: your arms, back, and lower back, legs, and thighs, and your core.

1. Split- Squat

This is a lower-body exercise that aims to work on stability, mobility, and strength. The narrow stance will reduce your base of support hence challenging your stability. In this workout, you'll primarily be working your front leg, so it's key to keep most of your weight centered over the middle of your front foot.

2. Circuit Training

Circuit training sessions consist of 9 exercises that are done back to back without rest. The exercises are known as stations. Once you are done with all the 9 stations, you rest for 30 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on your endurance level. Then you repeat all the stations, rest, and repeat one last time.

Circuit training aims to build endurance and not strength. For weighted stations, it's advised to use a weight that you are comfortable with. For the first circuit (for weights), you can do 20 repetitions, 15 on your second and 10 reps on your third.

You can do this training 3 times a week, with a rest day in between. This is an ideal workout if you're looking to improve your stamina.

3. Strength Training

In this workout, use a weight that is heavy such that you can only do 8 reps per set for 3 to 5 sets with each exercise. Take a rest between each set, then move on to the next exercise after you have finished all the sets from the previous one.

The key focus is to build your strength. When picking the weight, the aim is to pick one that will be challenging but not too heavy to the point that it will cause you to injure yourself. The workout can be carried out three times a week with a rest day in between.

This is best suited for those who want to increase their swing speed.

Be sure to check it out more on the exercise Here.

4. Hip Crossovers

The hip crossover exercise will twist your lower body hence helping stretching the muscles and tendons in the hips and lower back. This helps stimulate the hip region's torque at the top of the backswing and during the follow-through.

How to do it: 

  • Lie flat on the ground with your arms to your sides, your knees bent, feet wider than shoulder-width apart, heels on the ground
  • Twist your bent legs to the left until they reach the ground, then twist them to the right
  • Continue alternating sides while keeping your shoulder blades on the ground and your abs tight
  • Repeat for 6 reps in each direction. Do one to three sets

You can include a mini band or resistance band around your ankles or knees (or both) for added intensity. The aim is to maintain your posture while you rotate. This means keeping your heels, hips, back, and arms flat to the ground.

5. 1-Arm, 1-Leg Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian Deadlift exercise is a great strength-building workout for the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back and core. These muscles are essential to delivering a powerful swing.

How to do it: 

  • Stand on your right leg holding a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells at your sides
  • Your leg should be in a fixed position but not locked at the knee
  • Shift your hips back and lower the dumbbells as far as you can while keeping your back as straight as you can
  • Fire your hamstrings and glutes as you return to an upright position
  • Keep the dumbbells close to your body, almost touching your leg throughout the movement
  • While bending, don't think of it as bending forward, but rather as sitting back. Keep your shoulder blades back and down
  • Do 6 reps for each leg

6. Swiss Ball Russian Twist

This a great exercise for strengthening your core while also training the flexibility of your hip and spine rotation which is essential for a successful swing. You'll need a swiss medicine ball to carry out this workout.

How to do it:

  • Lie back on your medicine ball and raise your hips. With your knees bent, they should be making a  90-degree angle to the floor
  • Cup both of your hands together, and raise them straight above your chest
  • Twist your torso to one side, keep your feet on the ground and with hips raised, inhale to contract your core and maintain stability
  • Pause for 1 to 3 seconds, slowly come back to the starting position while exhaling
  • Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the other side.

The aim in this workout is to maintain your posture and balance. To strengthen your core, use your abs and core for movement instead of pushing with your backs and hips. For added intensity, you can include a dumbbell and carry it while rotating. Depending on your routine, you can carry out 10 to 20 reps per set.

7. Medicine Ball Parallel & Perpendicular Throws

There are two benefits to this workout. The Parallel golf workout helps activate and strengthen the hips and torso. It improves your recoil action through impact and allows you to compress the ball by swinging against a firm left side. The Perpendicular golf workout activates and strengthens the whole core area, especially the abs, glutes, and hips. To effectively do this exercise, you have to recruit the core muscles needed in the golf swing.

How to do it: Parallel Throws

  • Grab a medicine ball and stand facing a wall in your golf posture
  • Bring the ball down alongside your hip and thrust your legs up as you toss it into the wall
  • Once you catch the bounce back, drop it down alongside your other hip and repeat the movement
  • One set carries 10 throws

How to do it: Perpendicular Throws

  • Grab a medicine ball. Ensure that weight is manageable. Throw it into a wall as if you were imitating a swing.
  • During the backswing, keep your knees bent and turn your back away from the wall
  • When you swing through, drive your back hip toward the wall
  • Keep your chest up and back flat
  • Catch the ball as it bounces off the wall
  • Do all the reps in one direction before switching sides. One set carries 10 throws

8. World's Greatest Stretch

This exercise lengthens nearly every muscle in the core and the essential ones attached, such as the hamstrings, the upper back, etc. This stretch will increase the number of times a golfer can turn.

