July 02, 2021 10 min read

Avid golfers all have one thing in common: they are constantly looking to boost their performance. While you may think the only way to get better at golf is getting out on the golf course, there are actually many things you can do off the golf course to get a better swing and a stronger game. 

Even if you’re just the occasional recreational weekend golfer, our program can help you become a better player and maybe even improve your overall quality of life.

This program is well-rounded and uses everything from highly beneficial kettlebells to stability-building resistance bands, so every aspect of your swing, whether it be your backswing or your follow-through, can see improvement.

partial view of african american sportsman playing golf isolated on grey

How Your Fitness Level Can Impact Your Golfing 

When looking to pack a serious punch, or swing, in this case, you may have thought of everything but your current fitness level.

Sure, you play consistently, hire private instructors,  even buy better clubs, but without an adequate level of fitness, you are not likely to see the improvements you’re looking for. Top golfers like Tiger Woods or Dustin Johnson are certainly good examples of how having strong musculature can impact your game.

You may be surprised that golf uses a myriad of muscles, including your:

  • Obliques 
  • Glutes
  • Pecs
  • Lattissimus Dorsi 
  • Forearms
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings

Oftentimes even with practice, your swing cannot progress if any of the above areas are under-developed. This is especially true of the main movers, which are pretty much all your core muscles.

What Is My Core?

Your core is really, well, the core of your swing and is arguably the most important group of muscles in a golf swing. Having strong arms and legs will no doubt help your swing, but a strong core is vital for many movements, such as a golf swing. The core muscles are what drive all the power behind the clubhead, allowing for explosive contact with the ball. Additionally, a strong core stabilizes your body, giving you better balance and control overall as well as lowering the risk of certain injuries.

While many people mistakenly think the core is merely the abdominal muscles, your core is actually made up of much more. Your pelvic floor muscles, abdominal muscles, back muscles, obliques, and glutes, along with several others, are all part of the core.

Weights do a great job of building core strength. With golf, your core should most importantly have good rotational movement, meaning your torso can deliver a lot of power when twisting. In the below golf exercise program, we incorporate many rotational core exercises for this reason.

Training to Improve Overall Health

Your main goal may be your golf game, but exercising and training consistently is likely to improve your overall health, as well.

In fact, working out has shown to decrease the risk of many fatal or problematic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, blood pressure issues, bone and joint disease, and even certain mental conditions.

Nearly all of these conditions can have a negative impact on your ability to golf, as well, making your overall health all the more important in your golf game.

Additionally, certain movements found in golf can be very strenuous on the body. Many golfers suffer from a myriad of injuries throughout their career, lower back pain being one of the most prevalent. Consistent strength training can make your body less prone to injury, a vital preventative measure for golfers.

Weights: The Role They Play in Golf Training

Many people stray away from lifting weights in fear of getting too bulky or injuring themselves. While variety is a large part of any great exercise program and weights should not be your only tool, weights are really the key to gaining muscular strength.

Not only will having strong muscles help increase the distance and explosiveness of your swings, but it will also aid you in your swing posture, accuracy and aim, increase joint health and flexibility, and most importantly, protect you from injury.

In Addition to Weights

While weights are the main focus of this program, it is also best to incorporate variation. This is especially true for golf as it is a sport that requires a good mix of stability, mobility, strength, and cardiovascular ability

Mental focus is also another very important and often overlooked aspect of golf.

Challenging yourself with cardiovascular exercise, bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, and even working closely with golf drills are all great things to do in tandem with a good training program.

In the program below, we include dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells, all paired with resistance band work and bodyweight movements to create variety for the muscles. Resistance bands and bodyweight exercises are great tools for increasing muscular stability, a highly important physical attribute for golfers.

The Program

Using the above information, we have formulated the perfect strength-targeting training golf fitness program to lower your handicap scores and potentially boost your overall golfing ability.

For reps, we’ll always stay above 8 repetitions. This is because lower reps with higher weight can encourage hypertrophy or physical muscle growth. While this may be desirable for some people, hypertrophy does not always equal strength. Furthermore, golf requires a large range of motion, which can be decreased by the presence of an overly bulky frame.

Week One

In the first week, we focus on building a good foundation of form and strength. This week is especially important if you are relatively new to weight training or working out in general. We’ll focus a lot on core strengthening and increasing your flexibility through weighted movements throughout this week and the rest of the program.

Day One:  Core 1

  • Rotational Medicine Ball Throws: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Forearm Planks: 8 reps for 20-30 sec hold
  • Dumbbell Russian Twists: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Banded Lying Leg Raises: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Woodchops: 4 sets of 8 reps

Day Two:  Rest Day

Day Three:  Upper Body

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Presses: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Bent-Over Barbell Rows: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Upright Rows: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Lat Pull Downs: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Dumbbell Curls: 3 sets of 8 reps

Day Four:  Lower Body

  • Kettle Bell Swings: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Barbell Squats: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Banded Lunges: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Lateral Band Walks: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 4 sets of 8 reps

Day Five:  Rest Day

Day Six:  Core 2

  • Side Planks: 8 reps for 20-30 second hold
  • Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Rotational Landmine Presses: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Diagonal Medicine Ball Throws: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Dumbbell Russian Twists: 4 sets of 8 reps

Day Seven: Rest Day

Week Two

In week two, you will do much of what you did in week one, but this week work on increasing the intensity to promote strength and endurance. In week one, you should have gotten decently comfortable with your form and can now be more efficient in your workouts. Increase the resistance on these movements anywhere from 2 to 5 pounds per movement.

