The 8 Best Golf Exercises: A Full Strength Workout For Golfers

As with any sport, strength training is vital to being a well-rounded, strong, and healthy athlete. Strength training complements athletic performance and, if done consistently, will improve your golf game. 

Strength, flexibility, and balance are all essential to continue to develop your golf skills, such as a more powerful swing and increased endurance on the course.  

In addition, as a golf swing is a complex movement, stressing the hips, shoulders, back, wrists, and elbows, being well-conditioned and fit will minimize the risk of potential injuries.

In this guide, we will detail eight of the best golf exercises with a complete strength training golf workout, so you can lift your way to a better golf game. 

More specifically, we will cover the following:

  • What Are The Primary Muscles Used In Golf?
  • The Benefits of Strength Training For Golfers 
  • The 8 Best Golf Exercises To Improve Your Game
A golfer swinging.

What Are The Primary Muscles Used In Golf?

For a complete strength training workout, you must be sure to hit all the main muscle groups targeted while taking part in your particular sport, in this instance, golf.

Even though it may not seem so, your entire body is worked when playing golf, including all your core muscles, upper back, lower back, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, adductors, chest, forearms, and of course, grip strength. 

When looking particularly at a golf swing, the primary muscle groups targeted are the abdominal muscles and the glutes. 

Overall, we need a total-body strength training workout to condition ourselves properly, with extra emphasis on the glutes and abs.

The Benefits of Strength Training For Golfers 

The numerous strength training benefits for golf make it all the more relevant to include in your training schedule.

Strength training can reduce the risk of golf-related injuries, such as hip or lower back injuries, due to repetitive internal and external rotation of the swing. It can also improve performance, such as increasing driving distance, swing speed, and ball speed, and help fix common muscle imbalances due to the nature of golf. 

Strength training will also improve overall fitness and endurance on the course. Are you convinced yet? Let’s jump into our golf workout!

A person balancing in a plank position on a medicine ball.

The 8 Best Golf Exercises To Improve Your Game

First, some general tips before performing our golf exercises: 

If you are short on time, hitting the gym twice a week (non-consecutive days) should be enough as long as you cover all muscle groups in each session. This means each workout will be a total-body workout, so each muscle group gets worked twice weekly. 

It would be ideal to fit in another day or two of mobility and stability exercises! 

Do 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps of each exercise listed below. If you are new to strength training, start with 2 sets of 8 reps and work your way up. Rest for 30 seconds to a minute between each set so you have enough time to recover. 

As for the golf exercises that call for resistance, such as dumbbells or kettlebells, make sure you use enough weight where the last couple of repetitions feel challenging. If they don’t, the weight is too light, and you need to increase the amount you lift for that particular exercise. 

Let’s get to it and check out our best golf exercises for a total-body, golf-specific gym workout.

#1: Single-Leg Deadlifts 

Single-leg deadlifts will strengthen your hamstrings and glutes while improving your balance. Since you have to balance on one leg, your hip and core muscles will have to work extra hard to stabilize your body.

  1. Stand tall, feet together, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. With your weight on your left leg, hinge at your hips and bring the dumbbells toward the floor while simultaneously lifting your right leg straight back behind you. Your torso and right leg should be parallel to the floor, back flat, and dumbbells reaching the lower part of your shins.
  3. Engage your core as you push through your left heel and straighten back up to the starting position.
  4. Pause and squeeze your glutes.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps, and then switch legs. 

Note:  When returning to your starting position, do not step down on your right foot, but try to stay balanced with your weight solely on your left side. 

#2: Hip Thrust With Dumbbells

As your glutes play a significant part in the power and posture of your swing, they are crucial to strengthen. Glute bridges and hip thrusts are excellent ways to do so.  

  1. Begin by sitting on the floor with the bench behind you, knees bent, and heels on the floor. 
  2. Place your shoulders on the edge of the bench and your dumbbell in your lap.
  3. Engage your core, drive through your heels, and lift your hips upward until you have extended entirely. 
  4. Squeeze your glutes in the extended position. 
  5. Lower down to your starting position in a controlled manner. 
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Note: You can also increase the difficulty of this exercise by doing single-leg hip thrusts. This can also assist in ironing out any muscle imbalances you may have.

