Though many people think of golf as a leisurely sport that doesn’t require brawn or endurance, there is actually a lot of athleticism involved in a skillful game of golf, which call for some specific golf exercises.
You need quickness and fluidity, control and balance, plus good range of motion as you rotate and strike the ball. The following targeted exercises can help you be fit on the course.
5 Helpful Golf Exercises
- Wood Chop – High to Low
Overall core strength is key to not only improving your golf game, but also protecting you from back pain and injury. This rotational exercise works on your balance and stability while strengthening the core and upper body.
HERE’S HOW: Attach a handle to the top setting of an adjustable cable machine. Stand next to the machine with your feet shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms upward and grab the handle with both hands above one shoulder. With your arms fully extended, pull the handle down and across your body to your opposite side. Allow your hips and torso to rotate, and keep a slight bend in your knees. Slowly reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
- Pelvic Tucks/Bridges
Golfing tends to pull the hips to one side, but what you want is to build mobility in your lower core with your hips staying in neutral balance. There are several variations of a bridge or pelvic tuck exercise that will help you accomplish that.
HERE’S HOW: Lying flat on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor a few inches from your bottom and your arms at your side, slowly curl your tailbone to lift it up off the floor. Roll up through your low spine inch by inch until you are balanced on your upper back, then roll back down the same way, holding your abs and glutes tight and keeping your hip bones level. You can progress this golf exercise by placing your heels on a low bench, and make it even harder by putting your feet in TRX or other suspension straps. Bridge up and down 8 – 12 times.
- Medicine Ball Rotating Lunges
Standard lunges are a good golf exercise for golfers because they strengthen your lower body while stretching attachments into the pelvis. By adding a medicine ball and a twisting move, you will also work on turning your body with added core stability.
HERE’S HOW: Hold a medicine ball at your chest with your arms out in front of you, your spine tall and your abs engaged. As you step forward to lunge with your right leg, let your left knee lower down toward the floor behind you. From that position, rotate the ball to your right side as you pull it in toward your right hip. Turn back to face center and step back again to return to your starting position. Alternate legs/sides, and work up to two sets of 10.
- Bird Dog
You want to be stable when you golf, so you can complete your quick explosive movements with finesse even as your body weight shifts side to side. This therapeutic mat golf exercise is perfect for building that kind of precision.
HERE’S HOW: Get down on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips, squared off with equal body weight on both palms and both knees/shins. Keep your head and neck in line (don’t hang your head or look up). Pull your navel in tight and lengthen your spine, then extend your left arm out in front of you at the same time as extending your right leg straight behind you, both parallel with the floor. Try not to rock or shift, and fight the urge to sink into the right shoulder. Hold for one breath, then return back to start, and repeat on the opposite side. 8 – 12 repetitions on each side should do the trick; it’s a bonus if you can increase your speed while maintaining your form with these.
- Inverted Table Pose
This yoga pose helps “undo” some of the repetitive motions of a golfer, like a forward, downward stance and the club grip that pulls chest closed and shoulders forward. Flexibility and posture are important to golf performance as well as injury prevention.
HERE’S HOW: Think about the “crab walk” you might have done as a child—this position is much like the reverse of being on all fours. Start seated, with your hands behind your hips, fingers facing forward, and your knees bent, feet flat on the floor in line with your hips. Push your torso and seat up off the floor, flattening your spine and creating a “table” pose, looking straight up at the ceiling. You’ll feel a stretch in your shoulders, arms and front of the hips. Hold your abs flat and tighten those glutes, as you breathe deeply and hold the pose for at least 30 seconds.
Add a strength and agility element to this exercise, the “crab reach”. Drop your hips toward the floor and back up. While raising hips also raise one arm toward the ceiling and alternating back and forth.