Chest Exercises for Golfers

Contrary to popular belief, golf is a rigorous and demanding sport for your body. People who are not familiar with the playing concepts of golf believe that it is as simple as swinging a club to impact the ball. These people fail to understand the multitude of complexities that go into making a swing.

The timing of the golf swing to hit a small white ball. The speed the club needs to have while also staying on the correct path. How the muscles, body, and spine all work together to make this happen.

For those individuals who do understand golf and have even played on occasion, they may believe in the concepts mentioned above but they still might fail to comprehend various other minute details that could transcend their games to the next level.

Most amateur golfers also do not fully understand the preparation that your body requires in order to play the sport at a better and more consistent level.

An apt comparison to the strength required in your core can be to that of a car engine, the more horsepower that the engine has, the faster the car will go.

Similarly, the stronger the core of a golfer, the better their game becomes. It can be seen that all the top players on the tour spend hours upon hours in the gym trying to get their body in the right shape to compete.

The physical wear and tear that is caused by playing competitive golf is criminally underrated.

Therefore, by putting in the necessary time in the gym and completing one’s strength training, you can not only substantially increase the distance on your shots but also improve your accuracy and control over the golf clubs as well.

The importance of having a solid, well built chest is as critical to the game of golf as playing the right club from the right distance.

You will see below a list of chest exercises that can be done by golfers of all levels, which will greatly help them improve your game, and their physical fitness in general.

Resource: Golf Practice System with Step by Step Practice Plans + Video Lessons

Best Golf Exercises to Build Chest Muscle

Exercise 1: The Bench Press

This is a bodybuilding and weightlifting exercise which requires you to sit on a bench with your feet planted on the floor while lifting the weight with both of their arms.

If you are a beginner in the gym, it would be recommended for you to start off slow and use a lesser weight amount in your lifting.

Pick a weight you feel comfortable with and look to do 3 sets of 8 repetitions.

It is key to remember not to overdo it with the weight being used as initially the goal is to get your body used to lifting weights and the weight itself can be increased over time.

Nothing can be achieved by lifting very heavy weights just once or twice, rather they key in this regard is repetition and therefore it will be imperative to put in a minimum of 2 or 3 months while going at least 2 times a week.

If you are not a beginner in the gym, it is recommended for you to lift slightly heavier weight. With the weights you choose it is suggested that you do either 5 sets with 5 reps or 6 sets of 4 reps.

The first set will make you feel comfortable however, the last set should be almost impossible to do.

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Exercise 2: The Close Grip Bench Press

This exercise is quite similar to the one mentioned above, however in this your hands are closer together and your elbows rest on your side. This can be for your triceps but works your chest as well.

For beginners, this should be followed by the bench press exercise mentioned above. The aim for this exercise can be to do 2 or 3 sets of either 8 or 6 reps.

The weight in this once again should be something which you are comfortable with as the aim is to not stress out your muscles, this is the reason for keeping the reps lower than usual as well.

For experienced people in the gym, if you have started with the first exercise, the aim should now be for 3 sets of 6 reps with a heavy weight. This will cause the body and the arms to tire quickly, so you must beware of exhaustion early.

Read: Best Shoulder Exercises for Golf

Exercise 3: Incline Bench Press

This exercise is excellent for working the chest, it works in a manner that exercises your pecs, front head and the triceps.

For beginners in the gym, it is recommended that instead of using weights, you use the incline press machine at their local gym. You should pick a weight you are comfortable with and look to do 3 sets of 8 reps. This will help you in gaining the initial muscle mass you are after.

For experienced individuals, it is recommended that you use heavy weights and aim for 3 sets of 6 reps. This can be done using barbells or dumbbells.

Exercise 4: Dips

Dips are another terrific exercise for strengthening the chest area. This also simultaneously works the triceps as well.

It can be seen as a vertical push up rather than the traditional horizontal one. The key to make this is a chest exercise is to make sure your hands are spread further apart.

For beginners, you can put your hands on a flat surface with your feet on the floor and carry out this exercise by pushing yourself down and then pulling yourself back up. 3 sets of 10 reps are recommended for this exercise.

For experienced individuals you can add some weight through a vest or a belt, and in doing so it is recommended to do 3 sets of 6 repetitions.

Exercise 5: Dumbbell Flies

This exercise works the chest into a state of exhaustion. This is a highly recommended exercise in almost any chest program.

For starters, you can use a weight on the dumbbells which you are comfortable with and do 3 sets of 10 repetitions. For experienced individuals, take a more challenging weight and aim for 3 sets of 8 repetitions.

Exercise 6: Incline Dumbbell Flies

This is very similar to the exercise mentioned above, the only difference is that this is done on an incline bench which helps focus more on the chest.

