Strength Exercises for Golf
To achieve excellence in golf, you need to be physically prepared in terms of strength and fitness. Professional golfers incorporate strength training for positive outcomes in their game.
Even if you’re an amateur or recreational golfer, strength training helps you endure the extended time of a typical round.
You don’t want to fade out in the last few holes because you’re feeling tired.
Below we highlight 17 of our favorite golf strength exercises you can perform. We also have created this training program if you want a fitness plan to follow.
Top 17 Golf Strength Exercises to Add to Your Workouts
Here are 17 strength exercises for golf to help you improve clubhead speed, driving distance, swing, and power:
#1: Front Squats
Front squats give you more strength for improved stability, speed, rotation, and power. The primary muscles involved are the gluteus maximus, quadriceps, and hamstrings.
The gluteus maximus influences your downswing, backswing, and follow-through.
- Stand straight with your feet about the width of your shoulders and your toes pointing out.
- Extend your arms straight out and curl them to have your hands in front of your shoulders. Your elbows should be shoulder-height and pointing straight forward.
- Squat by bending your knees and hips. Keep your back straight and continue facing forward.
- Push yourself back up to the starting position by straightening your legs and begin again. Start with no weight at all in 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions. As you get stronger, add a barbell and then a little weight at a time.
#2: Lunges with a Twist
Lunge exercises help in strengthening your lower body, including glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves.
The twist promotes the functional hip movement patterns you need as a golfer. Studies show that golf requires movement patterns similar to the lunge strengthening exercises.
- Start in a standing position and step forward with one foot until it reaches a 90 degrees angle. Your front knee shouldn’t extend past your toes, and your rear knee should be parallel to the ground.
- Use your core to twist your torso in either direction after you lunge your leg forward, and you feel stable. Twist toward the right if your right leg is lunged and vice versa.
- Hold for a few seconds and twist your torso back to the center. Step back to standing upright and repeat. Complete 2-3 sets of 10 lunge twists on either side for best results.
#3: Hand Walks
Hand walks can help you reduce the risks of a shoulder injury and prevent the painful golfers’ elbow. Golfers elbow results as you swing from one side many times from the top of the backswing.
- In a standing position, bend forward from your waist and place your palms on the ground.
- Walk forward slowly using your hands for a push-up position.
- While keeping your knees straight, walk up to your hands with your toes.
- Maintain that pose until you feel a stretch, then move your hands forward and repeat. Perform 2 sets of 10 reps.
#4: One Arm Dumbbell Bench Press
The one-arm dumbbell bench press improves the strength of your arms and shoulder stability. It enhances your arm muscle which is critical for swing performance and clubhead speed.
- Start by resting only one side of your body while lying down on a bench.
- If you’re starting with your right arm, your right buttock and shoulder blade should be off the bench. Hold the bench above your head with the left hand.
- Grip a dumbbell with your right hand and stretch your arm upwards.
- Lower your right arm steadily until it is level with your shoulder. Start again and perform 2 sets of 10 presses for each arm.
Deadlifts strengthen leg and posterior trunk muscles for longer and powerful drives. Weak trunk muscles and lousy posture leave you vulnerable to golf injury. Deadlifts help you attain an ideal posture in every swing.
- Start by positioning yourself in an athletic stance and get a full grip on a bar.
- Lock your back to maintain the lumbar curve and flex your chest and abs in a deadlift position.
- Extend your knees and hips to explode in a standing position while your back stays flat and chest up.
- Reverse the motion steadily as you lower the bar to the floor. Perform 4 sets of 8 reps.
#6: Wrist Curls
Wrist curls strengthen your grip and the core muscles of your hand. Research on elite golfers shows you should focus on strengthening your non-dominant hand for improved drive distance. Here’s a guide on wrist and elbow injury prevention for golf.
- Grip a dumbbell with one hand and sit on a stable chair or bench.
- Rest your forearm on your thighs with your wrist hanging off and your palm facing up.
- Lower the weight as far as possible without strain and curl your wrist up towards your body. Perform 10 curls on your dominant hand and 15 on your non-dominant hand.
- Turn your grip to have your palms facing away from you and complete 12 curls on each hand. This strengthens all your hand muscles.
#7: Seated Rotations
Seated rotations are an easy and effective way to strengthen your oblique muscles and spine rotation. Rotational biomechanics exercises can help you improve swing performance and decrease injury risk.
- Sit facing forward in a chair and ensure your spine isn’t resting on the back of the chair.
- Cross your arms in the front and sit as tall as possible on the chair with feet on the floor and knees pointing forward.
- Turn your head and trunk as far as possible to one side while the lower body remains in the same position.
- After a few seconds, return to the neutral position and repeat for the other side. Perform 2 sets of 10 rotations for both sides.
#8: Yoga Ball Push Up
The yoga ball push-up strengthens your scapular and rotator cuff muscles for improved back and shoulder movements. It will help you maintain regular motion in golf swings and prevent shoulder instability.
