Whether you are hoping to give Tiger Woods a run for his money or enjoy the occasional hack and slash around your local public golf course, performing some golf-specific exercises can help improve your game. Strength and mobility are essential for a powerful, full-range golf swing and, if you develop these attributes well, you should see your ball soar further than ever before.
Core Rotation with Stabilization
A golf swing is a rotational movement that must come from a stable base if your shot is to be not only powerful but also accurate and repeatable. Rotational movements require strong oblique or waist muscles. To train your obliques while simultaneously developing lower body stability, place a loop-style resistance band around your knees and stand sideways to a shoulder-high cable machine. Grasp the handle in both hands and, with your feet wider than shoulder-width distance apart and your knees slightly bent and pushed outward, rotate your upper body 180 degrees away from the machine. Return to the start position and repeat. Perform 12 to 20 repetitions and then change sides.
While it may appear that a golf swing is all about shoulder strength, in actuality, most of the power comes from your hips. One of the most effective exercises for developing hip strength is the kettlebell swing. Hold a kettlebell in front of your hips and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly, push your butt back and then hinge forward from your hips. Lower the weight between your knees. Drive your hips forward and use this momentum to swing the weight forward and up to shoulder height. Keep your arms straight. As the kettlebell falls back down, hinge forward from the hips again in readiness for your next swing. Perform 12 to 20 repetitions without rounding your lower back.
Lunge with a Twist
Walking around a golf course takes leg endurance, which will improve with increased leg strength. Your golf swing will also benefit from stronger legs. The stronger your legs, the more stable you will be on your feet, which means you will be swinging your club from a much more solid platform. Lunges are an effective leg developer. In addition, lunges also develop balance, an important factor in golf. Adding a twist works the oblique or waist muscles, which are very important for a good golf swing.
Stand with your feet together and your arms extended straight in front of you at shoulder height. Take a large step forward and then bend your legs; lower your rear knee to within an inch of the floor. As you descend, rotate your upper body so that you move away from your leading leg. Stand back up and repeat leading with the opposite leg and turning to the opposite side. Make this exercise more demanding by holding a medicine ball or dumbbell in your hands.
Supine Spinal Twist
Good spine mobility means you will be able to swing your golf club through a wider arc. Assuming you maintain the same level of power and hit the ball accurately, this should result in a longer drive. In addition, because golf movements focus on one side of the body, stretching the muscles on both sides of your waist and spine may help reduce your likelihood of suffering an injury.
To stretch your spine and core muscles, lie on your back with the left leg bent, foot flat on the floor and the right leg extended. Reach with your right hand and hold your bent knee. Keeping your left arm extended at shoulder-height, pull your bent knee over to the right so your lower body twists to the right. Keep your shoulders on the ground and your right leg extended. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and then slowly change sides.
- My Golf Spy.com: Trevor Immelman's Personal Workout
- Kettlebell Golf Workout: Kettlebell swing for Golfers
- ExRx.net: Kettlbell Two-arm Swings
- American Council on Exercise: What Are Some Good Golf Exercises?
- Stop Sports Injuries.com: Golf Injury Prevention
- Fitness Republic: Supine Spinal Twist - Supta Matsyendrasana
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images