Day One:  Core 1

  • Rotational Medicine Ball Throws: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Forearm Planks: 8 reps for 30-second hold
  • Dumbbell Russian Twists: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Banded Lying Leg Raises: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Dumbbell Woodchops: 4 sets of 8-10 reps

Day Two:  Rest Day

Day Three:  Upper Body

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Presses: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Bent-Over Barbell Rows: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Upright Rows: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Lat Pull Downs: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Dumbbell Curls: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Day Four:  Lower Body

  • Kettle Bell Swings: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Barbell Squast: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Banded Lunges: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Lateral Band Walks: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 4 sets of 8-10 reps

Day Five:  Rest Day

Day Six:  Core 2

  • Side Planks: 8 reps for 30-second hold
  • Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Rotational Landmine Press: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Diagonal Medicine Ball Throws: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Dumbbell Russian Twists: 4 sets of 8-10 reps

Day Seven:  Rest Day

Week Three

Week three will see the addition of some new exercises to the ones you’ve already been doing. It is important to create variation and work your muscles in new ways periodically. However, you will continue with the movements from weeks one and two in order to capitalize on the strength you’ve established and be able to lift more weight.

You will increase the weight amount for the movements you’ve done already anywhere from 2 to 5 pounds as well as your repetition amount in order to build muscle stamina and decrease your chance for muscle hypertrophy.

Day One:  Core 1

  • Rotational Medicine Ball Throws: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Forearm Planks: 8 reps for 45-second hold
  • Dumbbell Russian Twists: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Banded Lying Leg Raises: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Woodchops: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Ab Wheel Rollouts: 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Dumbbell Crunches: 3 sets of 8

Day Two:  Rest Day

Day Three:  Upper Body

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Presses: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Bent-Over Barbell Rows: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Upright Rows: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Lat Pull Downs: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Dumbbell Curls: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Lateral Shoulder Raises: 4 sets of 8

Day Four:  Lower Body

  • Kettle Bell Swings: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Barbell Squats: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Banded Lunges: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Lateral Band Walks: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Bulgarian Split Squats: 4 sets of 8 reps

Day Five:  Rest Day

Day Six:  Core 2

  • Side Planks: 8 reps for 45-second hold
  • Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Rotational Landmine Presses: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Diagonal Medicine Ball Throws: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Dumbbell Russian Twists: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Raised Leg Circles: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Diagonal Ab Wheel Rollouts: 3 sets of 8 reps

Day Seven:  Rest Day

Week Four

In week four, your final week, be sure to push each session to your maximum potential. In this week you will do all the same movements from last week with an even higher level of intensity. Be sure to also up any weighted movements by 2 to 5 pounds per movement.

Day One:  Core 1

  • Rotational Medicine Ball Throws: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Forearm Planks: 8 reps for 55-second hold
  • Dumbbell Russian Twists: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Banded Lying Leg Raises: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Woodchops: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Ab Wheel Rollouts: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Crunches: 3 sets of 10 reps

Day Two:  Rest Day

Day Three:  Upper Body

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Presses: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Bent-Over Barbell Rows: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Upright Rows: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Lat Pull Downs: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Lateral Shoulder Raises: 4 sets of 10

Day Four:  Lower Body

  • Kettle Bell Swings: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Barbell Squats: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Banded Lunges: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Lateral Band Walks: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Bulgarian Split Squats: 4 sets of 10 reps

Day Five:  Rest Day

Day Six:  Core 2

  • Side Planks: 8 reps for 55-second hold
  • Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Rotational Landmine Presses: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Diagonal Medicine Ball Throws: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Russian Twists: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Raised Leg Circles: 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Diagonal Ab Wheel Rollouts: 3 sets of 10 reps

Day Seven:  Rest Day

Dolnapa Phudthipinij of Thailand warming up before match

More Tips to Up Your Game and Lower Your Handicap

Rest Days

On rest days, you should prioritize muscle recovery. However, some rest days can be used as “active rest days”, or days in which you might not do a session in the gym but instead do another type of physical activity. For golfers, we recommend either cardio or a flexibility-building activity such as yoga. Of course, you can also choose to golf on these days.

Warm-Up

Warming up with stretches or warmup reps is very important for golfers. Whether you’re gearing up for a round of golf or heading to the gym for a training session, always be sure to adequately warm up the muscles and joints. This helps prevent injury and can prepare you better for heavier weights.

Diet

Boosting your fitness and having a good diet come hand in hand. Yes, training is highly important, however, training on its own is not likely to have many results. When looking to gain strength, pair a training program with a diet high in protein. Protein helps your muscles recover, thus creating more potential for strength gains. In addition to protein, getting enough calories for your body is another big priority to gain strength.

If you have never prioritized protein intake, you may be surprised at just how difficult it can be to consume an adequate amount of this macronutrient.

Many athletes and gym-goers utilize protein powders and other great supplements to diminish the hassle.

Lengthening our Program

Many of your favorite athletes, whether they come from golf, tennis, swimming, or any other sport, likely do various different programs over the course of an entire year depending solely on the time of year. So for, example, an athlete might have programs for an off-season phase, a pre-season phase, an in-season phase, and a post-season phase.

Following a year-long program can be pretty unattainable for the average golfer as it can quickly become a full-time job. This is especially true since most of your favorite top athletes have a team of personal trainers, coaches, and nutritionists behind them.

However, if you feel the focus of a week, whether it be building a strong foundation from week one or building up endurance in the last few weeks, needs more attention, you can definitely stretch an area of the program for another few weeks before moving on.

Our Golf Program: Last Take

Whether you’re a PGA certified player or just starting out, our program is sure to get your golf club swinging faster and stronger than ever before. The biggest takeaways of our program are to adequately train the core, always stretch and warm-up, take your rest days, and harness the power of protein.

Determination and discipline are also important, so keep your eye on the ball and your head in the game! 


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