Add Power to Your Golf Swing With 4 Sandbag Exercises

Want to add distance to your golf shots? Perform these 4 sandbag exercises from STACK Expert Shawn Balow.

In golf performance training, I see a wide variety of clients—professionals and semi-professionals seeking refinement and fine-tuning of their golf swing, and amateur players looking to increase time in the gym to make their weekend matches more competitive.

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No matter their skill level, golfers have one request in common: "How can I consistently hit the ball farther?"

Being long off the tee and in the mid-iron game can be critical for shaving strokes off your scores. Improving club head speed can be achieved at all levels—often with the same exercises, no matter the player.

Still, many players don't work on their bodies in the gym to improve their game. This can be a critical mistake.

One simple, often overlooked tool to improve your game is the sandbag.

Why Sandbags?


Before outlining the exercises, let's review the benefits of using sandbags in your training program. For all of these exercises, you can use standard barbells and/or dumbbells, but sandbags have the advantages of requiring a lower learning curve and being more forgiving by nature. This means a reduced instance of injury to the athlete.

Also, you can use sandbags in the comfort of your own home, saving valuable time and allowing you more time to do what you love—actually play the game of golf.

RELATED: A Better Swing in 3 Easy Drills

1. Sandbag Power Clean

To improve club head speed and develop a more consistent swing, golfers have to train explosively. The Sandbag Clean is easier to learn and just as effective, if not more effective, than its barbell counterpart. This Olympic-style lift is easier with the sandbag, but is no less physically demanding. In fact, the shifting nature of the sand adds another dimension to the exercise, and engages the entire body, making the exercise a game changer for your golf performance program.

To perform:

  • Hinge your hips back, grip the sandbag by the handles and rotate your elbows forward to take any slack out of the sandbag.
  • Extend at the ankles, knees and hips in an upward thrust with the bag landing in the crook of your arms.
  • Return the bag to the floor in your hip-hinge position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

2. Staggered-Stance Sandbag Row

Two important elements for increasing club head speed, swing consistency and power are overall balance and core strength. This exercise train them simultaneously. The Titleist Performance Institute refers to the core as the queen of the golf swing, and you can be sure that every muscle in your core will be worked with this exercise.

To perform:

  • Set up in a heel/toe alignment where the toe of one foot matches up with the heel of the other foot.
  • With your arms hanging by your sides, hinge at the hips to pick up the sandbag.
  • Row the bag to your sternum, squeezing your elbows together at the top.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions

3. Front-Foot-Elevated Split Squat

This movement requires strength and flexibility to execute properly. Remember, the definition of power is strength x speed, so it is imperative to work on strength in your training program.

To perform:

  • Elevate one foot on a small box. This stretches the hip flexor, making the exercise more effective.
  • Descend into a low Squat with the rear knee just off the ground.
  • Keep your chest proud and your spine straight.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

4. Glute Bridge with Sandbags

This exercise focuses primarily on strengthening the glutes, which constitute "the engine" of the golf swing. With so much power coming from them, the glutes are especially important to focus on when trying to increase distance in your shots.

To perform:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet planted on the floor.
  • With a sandbag resting on your lower abdomen, raise and lower your hips.
  • Start with a low weight and increase over time with a focus on proper form.

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