This exercise is considered perfect for golf players as the swinging movement is what we want to add power to.

For beginners the aim is similar to the one above, you should try for 3 sets of 10 repetitions of a comfortable weight.

For experienced people, aim to find a heavy weight and go for 3 sets of 6 repetitions. 

Exercise 7: Push-ups

Push-ups is the oldest and most successful exercise in the book. This is a highly underrated exercise to work out the chest.

For beginners the aim is to have 3 sets of 10 repetitions. Once you are more comfortable with this amount, you can aim for 3 sets and 6 repetitions with a weight on your back.

Exercise 8: Rotational Chest Opener Exercise

This is an excellent work out to build rotational strength and stability in your chest and shoulders. This is closely curated for golfers as it assists them in having more power and control over their swing.

This can be done using a resistant band, and it requires you to do around 10 to 20 repetitions. Once you have completed them on one side, you switch to the next.

Exercise 9: Chest Stretch

This is an exercise designed to warm up the chest right before you start your round of golf.

This is to be done against a wall, the key is to stretch your arm against a wall and lean forward while feeling some stretch in the chest area, and to hold this for a few seconds.

Then repeat this on the same side before doing it twice on the opposite arm as well.

Exercise 10: Double Kneeling Chest Press

This exercise is great at working out your pecs, this is imperative as it helps you rotate and generate powerful swing with good clubhead speed. This exercise can be done using a rubber tubing or cable cross machine with a kneeling pad.

You must kneel on the ground and use the cross cable to lower the pulley to shoulder height. Push your hand forward and turn your body so as to fully rotate your body and pull your abdomen inwards in order to contract it.

The aim for this exercise is to do 20 repetitions on each side in order to really work your pec muscles.

Exercise 11: Modified Push-ups

This exercise is suitable for golfers who have not been working out for a while or the beginners. It allows you to work in a range of motion best suitable for you and takes a similar angle to standard push-up.

How to do it

  • Bend in a high plank position putting your hands flat on the floor shoulder width apart and your wrists under the shoulders
  • Keep your body straight on a long line, bend your arms and lower the chest to the ground without touching the floor
  • Push your body up back to the starting position
  • You can do at least 10 to 20 reps

Resource: Golf Practice System with Step by Step Practice Plans + Video Lessons

Exercise 12: Alternate Shoulder Flies

This is another good exercise for strengthening the chest. It mimics the motion of the backswing and follow through.

How to do it

  • Stand with the weight stacks of a cable cross machine on your right side
  • Grab the handle with your left hand and lift the weight slowly out of your left side.
  • Stop at the shoulder height and lower the weight slowly back to its starting position
  • Turn your body so that the weight stack sits on your left side and repeat the exercise with your right hand
  • Do three sets in about 15 reps at low weight

Exercise 13: Military Push-ups

Military push-ups are similar to standard push-ups with the only difference is that you’ll do it with your arms close to your body. It puts emphasis on your triceps and chest ensuring you maintain proper body form required for playing golf.

How to do it

  • With your hands flat on the floor shoulder width apart and wrists under the shoulders, get in the high plank position.
  • Your elbow should face behind
  • Your body should lie straight in one long line
  • Bend your arms and lower your body close to the floor without touching. Ensure you keep your arms close to the torso while moving
  • Push yourself back up to the starting position
  • You can do 10 to 20 reps depending on your strength
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Exercise 14: Flat Chest Press

This involves pushing your chest on a flat surface that provides support to your weight. Your feet are firmly anchored on the ground, and your legs and core provide the leverage to move the weight.

This exercise is not meant for building big chest muscles, but to give you the strength and a more athletic body.

How to do it

  • Lie on your back on a bench or a step
  • Place your feet on the bench with two dumbbells in each hand
  • Extend your arms up above your chest
  • Bend your elbows and move the weights away from your body downwards to form right angles with your arms
  • Return to the start position and repeat the process about 15 times

Exercise 15: Saggy Shoulder Solutions

This exercise will help improve your posture alignment strengthening the chest and prevent sagging.

How to do it

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart rotating your hips forward
  • Extend your arms downwards placing the Stretch trainer parallel to your back
  • Pull both ends of the Stretch Trainer taking the slack out
  • Lift your arms until you feel your chest expand and your shoulder stretch
  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat in about 10 reps

Final Thoughts on Chest Exercises for Golfers

These exercises when done together really assist you in opening up your chest and strengthening it. This helps you with a smoother yet powerful swing.

When your chest muscles are well built, it helps you increase clubhead speed and therefore increase the distance and control over your shots.

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Nick Foy, Instructor

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