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Golf is a sport that requires incredible athleticism. You need superior hand-eye coordination, core strength and balance to repeatedly and consistently hit a golf ball. Besides practicing on the greens, you also need to hit up the weight room.
A golf-specific workout will strengthen the muscles that are most important in your swing, as well as challenge your balance. In particular, a golf workout should focus on building up core and single-leg muscles, because the sport requires strength and stability in both of those parts of the body.
Complete the following golf workout twice a week for six weeks. Allow for full recovery—two to three minutes—between sets.
The Deadlift is the greatest full-body exercise you can do for golf. It builds power, explosion and strength. Plus, it really works the glutes, which are extremely important in a golf swing. The glutes allow you to fire your hips and put that extra turn into your golf shot.
- Grip bar just outside athletic stance with shins touching bar
- Assume deadlift position with back locked, shoulders up, and abs and chest flexed
- Explode up into standing position by extending hips and knees while keeping back flat and chest up
- Lower bar to floor through same motion; repeat
Planks are a superior core strengthener. They target the transverse abdominis, which tightens your core when you swing a golf club. The stronger this muscle is, the less likely you are to hurt your back. No golf workout is complete without it.
- Lie on stomach with elbows bent underneath
- Raise body until only elbows and toes touch ground
- Keep body rigid and flat by tightening abs and butt
Sets/Duration: 3x60 seconds
Lunges are a great alternative to Squats, in part because they are single-leg dominant. Also, the movement more closely mimics the golf swing, when your weight shifts from one leg to the other. Balance is extremely important for golfers, especially at the ankles and lower legs.
- Step forward and slightly toward midline of body
- Lower into lunge position until back knee is about two inches from ground
- Focus on getting both knees to 90-degree angle
- To return to start position, push back with front heel
- Step forward with opposite foot and repeat
Sets/Reps: 4x8 per leg
This med ball exercise works the internal and external obliques. These muscles, located on the sides of your stomach, power rotational movements such as the golf swing. They also aid in applying the brakes at the end of the swing.
- Sit on ground with knees bent, heels just off floor, and hold med ball at chest
- Rotate left until ball touches ground outside hip; rotate right until ball touches ground outside hip
- Repeat pattern
Sets/Reps: 2x10 each side
Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
This challenges your lower leg strength as well as your glutes and hamstrings. Single-leg weight-bearing exercises are similar to the golf swing, as you shift your weight from one leg to the other.
- Balance on one leg holding weight at sides
- With balancing leg slightly bent and back flat, bend forward at waist until weights are just above floor
- Return to start; repeat for specified reps
- Perform set on opposite side
Master these golf-specific exercises, and you will improve your performance on the course in no time.
Joe Lopez, CSCS, works with many different athletes at Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta, N.J. His expertise is in track and field, baseball and golf. He has worked as a personal trainer for more than seven years. Follow him online at jerseystrong.wordpress.com or on Twitter.