How to Create an Off Season Golf Workout Program
The golf off season is the perfect time to improve your body and improve your strength by getting on a winter golf workout program.
Because the golf swing is heavily influenced by your physical fitness, you’ll be surprised at the many benefits a winter workout program can bring to your golf swing come next spring.
For example, golfers tend to increase their swing speed after going through a workout training program, which results in hitting longer drives off the tee and hitting further distances with your irons and wedges.
Below you’ll find our best golf exercises for each fitness category.
- Leg workouts
- Core workouts
- Arm workouts
- Cardio workouts
Best Golf Exercises for Building Leg Strength
Every golf workout program should include a heavy focus on the legs and building strength in the legs.
Your legs are a key part of your golf stance and your stability in the golf swing, which are both factors in generating fast clubhead speed in the swing.
Improving power in your legs will naturally help you drive power in your golf swing.
For example, one of our golf friends that plays on the LPGA Tour shared with us how important leg workouts were to her golf game while at the University of Texas in college.
Her most recommended exercise for golfers is squats.
Squats will strengthen not only your glutes but also your shoulders and back which are all large muscles that generate power in the swing.
Top Exercises to Build Strength in Your Legs:
- Split Squats
- Romanian Deadlifts
- Box Jumps
- Sideways Band Walks
To keep this guide condensed, please see YouTube tutorials for instructions on individual leg exercises listed above if you’re unfamiliar with how to perform them.
To see our workout plan and days, schedules, exercises lists, check out this winter workout plan.
Best Golf Exercises for Core / Abs to Build Power
Your core is also an important part of your body in stabilizing your golf swing and preventing injury. Their main responsibility is to stabilize your body so you can swing powerfully without losing your balance or control of the club.
But occasionally the core muscles can become strained and result in injury that sets you back form being able to play golf for several weeks.
Rickie Fowler is a recent example as he had to deal with a core injury during the 2018 FedEx Cup Playoffs and ultimately chose to sit out some of the events to heal up for the USA Ryder Cup.
Core injuries and back injuries often arise from all the twisting and turning in a golf swing. Therefore, it’s important to not take a core workout program lightly.
Here are some of the best golf exercises for building core strength:
- Stability Ball Dumbbell Twists
- Seated Rotations
- Side Plank
- Oblique Crunches
You can add weight if needed or keep it simple with just body weight. For the stability ball dumbbell twists you can grab a 10 lb dumbbell as the name suggests but for beginners it may be best to work on form first with no weight and just the stability ball.
Planks are pretty straight forward but if you need to review a tutorial video on YouTube first, there are plenty. You’ll get down on all fours and maintain a straight line with your body like a plank of wood, holding your body up with tight core muscles. Feel the burn after about 30 seconds to 60 seconds and try to go up to 2 minutes if you can.
Additional variations of crunches and leg lifts / bicycle flutters can be performed as bonus ab workout exercises.
Best Golf Exercises for Shoulders
Next up, we want to add in shoulder exercises to your winter golf workout program.
Shoulder’s are important in the golf swing for allowing the arms to turn and extend properly around the body.
Strong and flexible shoulder muscles allow the golfer to have a solid follow-through and finish. A flexible and solid backswing and follow through are essential ingredients to a consistent golf swing.
Shoulders can also experience inflammation in older golfers and in some cases rotator cuff injuries can result in golfers. Help prevent these injuries by doing light weight shoulder exercises to build up the muscles over time.
Here are some of the best shoulder exercises every golfer should perform:
- Standing shoulder front raises
- Standing side shoulder raises
- Hand walks (get down on all fours)
- Standing shoulder press
- Upright rows with barbell or dumbbells
Best Golf Exercises to Build Back Muscles & Strength
A stiff back or sore back muscles is most common among golfers, especially the next day after you’ve played a round of golf.
For senior golfers, it can take several minutes of warm up exercises at the golf course to get your back loosened prior to playing a round of golf.
I’m sure you understand the impact a sore and stiff back can have on your performance on the golf course so this section should be pretty straight and not need much convincing for you to add it to your golf workout program.
Here are the best back exercises for golfers to undertake:
- Dumbbell Rows
- Widegrip Pull Up
- Widegrip Seated Cable Row
- Close Grip Pull Down
You can perform sets of 10 for each of these exercises and increase to 12 reps over time if needed. We also recommend starting with a moderate weight for a few weeks to get form down before increasing weight.
Best Golf Stretches for Warming Up & Loosening Your Back Muscles
Additionally, you should incorporate a stretching routine to warm up prior to your workout and prior to your rounds of golf.
We wrote an entire guide on the best golf stretches you should check out if you’d like more ideas for creating your golf stretching routine. Plus it includes some of the best flexibility exercises to practice.
Here are some simple golf stretches for loosen the back muscles:
- Lying Knee Grabs
- Standing Knee Grabs
- Standing Toe Touches
- Slow Standing Twists
- Slow Seated Twist Stretches
Lying Knee Grabs – Lay down flat on the ground with your legs extended. Then bend one leg towards your chest and grab it with your hands, pulling it tighter into your chest to stretch the lower back muscles.
Standing Knee Grabs – Standing on one leg, raise your other leg off the ground toward your chest, bending it at the knee and grab your knee, pulling it closer to your chest to stretch your lower back and butt muscles.
Standing Toe Touches – Bend over at the waist and attempt to touch your toes while keeping your legs extended to stretch out the hamstrings as well as your hips and lower back muscles.
Slow Standing Twists – Twist your body from side to side slowly so you don’t strain any muscles. This will loosen your back muscles and core muscles. Sometimes it helps to hold a golf club out in front of you to help the twist motion.
Seated Twist Stretches – Sit down in a chair and twist around so you can grab the back of the chair to help stretch your back muscles. Repeat twisting slowly in the other direction and hold the stretch for a few seconds.
Overall, your winter golf workout program should incorporate all the major muscles groups used in the golf swing to help you build a strong foundation and prevent injury.
This guide covered only the 4 major muscles groups in the golf swing (legs, core, shoulders, and back) but feel free to also mix in bicep / tricep workouts as well as calf and wrist workouts.
For strength building, perform 6 to 8 reps so that you are exerting max force with each rep and do a high number of sets to increase your total work volume your muscles exert during a workout session.
Keeping the reps shorter, helps prevent burnout and muscle fatigue, which allows you to go harder and longer. The more workload you can place on your muscles, the more they’ll grow in response to the work volume stress being placed on them.
For senior golfers, it’s suggested you use lighter weights and increase over time slowly to take maximum caution against injury.
Warm up before working out with cardio like jogging on a treadmill at half speed or doing the stair climber machine to activate your leg muscles.