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What Exercises Are Good For Golfers?

Quick Answer - Anything that builds power, strength and stability.

Whether you are looking to hit the ball further, play pain free or finish the round without fatigue, building an exercise regime around your golf will be of huge benefit.

But with so many exercises, routines and machines out there, where is the best place to start?

Golf is a game that works on two complete opposite ends of a spectrum. The golf swing itself is a powerful, explosive movement that occurs in a matter of seconds. However, playing a round of golf involves walking in excess of 10,000 steps over a four hour period. We use our body in completely different ways to perform each side of the game, and therefore our training needs to match.

With the golf swing being an explosive movement, exercises that build strength and power are great to utilise. Building both upper and lower body strength is not only a proven way to increase club head speed but will also act as a barrier to picking up injuries.

golfer doing a golf fitness exercise wearing a red top

For the lower body, exercises that include squat, lunge and hinging movements should all be used. These all have hundreds of exercise variations and choosing the right ones for you will depend on multiple factors. If you have access to resistance training equipment then standard examples of these movements are:

  • Barbell Squat

  • Dumbbell Lunge

  • Barbell Deadlift

For the upper body, try to incorporate both pushing and pulling movements. Again, there is a large selection of exercises to choose from but here are some basic examples:

  • Barbell Bench Press

  • Barbell Shoulder Press

  • Pull Up

  • Dumbbell Row

With golf being a rotational sport, some golf fitness coaches will prescribe rotational strength work. This may be in the form of torso rotation movements with resistance, or even exercises working on resisting rotation. Exercises like the pallof press and banded torso rotations are commonly used.

As your strength increases you can also begin to incorporate some power based movements. Exercises like box jumps or olympic lifting exercises like the power clean can be great options for those looking to build extra speed in their swing.

If everything I have mentioned above scares you, don’t panic. All of the exercises mentioned above have a large number of variations available. No matter what your starting point is, what equipment you have access to or what injuries you may have recovered from, there is a variation for you. Just think of it this way, everytime you get on and off the toilet, that's a squat. If you find any way to improve your strength in the key movements of squat, lunge, hinge, press, pull and rotate, you will be on your way to playing better, risk free golf.

Away from the golf swing, the other side of the game requires some different considerations. In players who experience fatigue in the later part of the round I have had success with only prescribing strengthening movements but I believe there is also a lot to be said for playing more golf. The more we play, the fitter we feel on the course. If playing more is not an option for you, imitating the conditions and demands in other ways works wonders. Try to get out walking or hiking or enjoy other sports like football or tennis. Specific movements are less important for this aspect of the game, simply the fitter we are off the course, the fitter we will feel on it.

In summary, If you are new to exercise, start with some basic strengthening work using whatever equipment you have access to. For more experienced trainers, start to include some power work on top of your strength training. Becoming stronger in key areas truly is the proven way to better, pain free golf.


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