The weakest part of most golfers’ physiques is the part they need most: the core. The core consists of the rectus abdominals (aka “the coveted six-pack abs”), hips, obliques, glutes and lower back. These muscle groups work together when you’re attempting a golf swing.
Planks are excellent for boosting core strength by building and strengthening your deep inner core muscles. In addition to helping your golf swing, this exercise helps build a solid core and can alleviate lower back issues.
To see how to do a proper plank, check out this blog post for video guidance.
Hanging Leg Raise
The hanging leg raise is another exercise that will improve your golf game through your core. This movement deeply targets the abdominals, attacking them in a different way than planks. Incorporating hanging leg raises into your exercise repertoire will help to develop a more well-rounded core to generate more power on your swing.
Hanging leg raises can easily be performed with any bar or sturdy object (doorway, monkey bars, etc.) to hang from. Once you’re hanging, simply lift your feet straight out as high as you can get them with your knees locked. An alternative is a hanging knee raise, which involves bringing your knees to your chest instead.
As the first stretch on the list, it’s one of the most important. Hip crossovers stretch the muscles and tendons in the hips and lower back, two areas that are critical for golfing. It’s best to do this stretch every time prior to your first shot to get loose so you have more flexibility (allowing greater power) and preventing injury.
To perform hip crossovers, lie on your back with arms out to your sides, and bring your legs up with knees bent, lower legs parallel with the ground. Simultaneously turn your head to the left while you lower your knees to the floor (or as close as you can get) on the right side. Swing the legs over to the left side and rotate your head to the right.
A stronger, denser rear is a game booster for the average golfer. Glute bridges are exercises that can build strength on your glutes and help round out your core. In addition, this movement strengthens the hamstrings and lower back. The thrusting motion of this exercise mimics a golfer thrusting their hips forward while swinging.
For glute bridges, you’ll lie on your back, arms out to your sides, and feet tucked in as close to your body as you can get them comfortably. Once in position, you’ll lift your core, focusing on tightening your glutes. Contract them all the way to the top, where you’ll feel your hips stretch a bit, then lower back to the ground and repeat.
Lunges With A Twist
One movement that most pro golfers have in their exercise routine is lunges. Lunges individually works your legs while strengthening the core muscles. By adding a twisting motion to the movement, you engage the oblique muscles.
With these lunges, you’ll do the normal lunge movement, but once you’ve extended the leg forward, you’ll add a twist (you can hold a weight or medicine ball for extra resistance). Always twist to the outside of the extended leg. Once you twist, you’ll reset and do it with the opposite leg.
Standing Shoulder Press
Strong shoulders are critical to your golf game. Performing the standing shoulder press builds shoulder strength as well as your core muscles (because you’re doing the exercise standing up).
It’s best to do this exercise with dumbbells or resistance bands (if you have lower back issues). Start by standing in a strong, upright stance with your elbows bent on both sides, forearms and hands point upward with your weight or bands. Then extend your arms upward and bring them back down slowly to the start position. Focus on feeling the exercise in your shoulders and be careful not to put stress on your lower back.
Jumping rope isn’t just for boxers. Golfers can benefit greatly from Rocky’s favorite exercise. Jumping rope builds wrist strength, which helps with gripping a golf club as well as the calves, thighs, hamstrings, glutes, abdominals, forearms, and shoulders.
Inverted Hamstring Stretch
Although it’s not part of the core, the hamstrings allow the core muscles to fire properly. That’s why stiff hamstrings will hinder your golf game and they can even cause lower back problems. Doing a few reps of inverted hamstring stretches on each leg will loosen the hamstrings.
Start standing and tightening the core. Lean forward with your head and reach your arms out to each side. As you lean forward, bring your back leg up behind your as close to perpincular with your other leg as you can and then hold that position. Focus on feeling the stretch in your planted leg and balancing with your core.
Staying on the topic of hamstrings, stiff-leg deadlifts (also called Romanian deadlift or straight leg deadlifts) are one the best exercises to build upper hamstring strength. This movement builds the hamstrings along with the lower back and glutes.
To perform stiff-leg deadlifts, all you need to do is get in a standard deadlift postition and then straighten your knees out more than usual (they don’t have to actually be completely locked – in fact, for most poeple they probably won’t be). Then you can perform the deadlifts as you would with the standard variation.
Lateral Hops With Cones
Gain strength and power for your back swing with lateral hops. This is a simple exercise where you hop from cone to cone. This movement builds hip explosiveness as well as adding strength to your hamstrings and quadriceps.
Medicine Ball Rotation Slams
Want to win the longest drive at your next golf tournament? Medicine ball rotation slams can help you accomplish that feat. This movement improves your down swing by engaging and strengthening the core, hips, shoulders, and upper back. It’s an explosive movement that will power your swing, especially for long drives.
To perform medicine ball rotations slams, stand up with knees slightly bent and medicine ball hanging in both hands in front of you. Rotate the ball to the left, up and around (like hands on a clock) and slam the ball down on your right side. Repeat for the opposite side.
Standing Wood Chop
If you want a better golf swing, it’s imperative to do exercises that mimic that movement. Standing wood chop fits the bill. This exercise engages the hips, back, and shoulders, while increasing strength and improving flexibility. For maximum effectiveness, it’s best to do standing wood chops with a cable pulley machine or medicine ball, but you can also use dumbells or other objects.
Start in a lunge position with one leg back and one leg forward, both knees bent. Hands come together out in front of you, level with your midsection, to hold your weight and you’ll start by rotating slightly to the left to “load” your swing. Once you’re in that loaded position, you’ll start to twist in the opposite direction, bring the weights upwards (like you’re raising an axe to chop wood) and then bring the weight back down to the starting position. Repeat for the opposite side.
To separate yourself from other golfers, you have to be a “renegade.” With renegade rows, the movement engages muscle groups that are pivotal for swinging a golf club such as the core, biceps, rear deltoids (back of the shoulders), forearms and the majority of your back.
To do renegae rows, you’ll start with dumbbells on the ground about shoulder width apart; the dumbells should line up with your body. Get in a pushup position, with hands grasping the dumbbells. The wider apart you set your feet, the easier the exercise will be, so adjust to your desired level of difficulty. Start by contracting your abs and pulling the left dumbbell up, like a dumbbell row. Be sure to keep your hips straight and don’t rotate them. Repeat for the right side. You can also add a pushup in between reps to make it even more challenging.
Besides walking, there probably isn’t a more universal exercise than pushups. Pushups not only help build a well-proportioned upper body, but can improve your golf skillset as well. This exercise strengthens muscle groups that are critical for a superb golf swing: chest, abdominals, core, and triceps.
For a challenging version of the pushup, check out the Bosu Ball Pushup here.
One of the most challenging yet effective exercises to master is the pullup. This movement stimulates important “golfing” muscles such as the back, forearms, biceps, and rear deltoids. If pullups are too difficult, you can start with lat pulldowns (at the gym) instead.
Jumping is an excellent way to strengthen your overall lower-body. Of course, this boosts your golf game, too. Jump squats activate your core as well as about every muscle group in your lower body, including your thighs, calves, hamstrings, and glutes.
For jump squats, you’ll get in the same position as standard body weight squats, but when you thrust upward you’ll go ahead and lift off the ground, landing softly with knees bent.
Take Your Golf Game To The Next Level With These Exercises & Stretches
You’ll be amazed at just how beneficial these exerciese are for your golf game. With a stronger core, better flexibility, and improved supporting muscles, you’ll be able to do more with less effort while preventing common golfing injuries.