Also check out this guide on increasing your shoulder turn for longer golf drives.
- Assume a push-up position with your feet on the floor and hands on the ball.
- Lower yourself in the downward motion of a push-up until your chest lightly touches the ball.
- Carefully balance the ball while pushing up as high as you can. Perform 2 sets of 10 ball push-ups.
#9: Medicine Ball Throw
Throwing a moderately heavy medicine ball can improve your swing power, speed, and balance. It strengthens your obliques to help you turn your hips and torso as you play.
- Stand a few away from a solid wall in a perpendicular position while holding the ball at waist level.
- Rotate your trunk on one side from the wall and take a golf stance with knees bent slightly.
- Initiate the throw in one motion by thrusting your hips, trunk, arms, and the ball towards the wall.
- Catch the ball and repeat the throw on the opposite side. Perform 10 reps on each side.
#10: Sword Pulls
Sword pulls help strengthen the external rotation of your shoulders. This exercise ensures you have control of the club and its trajectory as you perform a backswing.
- Stand in a golf stance while holding a dumbbell in your right hand. Place your left hand behind your back.
- Rotate your shoulder internally to have the thumb of your right hand pointing to your left hip.
- Extend the weight away from your body as you rotate your shoulder to have the thumb pointing behind you.
- Switch the dumbbell to the left hand and repeat. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps on each side.
#11: Single Leg 1 Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Use a light dumbbell (8-10 lbs.) to start out with. Stand upright and lift the arm that’s holding the dumbbell up to 90 degrees, bend the arm at the elbow and create another 90-degree angle.
Once your arm is in place, lift the same foot that is holding the weight off the ground, thus you will be balancing on one leg.
Once in position raise the dumbbell up to the sky by straightening your arm, do 10 repetitions per side and repeat the exercises 2 or 3 times.
This exercise is great for both shoulder stability, strength and balance.
#12: Bent Over Row
For this golf exercise start out by using 2 light weights (10-20 lbs.) in each hand. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and bend forward through your hips at a 45-degree angle.
Let your arms hang straight down while holding the weights. From this position pull the weights up towards your sides while keeping the rest of your body stable, get the feeling of pinching something between your shoulder blades.
This exercise is very efficient in strengthening your upper back. Do 10 repetitions and repeat the exercise 2 or 3 times.
#13: Cable Horizontal Rotations
For this exercise use either a cable machine or a resistance band. Lift both arms up to 90 degrees, straighten the arms out and grab a hold of the handle of the cable or resistance band.
It is important to stand upright with the cable or band directly towards the side of your body as illustrated in the image below.
From this position while keeping your lower body still use the upper body and shoulders to rotate your hands towards the opposite side of your body while maintaining straight arms throughout.
Repeat this very good rotational strength exercise 2 or 3 times and do 10 repetitions each time.
#14: Goblet Squats
Use a medium weight (15-20 lbs.), stand uprights and hold the weight up in front of your chest with your elbows tucked in next to your sides.
From this position squat down by bending your knees until your elbows touch your knees and then get back up. This exercise is very efficient in strengthening your glutes.
Do 10 repetitions 2 or 3 times during your workout.
#15: Lateral Lunges
Stand upright with your feet together, step out towards the side as far as you can and shift your weight into the glute/hip of that same leg while keeping the other leg in place.
It is important to keep the hip and knee aligned of the leg that is lunging in order to ensure stability within the exercise.
Keep your hands straight out in front of you to maintain your balance.
Return back to the start position and repeat the same motion on the other side. Do 10 repetitions per side and repeat the exercise 2 or 3 times.
#16: Swiss Ball Hamstring Curls
Use a Swiss ball for this exercise, lie flat on your back with your legs straight out next to each other and with your heels on top of a Swiss ball.
From this position lift your hips up to form a bridge and then bend through the knees and pull the ball towards your glutes.
It is important to maintain the same height off the ground with your hips throughout the exercise. Repeat the tucking motion 10 times and do the exercise 2 or 3 times during a workout.
#17: Leg Raises Core Strength
Lay flat on the ground for this core exercise to build strong abdominal muscles which will help power the golf swing.
Once lying flat on your back, raise your two feet up toward the sky until your legs are vertical.
Slowly lower them back down together until they are almost horizontal again. But don’t let your heels touch the ground.
Now pause a brief second with the heels hovering just above the ground and then return back upward again, lifting the legs toward vertical to point at the sky.
Complete 15-20 reps for each set and you should feel the lower abs being activated during this strength training exercise.
Why Strengthen Both Your Upper & Lower Body
A good solid golf swing is a swing that is generated through the use of a person’s “big” muscles.
Our big muscles are our hips and shoulders. In order to use our big shoulder muscles instead of our small hand and arm muscles it is important to have a strong and stable upper body.
The lower body can be described as the engine room of the golf swing. It is thus very important to have a strong, stable lower body to be able to generate maximum power and speed.