#3: Forward Lunges With Rotation

This compound exercise will work not only your lower body but also your upper body, core, and stability overall. The rotation aspect will work your obliques, critical core muscles for your swing. 

  1. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, chest up, and shoulders back, looking straight ahead. 
  2. Hold a kettlebell or medicine ball straight out in front of you, arms parallel to the floor. 
  3. Engage your core and take a big step forward with your right foot, placing your foot on the floor in front of you. 
  4. As you take this step, bend both knees until they reach 90 degrees. Your left knee will be just above the ground, and your right thigh will parallel the floor. 
  5. In this lunge position, rotate to your right, your arms still extended arms and bring the medicine ball to your right side. Then, still in the lunge position, bring the weight back to the center and look straight ahead.
  6. Push off your right foot and return to your starting position. 
  7. Repeat the same lunge beginning with your left foot and rotate to the left side, alternating sides.
  8. Repeat for the desired number of reps. 

#4: Squat + Shoulder Press 

Another compound exercise to work both the lower and upper body, sneaking in some shoulder work, is a squat followed by a shoulder press. 

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward, and a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Place the dumbbells at chest height, palms facing each other. 
  3. Lower down into a basic squat position and pause.
  4. Engage your core, drive through your heels, and raise yourself back up to a standing position, pushing your dumbbells overhead. 
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

#5: Push Up on a Medicine Ball

This one of our golf exercises will not only strengthen your chest, core, and arms but will demand a lot of stability. Remove the medicine ball from the equation if you need to start with regular push-ups. Once you have the basic push-up mastered, give this one a try. 

  1. Place a medicine ball on the floor.
  2. Lie on the floor, facing down, and grip the medicine ball with your hands. 
  3. Get into a plank position while hands are on the medicine ball, arms extended, body in a straight line, feet flexed, and toes on the floor. Engage your core and glutes.
  4. Slowly lower yourself down, bending your elbows and retracting your shoulder blades as you bring your chest toward the ball. Pause in this position.
  5. Push off, extending your elbows and returning to the full plank position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

#6: Single Arm Dumbbell Row

Rows strengthen your back as you retract your shoulder blades with each movement. You can also do this one of our golf exercises with both arms simultaneously.

  1. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, and place your left palm flat on a bench. 
  2. Bend at the waist until you are inclined forward, torso almost parallel to the ground, and back straight. 
  3. Pull the dumbbell up to your chest, your elbow bending behind you.
  4. Pause in this position and lower the dumbbell slowly back to your starting position. 
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps. 
  6. Switch sides. 

#7: Dumbbell Woodchop

This exercise seems as if it were made for golfers! Talk about working on your rotation and strengthening those obliques for your swing. 

  1. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Grip your dumbbell with both hands, one on each side, and bring it down to your left hip. 
  3. In one strong, controlled movement, engage your core and swing the dumbbell diagonally across your body up and above your right shoulder, elbows extended. 
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps. 
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Note: This exercise can be done in a kneeling or half-kneeling position if you want to add more challenge and test your balance. 

#8: Elbow Plank

An elbow plank, a golf exercise.

What workout would be complete without a plank? A plank works your entire body, stability, and core strength.

  1. Lie face down on the floor, hands on either side next to your shoulders, palms facing down.
  2. Engaging your core, prop yourself up into an elbow plank position, body in a straight line from head to feet. 
  3. Your elbows and shoulders should be in a straight line, shoulder-width apart, and weight distributed between your arms and toes.
  4. The closer together your feet are, the more difficult the plank becomes. If you need more stability, separate your feet. 
  5. Hold for the desired amount of time.

Note: There are endless variations of planks to keep your workouts interesting, but with any plank, keep your hips from either sagging or coming up too high. Your body should always be as straight as a board.

There you have it! 8 of the best golf exercises for your next trip to the gym. Improve your golf game, and give these a go!

A squat with dumbells held at shoulder height.
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Katelyn is an experienced ultra-marathoner and outdoor enthusiast passionate about fitness, sports, and healthy living. As a coach, she loves sharing her knowledge and experience with others and greatly desires to motivate people to get fit, become better athletes, and enjoy every minute of the process!

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