The key to lowering your handicap in golf is to actively work on your swing. This means consistent practice and learning how to make adjustments and improvements to swing, while also increasing your strength and flexibility so that you can carry the ball further.
Whether you have good mechanics or not, it all starts with having strong, flexible muscles. Building a solid workout and fitness routine is vital to long-term golf success.
We researched the most effective, healthiest exercise for golfers and listed them below. When you incorporate these golf exercises into your workout routine, you will see lower scores.
Here are the 11 best exercises for golfers that both men and women can do. These workouts are designed to boost your core and upper body strength, increase hip flexibility and mobility, and ultimately help you play better golf.
- Push-Ups (5 sets of 20)
- Rotational Lunges (2-3 Sets of 15 on Each Leg)
- Dead Bug Exercise (4 Sets of 10)
- Sword Draws (4 Sets of 8 on Each Side)
- Split Squats (3 Sets of 15)
- Cat Camels (3 Sets of 10)
- Hip Rotations (4 Sets of 20)
- Russian Twists (3 Sets at 30 Seconds)
- Hand Walks (3 Sets of 25-30 Feet)
- 90-Degree Shoulder Stretch (3 Sets of 12)
- Glute Bridge (10 sets of 25-50 Seconds)
#1 Push-Ups (5 Sets of 20)
Push-ups are a standard, simple exercise that utilizes a lot of body parts when performed correctly. 50-100 push-ups per day will increase strength in both the arms and chest. More importantly, push-ups provide core stability, especially in the hips. This exercise will enable you to turn through the ball and potentially fix that dreaded slice.
#2 Rotational Lunges (2-3 Sets of 15 on Each Leg)
Rotational lunges build strength in the lower body and build a separation between the lower and upper body. The more space you can create, the more distance you can add to your driver and irons. When you perform this exercise correctly, you build muscle in your legs, but the rotations provide you with the separation you need.
You start the exercise standing and then slowly bend your right knee forward. Simultaneously guide the back knee so that it is barely touching the ground. The front leg is a pivotal part of the exercise because it lifts and lowers the weight of your body.
More importantly, the rotational piece is what creates the separation. As you perform the lunge, you will reach across your body with the hand opposite your lead leg. Meanwhile, you should straighten your other arm while you point at the ceiling. Not only does this enable you to rotate and separate better through your swing, but it will also create more mobility within the spine.
#3 Dead Bug Exercise (4 Sets of 10)
The dead bug exercise is straightforward, but it is also very effective at building up your core. When you do this exercise right, it will strengthen your lower back muscles and spine. When it comes to the golf swing, the dead bug exercise will give you more balance through impact, which will help straighten out your ball flight.
This exercise also helps with energy transfer, especially from bottom to top of your body. If you are a golfer that struggles with lower back pain, consistently doing this exercise could relieve the discomfort.
As you perform the dead bug exercise, it is critical to maintain a flat back against the floor. At the same time, keep your lower back and hips still. Once you have the position correct, lift your right leg and left arm and vice versa.
#4 Sword Draws (4 Sets of 8 on Each Side)
Sword draws are an essential exercise for optimal rotation in the shoulder. This exercise will make the rotator cuff stronger, as well as the shoulder’s posterior musculature. When your rotator cuff moves smoothly, it will naturally refine your swing path and hit more fairways.
You begin the exercise in your golf stance with a light dumbbell. As you perform the exercise, it is critical to hold your posture to build good habits for the golf swing. Grip the dumbbell and begin the movement starting at your opposite knee with the palm facing backward. From there, move the dumbbell back to the other side, where your palm should be facing forward.
The movement should feel like you are removing a sword from its sheath. Consistently doing this exercise with a manageable weight will prevent any future rotator cuff injuries.
#5 Split-Squat (3 Sets of 15)
The split-squat will do its work on each leg while building strength throughout the exercise. Not only does the split-squat increase balance, but it helps with mobility. Both areas are critical for a smooth, straight golf swing. This exercise is also important in stretching the lower back and pelvis, especially if you have existing pain in these areas.
You do the exercise by kneeling with your forward foot flat and your back knee on the floor. The standard motions include:
- Standing up
To make this exercise much more effective, try using a chair or well to facilitate balance.
#6 Cat Camels (3 Sets of 10)
Cat camels are an excellent exercise for golfers because they build core, lower back, and hip muscles. This exercise is also effective at increasing mobility in the spine. This is the perfect exercise for those who look to gain distance and accuracy off the tee.
You begin the exercise on your hands and knees, preferably on flat ground. The ideal movement involves a combination of flexion and extension. First, round the back, look down, and breathe in (flexion). Next, extend the back while looking up and breathing out (extension).
#7 Hip Rotation (4 Sets of 20)
The best golf swings involve the ability to move the hips freely from the upper body. Generating power through the golf swing starts with building up the energy within the torso muscles. You can achieve this by completing the hip rotation (or pelvis rotation) exercise.
The best way to perform the exercise is with your golf club. Using the club to stabilize your upper body will allow your hips to move freely.
#8 Russian Twist With Medicine Ball (3 Sets at 30 Seconds)
The Russian Twist is the best abdominal exercise on the list. This exercise also works for the four main muscle groups within the abdominals. The core is an integral part of the golf swing because it allows you to rotate and maintain optimal posture. Strong abs also enable you to generate power through your movement.
Start the exercise by sitting down in a crunch position. Then, rotate the medicine ball to either side of you by touching the ground. As you move, try to keep your feet hovered off the ground.
#9 Hand Walks (3 Sets of 25-30 Feet)
Hand walks provide a preventative maintenance exercise to extend your golfing life. After hundreds of rounds making the same swinging movement, it can be taxing on your body, especially your elbows. Hand walks are critical in strengthening your elbows and upper arms.
To perform the exercise, bend over, so your feet and hands touch the ground. Next, walk out your hands to end in a push-up position, then walk your feet closer to your hands. Continue this movement until you feel a healthy stretch.
#10 90-Degree Shoulder Stretch (3 Sets of 12)
This exercise is vital in expanding your shoulder range of motion. When you consistently do the 90-degree shoulder stretch, it will improve your swing speed, power, and rotation. It also enables you to rotate your shoulders freely and independently of the hips.
You perform this stretch by standing at the end of a wall or within a door frame. First, raise your arm until your elbow rests at 90 degrees. Then, position your arm against the frame or wall while pressing your body forward.
#11 Glute Bridge (10 sets of 25-50 Seconds)
Your glutes are an important part of your core. They support your pelvis and contribute to longevity within the game of golf. The glute bridge helps strengthen this area.
Start the exercise with your hips in the air and your upper back on the ground. Throughout the exercise, maintain a 90-degree angle with your knees while keeping your feet flat. Next, push your hips toward the ceiling until only your feet and shoulders touch the floor. You can hold this pose for about 25-50 seconds.
Final Wrap Up
Flexibility is key to pain-free golf. When you are free of discomfort, it allows you to excel at the game and have fun. Now that you know the best golf exercises to lower your score, write down different combinations of golf workouts. Budget time out of each day to perform at least half these exercises and then rotate.