Many golfers underestimate the physical demands of the game. But as an experienced golfer, I can confirm that maintaining physical fitness is crucial for enhancing your performance on the green. Heck, without strength and flexibility, a swing is just that, and a miss could cause several injuries, including shoulder and back pain.
To help you build strength and improve flexibility, we’ve outlined some exercises perfect for beginners and experts. But before that;
Why are strength and flexibility important in golfing?
While strength is important, it doesn’t mean you aim for a bodybuilder’s physique. In fact, many pro golfers aren’t that big, but they are adequately fit. Instead, you need a good blend of strength and flexibility.
In golf, strength will help you generate more power and improve swing speed leading to better distance, while flexibility will help you achieve the proper Golf swing sequence resulting in a smoother, more efficient swing.
In other words, you need strength to lift your golf club around the shoulders. But after you reach the threshold, flexibility takes over. Your flexibility will determine how well you turn the shoulders against your hips’ turn. It also determines how well you hold the correct Golf posture on impact, ensuring consistently accurate swings.
That said, both strength and flexibility will help prevent injuries. Some common areas are the hamstrings, neck, shoulders, and back. If these areas are weak and inflexible, swinging a golf club at full force will tighten the muscles and tendons, causing painful injuries.
Exercises to improve strength and flexibility
These exercises focus on vital muscle groups involved in golf. They will assist you in developing the necessary strength and flexibility to hit the ball farther, maintain control, and minimize your risk of injury.
Core strengthening: The basis of your swing
Building core strength is vital for generating a powerful swing and maintaining stability throughout your golf swing. Some core strengthening exercises include:
- Planks: Begin in a push-up position with your elbows bent and your forearms resting on the floor. Keep your body straight from your head to your heels, and hold this position for 30 seconds or more.
- Russian twists: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Lean back slightly and hold a weight or medicine ball with both hands. Rotate your torso to the right, tapping the weight on the floor, then rotate to the left, repeating this for 10-15 reps on each side.
- Bird dogs: Begin on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Extend your right arm and left leg simultaneously, keeping them parallel to the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side, completing 10-15 reps.
Lower body power: Drive the ball farther
Strong legs and hips are essential for generating force and maintaining balance during your swing. Incorporating these lower body exercises into your routine will help you Increase club head speed, drive the ball farther, improve Golf swing tempo as well as improving your overall golf performance.
- Squats: Position your feet shoulder-width apart with toes pointing forward. Lower yourself to a squat position by bending the knees and pushing the hips backward, like sitting in a chair. Keep your torso upright and your core muscles engaged. Press down on your heels to return to the initial position, performing 10-15 repetitions.
- Lunges: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands on your hips. Take a large step forward using your right foot, lowering your body until your right thigh is parallel to the ground and your left knee nearly touches the floor. Press down on your right heel to return to the starting position, then switch to the other side. Carry out 10-15 repetitions for each leg.
- Hip Bridges: Lie flat on your back with knees bent and feet placed on the ground. Place your arms at your sides with your palms facing down. Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off the floor, creating a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Lower your hips back down, and repeat for 10-15 reps.
Upper body strength: Improve swing control and stability
Some good golf exercises to help build upper body strength include:
- Push-ups: Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body until your chest is just above the ground, then push yourself back to the starting position. Complete 10-15 reps.
- Dumbbell rows: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your knees and lean forward from your hips, keeping your back straight. Let your arms hang down, pull the dumbbells up toward your ribcage, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Lower the weights back down and complete 10-15 reps.
- Shoulder press: Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, with your palms facing forward. Press the dumbbells overhead until your arms are fully extended, then lower them back down to the starting position. Complete 10-15 reps.
Flexibility: Enhance your range of motion and reduce injury risk
Incorporating regular golf stretching into your routine can improve your range of motion and reduce your risk of injury.
- Hamstring stretch: Sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you. Reach forward and grab your toes, ankles, or shins, depending on your flexibility level. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
- Hip flexor stretch: Kneel on your left knee with your right foot planted before you, creating a 90-degree angle at both your left and right knee joints. Push your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your left hip flexor. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
- Chest and shoulder stretch: Stand near a doorway or a vertical post. Place your right arm against the door frame or post, with your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle and your forearm pointing upward. Gently lean forward, feeling the stretch across your chest and front shoulder. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
- Trunk rotation: Sit on the ground with your legs extended. Cross your right foot over your left knee, placing your right foot flat on the ground. Place your left elbow outside your right knee and gently twist your torso to the right. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Whether you’re a pro or amateur golfer, a consistent and well-rounded workout plan, along with Nutrition for peak golf performance, Mental focus and Golf fitness training can significantly enhance your performance on the golf course.
Embrace the challenge and enjoy the journey toward becoming a stronger, more flexible, and more skilled golfer.