How to do it:

  • Stand with your back straight and arms to your sides
  • Step forward into a lunge with your right foot
  • Place your left hand on the ground and your right elbow to the inside of your right foot and hold the stretch for two seconds
  • Rotate your right arm and chest to the sky as far as you can and hold for two seconds
  • Take your elbow back and down toward your instep and reach through to your opposite side
  • Place your right hand outside your right foot and return to the starting point
  • Ensure to keep your back knee off the ground and to contract the glutes

9. Arm Bar with Screw Driver

This is a great exercise for improving shoulder mobility, stability, and strength while also strengthening your core and hips.

To perform this exercise, you will need a kettlebell. It's important to remember to use a comfortable weight to avoid any risk of injury. At first, it might be a little hard to get used to however, with consistent practice, you will begin to see the benefits of the exercise.

Here is how we do it:

  • Lay on your right side in a fetal position and hold the kettlebell with your right hand close to your chest. Your right elbow should be closing in tight. This is your starting position.
  • Roll on your back such that you're facing upwards towards your ceiling or the sky (if outside). Keep the kettlebell close to your chest
  • Lift the kettlebell so that your right arm is extended forward and upwards towards the ceiling. To lift the kettlebell, you can use both arms before extending the left arm to your side for balance
  • Bend your left knee such that it makes a 90-degree angle to the floor
  • Keep your right arm extended, rotate it clockwise as far as you can, and rotate counter-clockwise as far as you can. This is one repetition
  • Do 3 sets for both arms

10. Lateral Squat

The lateral squat stretches the hip adductors( this is the inside of the thigh), groin, glutes, hamstrings and strengthens the quads. The legs play such an important role in providing power for the golf swing, but they have to be more elastic and powerful. With this exercise, you can build the lower part of the core.

How to do it: 

  • Stand with your feet spread slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
  • Shift your hips to the right and down by bending your right knee while keeping your left leg straight
  • Your feet should be pointing straight ahead and remain flat on the ground
  • Push through the right hip, returning to the starting position
  • Then shift your hips to the left and repeat the exercise in the other direction
  • Ensure to keep your knee on the squat side behind your toes, your back flat and your chest up
  • Repeat one set, with six reps for each direction

11. Backward Lunge with Tilt

This is a great exercise that stretches the hip flexors, glutes, groin area, and oblique muscles ( the sides of the torso). Lacking flexibility in these areas doesn't allow your upper body to rotate very well during the backswing or through to the finish.

How to do it:

  • Step backward with your right foot into a lunge position, and contract your right glute
  • Reach your right hand over your head and laterally crunch your torso to the left
  • Return to the starting position. Switch legs, and repeat the exercise
  • One set carries six reps for each leg

12. T-Hip Rotations

The T-hip rotations exercise stretches the hips and also strengthens the adductors.

How to do it: 

  • Stand on your left leg and hold a support with your left hand. You can use a chair
  • Rotate through your left hip by dropping your chest and lifting your right leg to the ceiling to create a "T" with your body
  • While holding on with your left hand, open your hips and shoulders toward the ceiling until you feel a stretch on the outside of your left hip. Hold for two seconds
  • Rotate your hips and shoulders down and across your body until you feel a stretch on the outside of your left hip. Finish on one side before starting the other
  • Remember to move your hips and shoulders as one unit
  • Keep the leg you're standing on slightly bent at the knee and keep your back leg lifted toward the sky throughout the movement
  • Repeat for six reps on each side

13. Mini Band Walk Forward and Sideways

Forward

What makes this exercise effective is the stretch bands' resistance against your legs as it activates and strengthens the glutes, which are key to maintaining a stable base when you swing, especially at faster speeds.

How to do it:

  • Place a mini-band around your legs above the knee and another around your ankles
  • Walk forward in small steps, keeping your knees bent and alternating the elbows driving back with each step
  • Keep your back straight and your knees over your toes at all times
  • One set carries 10 steps in each direction

Sideways

The sideways exercise effectively activates and strengthens the hips, groin, quads, and glutes, which are all key, to maintaining a stable base when you swing, especially at faster speeds.

How to do it: 

  • Place a mini-band around your legs above the knee and another around your ankles
  • Walk sideways in small steps, keeping your legs fairly straight and alternating the elbows driving back with each step
  • Keep your back straight and your knees over your toes at all times
  • One set carries 10 steps in each direction

About the author 

Andrew Robertson

My name is Andrew and I have been playing golf since I was 5! I currently play on HCP 2 and I have been working as both PRO for many years where I have been instructing both junior golfers and more established and experienced golfers. I have been working part-time at a large Golf Shop where I have been in charge of purchasing and custom fitting. My favorite item in the bag at the moment? My TaylorMade Spider X Putter, for sure. I hope you enjoy my guides here at Pine Club Golf. Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at Andrew@pineclubgolf.com if there is something you want to ask!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}