My Top Strengthening Exercises for Golfers

Golf is widely regarded as an old man’s game, slow paced and not very physically exerting. That’s partly true of course, it’s not as if we’re having to avoid being socked by a 6ft 6 linebacker, or having to sprint 100 metres in 10 secs or less. Of course there are some physical aspects to the game, the explosiveness in the golf swing is one. This moment of explosiveness places considerable stress on your body. If your body isn’t strong, you could suffer game limiting injuries.

Why Would you Look to Increase your Strength and Flexibility?

Although you could achieve added distance and become less injury prone by practising your swing mechanics and perfecting them, you can also improve your golf swing by adding an appropriate strength and stretching exercises around your game. As you increase your strength and your flexibility, your fitness levels will increase and your game will improve. You’ll start hitting further with less effort as your swing speed increases and becomes smoother.

How Do Strength Training and Stretching Result in Distance?

Our muscles operate within a certain range of flexibility, it’s only when they’re relaxed that they can be lengthened further. A targeted stretching program can increase the range of your muscles, as well as the flexibility of your joints, promoting a smoother golf swing. In addition, your muscles also have the ability to contract and shorten, producing explosive power when you need it. A targeted strength workout routine will increase your power, and will also reduce the risk of injury.

An Example Strength Training Program

The following table shows a workout routine targeted towards strength training. You will notice I’ve only included dumbbells as this is more convenient for those of you that work out at home. There are 12 exercises included, every workout over 3 non consecutive days per week. You’ll only need 25-30 mins for each workout as you’ll only be doing 1 set of each exercise. You should start with a weight that you can lift for 8-12 reps, when you have finished the 12th rep, increase the weight by 5% and complete one more rep using good form throughout.

ExerciseMuscle TargetedResult
Step UpQuadsPower production
LungeHamstringsPower production
SquatQuads, hamstrings, glutes, corePower production
Back Extension (Bodyweight)Erector spinaeForce transfer-lower to upper body
Trunk Curl (Bodyweight)Rectus abdominisForce transfer-lower to upper body
Bench PressInternal obliques, External obliques, Pectoralis majorForce transfer-lower to upper body
Single-arm Bent RowLatissimus dorsiSwing action
Lateral RaiseDeltoidsSwing action
Standing CurlBicepsClub control
Overhead Triceps ExtensionTricepsClub control
Wrist CurlForearm flexorsClub control
Wrist ExtensionForearm extensorsClub control

Some notes to remember:

  • Perform each repetition as controlled as possible. If you’re struggling to keep form, the weight could be too much, reduce it and start your set again.
  • Perform 12 reps and increase the weight 5% on the final rep.
  • Perform each exercise for 1 set in every workout.
  • Workout 3 times a week on non-consecutive days ie. Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
  • Workouts should take between 25-30 mins, and no longer than 45 mins. If you’re taking longer than this for the exercises outlined above, you may need to reduce your rest time between exercises.
  • Keep a training log of your progress, noting the extra weight you lifted at the end of each set.
  • Increase your starting weight every week by 2.5kg on each exercise.
  • For video and illustrations of the strength exercises mentioned above, please visit – ExRx.net

As always, if you have any questions or recommendations, or if you have your own weight training program for your golf swing, I’d like to know in the comments below.

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