6 essential exercises for golfers!
May 2, 2022 - By Vanessa Bouchard
We are no longer in the era of golfers who smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day. Contrary to popular belief, golf is not just a social activity, professional golfers are athletes and train like one. If you are an amateur golfer, why not do the same?
As with all other sports, specific strength training for golf will help improve performance and decrease the risk of injury.
Common golf injuries
The most common golf injuries are to the lower back, elbows, shoulders, and knees. They are mainly due to a lack of proper warm-up, a lack of flexibility and strength in the torso, a poor swing technique and wear and tear. The injury rate is higher for golfers who carry their bags on their shoulders… so don’t be embarrassed about using a small cart with wheels, your back will thank you. Remember the importance of warming up to ready your body. Too often, you arrive at the course, set up and start…with a twisting motion that requires strength and speed. Let’s just say, that’s not ideal.
The right exercises for the golfer
It is essential to work on your swing with a golf professional to make it effective and avoid injury. Strength training that combines strength, power, endurance, and mobility training will complete the package. I strongly recommend that you read the article The 5 best stretches for golf (in French only). Keep in mind that the following exercises should be performed as part of an overall workout that will include all major muscle groups.
Here are your 6 exercises to begin with!
1. The abdominal plank and its variations
The plank will work the abdominal belt in the neutral position. If the abs are not strong and resilient in a static and neutral position, they will not be strong and resilient in a rotational movement either. It is therefore very important to work them to avoid developing lower back pain. Start with the classic plank and aim to hold for up to 60 seconds. Then, you can play with variations of the plank to increase the difficulty (alternating leg or arm lifts, pressing your arms on a ball, etc.).
2. Jumping Lunges
Power, or strength x speed, is very important in the golf swing. This power comes from the legs. It is therefore essential to work on them and the lunge exercise is a good way to challenge them. Adding the jump will bring the aspect of fast contraction, which is related to power. So, don’t aim to do a lot of reps. Stop when you start to lose speed. It’s the speed of contraction that’s important here, not the number of reps (quality before quantity). Start by doing 5-6 reps on each side, alternating. Do regular lunges before jumping in if you don’t have a lot of experience in weight training.
3. Push Jerk
Like the Jumping Lunge, the Push Jerk is a movement that works on power in addition to working on intermuscular coordination and the transfer of energy from the legs to the upper body. This transfer of energy is at the heart of your golf swing and will allow you to hit far without compensating with the torso and arms. To do this, be sure to work with a heavy enough load that you are not able to raise the bar in a military press without any push from the legs. But don’t use a load that is too heavy either, to prevent the movement from being slowed down.
As with the Jumping Lunges, stop the movement when you start losing speed. Do blocks of 6-8 reps and increase the load gradually. This is an advanced exercise that requires full mobility in the shoulder area, so if this is not the case for you, you should work on this specific component in the presence of your kinesiologist.
4. Trunk rotation with cable or elastic
The oblique muscles are very active during the golf swing. This exercise will use them while working on the rotation of the torso. Do not use a very heavy load, as the movement must be performed with speed for the concentric phase, but in a controlled manner and therefore slower for the eccentric phase. Perform this exercise in endurance, therefore with sets of 15 to 20 repetitions. Do not forget to work on both sides.
5. External rotation at the shoulder (elbow at 90 degrees at shoulder height) with cable or elastic
As previously mentioned, shoulder injuries are quite common in the golfing community. The external rotators of the shoulder are very active in the “follow through” phase, when the shot is made, and you want to slow the movement. The rotator cuff (tendons surrounding the shoulder joint) is composed of small muscles, so it is ideal to work them in endurance with sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
6. Single leg deadlift with barbell or dumbbells
The deadlift is a mainstay in weight training. It works mainly the posterior chain of the body, i.e. the hamstrings, the glutes and the back. The single-leg variation is interesting for golfers because, in addition to working the posterior chain, it adds a stability component for the ankle, knee, hip and trunk. Studies have shown that golfers with better balance generally perform better in their sport.
I hope these tips will help improve your performance and enjoyment of the game! Remember that to enjoy your favorite sport, proper training will also help you avoid injuries and optimize your season!
Enjoy your workouts!
- Meira, Erik P. et Brumitt, Jason (2010) Minimizing injuries and enhancing performance in golf through training programs, Sports Health, 2 (4), 337-344
- Hrysomallis, Con (2011) Balance ability and athletic performance, Sports Medicine, 41 (3), 221-232
6 essential exercises for golfers! is a post from Nautilus Plus. The Nautilus Plus blog aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
Copyright © Nautilus Plus 2022
A session with a personal trainer will help you to progress!
Let's determine your fitness goals together and get some expert advice!Make an appointment with a personal trainer