7 Essential Golf-Strengthening Exercises for a Powerful Swing

“], “filter”: “nextExceptions”: “img, blockquote, div”, “nextContainsExceptions”: “img, blockquote, a.btn, a.o-button” }”>

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members!
>”,”name”:”in-content-cta”,”type”:”link”}}”>Download the app.

Like so many athletic endeavors, golf takes place in multiple planes of motion. Forward or backward movement, such as walking the fairway to find your ball, happen in the sagittal plane. Side-to-side movements, including a small side step to pick up your ball, occur in the frontal plane. And rotational or twisting movements, such as your golf swing, take place in the transverse plane. All exercises for golf happen in at least one of these planes.

But almost all movement, in golf and in everyday life, happens to some degree in the transverse plane. Consider the countless twisting movements you make each day, whether you’re playing a round, reaching for your seatbelt, or dodging a wasp.

Why should you care about this? Because when you’re trying to hit a drive as far as you can without injuring yourself, you need to develop more than just your stability and strength. You need to be able to efficiently transfer the power generated by your swing from one joint to the next and, eventually, to the ball. And in order to do that, you need to be able to move various parts of your body sequentially as a single unit through the transverse plane.

Following are some of the best exercises for your golf swing, based on movement principles as well as the body awareness of yoga. These strengthening moves will challenge you in the transverse plane and strengthen your oblique muscles to keep your trunk stable even as your upper body rotates. What results is more tension and force generation that you can unleash in your swing.

7 Best Exercises for Golf Swing

There’s a lot of orchestration happening in your body during your golf swing. In order to keep from falling into unhelpful habits, you need to practice exercises that challenge you with the same dynamic and coordinated effort. Being able to do this takes a tremendous amount of body awareness. The more in tune you get with your body through exercises for golf, the more efficiency and performance you’ll experience in your game.

Woman golfer on Papago Golf Course in Phoenix practicing the best exercises for golf swings
Practicing rotation in your upper body allows you to notice the inadvertent ways your body tries to adjust and then correct them so they don’t compromise your swing. (Photo: Allie Jorde Creative at Papago Golf Club in Phoenix)

1. Upper Body Rotation

This exercise might take a little repetition and practice to feel comfortable, but it is super critical to understand if you’re looking to improve your golf game. Not being able to move your hips independently of your shoulders reduces your range of motion and limits the power produced in your swing. So get practicing!

How to: Stand in your golf posture with your feet at least hip-width apart. Hold the golf club against your clavicles with your arms crossed in front of your chest and your hands on opposite shoulders. Bring your elbows away from your body and keep them high. Keep your lower body still as you slowly rotate your middle and upper spine to the left as far as you can. Then come back to the center. Repeat on the other side. Try doing this 5 times in each direction. Watch the video.

It’s more challenging than you’d think to twist your lower body without moving your upper body. (Photo: Allie Jorde Creative at Papago Golf Club in Phoenix)

2. Lower Body Rotation

This exercise improves your ability to rotate your lower body while keeping your upper body still. The movement reinforces body awareness and allows you to increase torque, which you can then unleash through your downswing to send your ball flying!

How to: Stand in your golf posture with your feet at least hip-width apart. Hold the golf club against your clavicle and shoulders with your arms crossed in front of your chest and your hands on opposite shoulders. Bring your elbows away from your body and keep them high. Keep your upper body still as you slowly rotate your hips to the left, as far as you can. Then come back to the center. Repeat on the other side. Try doing this 5 times in each direction. Notice if your range of motion increases after a few repetitions. Watch the video.

A woman performs yoga poses on a golf course, laying on her back.
A dynamic version of a yoga pose, Glute Bridges bring power and stability to your swing. (Photo: Allie Jorde Creative at Papago Golf Club in Phoenix)

3. Glute Bridges

Having strong glutes brings more power to your swing and helps take pressure off your lower back during the downswing when your club head connects with the ball. This exercise, a dynamic version of Bridge Pose, targets the glutes, which are prime players when it comes to generating force in your lower body. It also teaches you a slight pelvic tilt, which you want to replicate in your golf stance.

How to: Come onto your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground about hip-width apart. Flatten your lower back to the ground, which will create a slight pelvic tilt. Inhale as you push through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips and create a diagonal line from your shoulders to your hips to your knees. Stay here for a second and then exhale as you lower yourself and release. Repeat 15-20 times. This one might burn!

A woman performs yoga poses on a golf course with a club, in a plant position.
Starting position for this shoulder-strengthening twist is Plank Pose. (Photo: Allie Jorde Creative at Papago Golf Club in Phoenix)

4. High Plank T-Spine Rotation

There is tremendously high demand on the shoulder joints during your golf swing, especially at the top of your swing. This golf-strengthening exercise increases your spine mobility in your thoracic spine as well as your rotational strength and stability.

How to: Come onto your stomach and place your hands on the ground directly beneath your shoulders. Take your feet about shoulder-width apart, tuck your toes, and push into your hands to lift your hips into the top of a push-up or Plank Pose. Focus on keeping a neutral spine so your hips are slightly tucked in a pelvic tilt. Do not let your lower back sag toward the ground. If you need to cheat a little, lift your glutes toward the sky.

