The whole golf fitness trend started with Tiger Woods. The man looked like an action figure from his vigorous workouts. Now Rory McIllroy is the face of working out in the gym for golf, and he has reshaped his body for better performance. But not all workouts are the same. Some are better than others depending on what you want to achieve from your workout—we are all looking for better performance on the golf course. Therefore, we offer some suggestions on how to improve your golf game with gym exercises.
The muscle groups we use most often in golf are the arms, legs, abdomen and back—with a strong core being the most beneficial to a good consistent swing. I am not a doctor, physical trainer (nor will I play one in my blog), so I have scoured the internet to acquire a good sense of what works best when converting a gym workout into a golf-specific one. There are plenty of helpful places to check out, and we are including a few of them here.
The PGATour.com website offers an informative piece on gym exercises for golf called “The Golf-Gym Workout.” The piece focuses on the back, abs, arms and legs, offering exercises for each muscle group—including the seated row for the back; the triceps dip and dumbbell shoulder press for the arms; the dumbbell shoulder press (on leg to improve stability) and single-leg extension for the legs; and then working the abdominal machines to strengthen the abs.
“The biggest difference between golf fitness training and general fitness training is that after each exercise of 12 to 20 reps, a golfer should complete a stretch that corresponds to the muscle he or she is working,” says the PGA Tour staff that compiled the article. “This allows the blood to flow to the muscle and encourages good flexibility and stamina. You want lean, pliable muscles, not bulky ones.”
The Men’s Health website offers a comprehensive list of workouts, complete with plenty of embedded videos to get you going on your workout. Consulting with a Men’s Health advisor named Bill Hartman, the website suggests a 4-week workout plan to get the average golfer in game shape to improve their game.
“Some of the exercises might feel totally unfamiliar, but they all leverage the newest science of strength,” according to Michael Easter, who wrote the story. “For example, many exercises involve an element of deep, diaphragmatic breathing. Researchers discovered that this innovative method teaches you how to control muscle tension that can throw off skilled movements like a golf swing or putt.”
There is plenty here, and the videos are helpful—so take what works for you and get at it.
Finally, the Men’s Fitness website offers a list of the 10-Best Exercises for Golfers. The list includes seated rotations for improving rotational mobility, standing Ys for shoulder mobility, handwalks to prevent golfer’s elbow or should injuries and the lateral pillar bridge to promote opening of the hips and preventing back pain. The entire list, with instructions for the performing them, is here:
In addition, the Men’s Fitness piece includes a link to a story on “Resistance training for a stronger golf swing,” and certainly that is something we all want. The author suggests doing walking lunges, lying hip extensions and a banded crab walk during the season to strengthen your swing while still maintaining flexibility.
Start any or all of these workouts now and you may begin noticing the improvement in your golf swing and ultimately in your game. You just might start feeling better in general, as well.