A woman performs yoga poses on a golf course with a club, in a plant pose with her arm raised to her side
Both Plank and Side Plank demands full-body engagement and strengthen your shoulders and core. (Photo: Allie Jorde Creative at Papago Golf Club in Phoenix)

From Plank, reach one arm straight out to the side and then lift it toward the ceiling as you turn your chest toward that side in a twist. Pause for a short moment and then return back to Plank. Don’t forget to breathe. Repeat about 5 times. Switch sides. Watch the video.

If you have wrist concerns, you can practice Forearm Plank instead. Watch the video.

A woman performs yoga poses on a golf course with a club, arms crossed over her chest.
Yes, you do need to practice your timing, balance, and coordination. (Photo: Allie Jorde Creative at Papago Golf Club in Phoenix)

5. Reverse Lunge Twist

A powerful golf swing requires control and timing and balance as your body moves sequentially through multiple planes of motion, beginning from the ground up. Stepping back into a lunge and then twisting your upper body reinforces the same independent movement, or dissociation, required in your hips and trunk. This ensures the force generated in your lower body can be successfully transferred to your upper body and, eventually, to the ball.

How to: Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and place your hands on your hips. Step your left foot back about one stride and bend both knees about 90 degrees to come into a Low Lunge with your back knee lifted. Keep the majority of your weight in your front foot and keep your front heel on the ground.

Twisting with your upper body while keeping your lower body still trains your body to do the same during your swing. (Photo: Allie Jorde Creative at Papago Golf Club in Phoenix)

Extend your arms straight out from your shoulders and turn your upper body toward the right. Push through your back foot and, with control, step forward into your starting position. Repeat about 5 times. Switch sides. Watch the video.

A woman performs yoga poses on a golf course doing a v-sit pose.
When you have no choice but to engage your obliques, hip flexors, and other core-stabilizing muscles as you twist, you learn how to do the same in your golf swing. The result is a safer and more powerful drive. (Photo: Allie Jorde Creative at Papago Golf Club in Phoenix)

6. V Sit Hold to With a Twist

This exercise resembles Boat Pose but includes dynamic movement to make it more challenging. It’s designed to tax the hip flexors, obliques, and trunk stabilizer muscles by asking you to take your upper body through rotation while your lower body remains fixed. By developing core strength in this manner, you increase power generation, which directly transfers to your golf swing. This exercise quickly exposes any core weakness or limited range of motion in your thoracic spine. Best of luck with it!

How to: Start seated with your knees slightly bent and your heels on the ground. Lean back and lifting your feet off the ground Extend your arms straight out from your shoulders in a T and let the backs of your hands touch the ground. Keep your legs still and your arms straight as you twist your upper body to one side and bring your palms to touch. Unwind and come back to center so both hands touch the ground again. Repeat on the other side. Complete 5-10 repetitions each side. Watch the video.

For a less-intense variation, keep your feet on the ground while performing the trunk rotation. Watch the video.

A woman performs yoga poses on a golf course with a club, doing a single leg squat on a gold course.
The strengthening exercise known as Single-Leg Squat is essentially the yoga pose known as Chair Pose but balancing on one leg. (Photo: Allie Jorde Creative at Papago Golf Club in Phoenix) 

7. Single-Leg Squat

This exercise is amazing for building lower body strength and stability. Supporting your body weight on one leg is extremely challenging yet serves so many helpful purposes, including taxing your stabilizing muscles and proprioceptors, which detect where your body is in space. This increases body awareness and helps bring control to your game and reduce injury risks. It also increases strength in your legs to generate power in your swing. If you are typically dominant on one side of your body, this will allow your other side to catch up.

How to: Stand with your feet about hip-distance apart. Lift one leg slightly off the ground and slowly bend your other knee as you sit back into a Single-Leg Squat or Chair Pose. Push into the heel of your standing leg to come upright again. Keep your core engaged throughout to keep tension through the movement. You can practice this standing in front of a bench or chair to help guide how deeply you want to bend your standing leg. Watch the video.

You can also practice this with one hand on a golf club, in place of a walking stick, for added stability. Or you can keep your hands on your hips. Watch the video.

RELATED: 7 Exercises to Help Golfers Build Stability (and a More Powerful Swing)

About Our Model
Sierra Sanchez is founder of the Millennielle Golf Club, a golf club for millennial gals. Shirt by Swing Pretty; skirt by Jayebird.

About Our Location
Photographed at Papago Golf Course in Phoenix. Mapped via Gaia GPS.

About Our Contributor
Antonia Nugent is a movement specialist based in Birmingham, Alabama. Antonia moved from Liverpool, England, to compete in Division I college tennis at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where she earned her Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology. For the past 15 years, Antonia has been training athletes and a spectrum of humans to move well for all different sports and activities. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, a Certified Tennis Performance Specialist through iTPA, and has her TPI Level II certification through the Titleist Performance Institute. Functionality and the ability to connect with your body are of utmost importance in her methodology. You can train with her in person or online.


link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *