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13 Game-Changing Golf Workouts to Improve Your Performance

13 Game-Changing Golf Workouts to Improve Your Performance

In years past most golfers avoided intense training like weightlifting, interval training and vigorous cardiovascular exercise.

Look back several decades ago and you’ll notice it wasn’t uncommon to see golfers who were overweight with a pot belly or a body resembling a stick figure. However, most of today’s stars on the PGA Tour are strong, athletic, and fully dedicated to putting in their time in the gym.

You want to lower your handicap by just a few strokes. These 13 game-changing exercises will help you take your game to the next level.

Each workout includes:

  • The equipment you’ll need (if any)
  • Instructions on how to complete the exercise
  •  Why we recommend this exercise to improve your golf game
  • Video demonstration of the exercise (for all visual learners out there).

With that, let’s get into it.


home gym

Golf Workouts for the Upper Body

Many upper body exercises were discouraged by golf instructors in the past. It was feared that this would cause golfers to become too tight in their shoulders, which would negatively impact their golf swing.

Fear is no longer justified, as many professional golfers, including Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka, now adhere to a strict upper-body training program.

These exercises will help strengthen your chest, arms, shoulders, upper back and chest. We’ll explain why each exercise is essential. We’ll also provide a link with a video demonstration so that you can make sure you’re completing each exercise correctly.

1. Thoracic Mobility Twists

Equipment Required:Only a chair

How to do this exercise:Place both your palms on the table and sit down in a chair. Reach up with your left arm and turn your head. Keep your lower back flat. Do 10 reps while keeping your eyes following the hand. Next, switch arms to perform the exercise in the other direction.

Why this exercise is important: Many golfers don’t get enough distance from their driver because of poor upper body mobility. This exercise corrects this problem by opening up your thoracic spine (upperback). This exercise will strengthen your upper back and allow you to move more freely in the backswing as well as the downswing. You will have longer drives and less chance of injury.


2. External Shoulder Rotations

Equipment Required:Theraband or a Cable Machine

How to do this exercise: Tie a Thera band onto a door frame or set up a machine with the cables directly over your belly button. Wrap a towel or another piece of clothing around the arm you’ll be using. Keep your elbow bent at a 90 degree angle. Then, pull the cable or band away from you. You should do 15-20 repetitions. Then, repeat the process with the other arm. Ensure that your upper traps are relaxed throughout the entire movement. If your neck muscles are tightening, you’re using too much weight.

This Exercise is Important Not being able to rotate the shoulders properly can lead to a host of golf swing issues like poor posture during the backswing, an over-the-top downswing (which causes slicing), and the dreadful “chicken wing” after impact. This exercise will improve the shoulder rotation strength and the rotator cuff.


3. Alternating Dumbbell Rows

Equipment Required:A pair of dumbbells, light to medium in weight

How to do this exercise:Stand straight with a dumbbell in one hand and your knees bent. Keep your lower back flat. Your hips should be bent forward. Reach one dumbbell toward your armpit with both arms extended. You should feel tension in the rhomboid muscles near your shoulder blade. Before moving on to the next arm, extend the dumbbell back. If you’re comfortable, you can also slightly rotate your torso during the movement.

This Exercise is ImportantYou will be able to increase your swing speed and strengthen your oblique muscles with the added rotation. You will see an improvement in your swing strength and flexibility due to the increased strength and flexibility of the upper back. This exercise will also give your biceps a good workout!


4. Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press

Equipment Required:A pair of dumbbells, light to medium in weight, and a bench for your home or gym.

How to do this exercise:You should have enough dumbbells to comfortably handle. Place one dumbbell in each hand on a weight bench. One arm should be extended forward, while the other should remain in the rest position. Slowly lower the dumbbell towards your underarm by extending one hand over your chest. Repeat the same movement with your other arm. Each arm should be able to do 12-15 reps before you take a break. You can place your feet on the bench or on the ground to emphasize your pecs and shoulder muscles. This is a great way to avoid arching your lower spine during the movement. This exercise is safer for the shoulder joint if you use dumbbells rather than a barbell.

This Exercise is ImportantThis is a great exercise for golfers to increase upper body strength in their pectoralis muscles. Due to the tightness in the shoulders, many golfers avoid doing chest presses. This is a mistake as the golf swing requires a lot of action from your chest. Do this exercise with just one arm at a stretch to strengthen the shoulder stabilizers. This keeps the labrum and rotator sleeves strong and flexible.


Golf Workouts for the Lower Body

Many beginners believe that the golf swing is mainly composed of upper body movements. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Golf swings start with the lower body. Your weight must shift from your back leg towards your front leg.

Golfers need to strengthen their lower body muscles. Golfers will benefit from the following exercises to develop their legs.

5. Barbell Squats

Equipment Required:Squat rack, Smith machine, barbell, and weighted plates

How to do this exercise:As a warmup, slide under a barbell that has no weighted plates. As a warmup, place the barbell below your trapezius muscles. Keep your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes slightly outward. To support your body weight, grab the bar with both of your hands. Keep your lower back flat while squatting down to just above parallel. Then explode back up. After warming up, add weighted plates to your workout and do sets of 8-12 reps.

Why this exercise is important:Squats are the best for lower body strength. They strengthen the glutes and quadriceps as well as hamstrings and other stability muscles. Barbell squats will make your game better. Squats are a great workout that will increase your endurance for longer days on the course.


6. Walking Lunges

Equipment Required:Set of light dumbbells

How to do this exercise:With your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell in each of your hands. Keep your knees bent and your knees slightly bent. Start by extending your right leg and then lowering your left leg (or back leg) to the ground. After your knee touches the ground, you can return to your regular standing position. Repeat the motion with the other leg. You should aim to do 12 to 15 repetitions with each leg.

This Exercise is ImportantLunges are an excellent exercise for golf because they increase mobility in the hips. Lunges can also increase the speed of your swing by increasing your hip mobility and leg strength.


7. Lateral Squats with Medicine Ball

Equipment Required:Any large or medium-sized medicine ball

How to do this exercise:Hold a medicineball to your chest, with your hands wrapped around it. Your feet should be in a wide position. Your right leg should be straight. Next, extend your left leg to the floor and squat with your left foot. Next, return to the original position and do 15 to 2-0 repetitions for each leg. Throughout the movement, try to keep your feet flat on ground.

Why this exercise is important:Golfers will find their hips more flexible by doing lateral squats. The arch enemy of a fluid swing is tight hips. This exercise is one of my favorite. This movement increases flexibility and strength the hip adductors and abductor muscles. It helps to prevent pulled groin injuries.


Golf Workouts for Your Core

You can’t build the best golf workout program without adding core exercises. Core exercises are essential for a good golf swing. These exercises will help you swing the club with more confidence and authority.

8. Cable Twists

Equipment Required:Cable machine at your Gym

How to do this exercise:Arrange the machine so that the cable is parallel to your shoulders. Your right hand should hold the cable. Spread your feet wide and point your toes slightly outward. To fully support your cable handle, place your left arm over your right. Keep your hands close to your chest and do a full torso turn. After about 15 to 20 repetitions, switch sides. This will prevent muscle imbalances.

Why this exercise is important:This movement strengthens the oblique muscles which are crucial for a good golf swing. Golfers also work on their load portion during the initial part. If you’re looking for more stability in your swing, this is the one exercise to hone in on.


9. Planks for Golf

Equipment Required:A simple mat for your gym or at home.

How to do this exercise:Place your face on the mat. Your feet should be together. Keep your back straight while you push up onto your forearms and knees. To prevent injury, your spine should be kept neutral. Push your toes up and pull your forearms towards your toes. After several seconds, lay your knees on the mat and relax. Do 10-20 reps.

Why this exercise is important:All core muscles are engaged by simply being in the plank position. Planks can be a great exercise for endurance and strength. A strong core is key to preventing lower back injuries while on the golf course.


Golf Workouts to Improve Cardiovascular Health

Many golfers falsely assume you don’t have to be in great cardiovascular shape to play good golf. This assumption is absurd, especially if your goal is to walk your rounds rather than riding in a cart. Your cardio fitness can help you avoid feeling tired at the end of your round.

10. Rowing Machine

Equipment required: Rowing machine at your gym

How to do this exercise:Grab the bar and row towards the machine by squatting. Use all motions during the movement. You can do this for as long as you like before you take a break.

This Exercise is ImportantRowing is a wonderful combination of strength training and cardio exercise. It increases endurance in the glutes and shoulder muscles, two areas that can get tired after a long round on a course. Rowing will ensure your last shot is as strong as your first.


11. Holy Trinity Cardio Combo

Equipment Required:You have the option to run, ride a stationary bike or row a machine.

How to do this exercise:Run 400 meters. Then start doing reps on the rowing machine until you’ve burned 30 calories according to the meter. Finish up on the stationary bike until you’ve also burned 30 calories on it. That’s one set. During sets 2 and 3, you’ll do the same movements, but the calorie goal is 20 and 10, respectively. The goal is to complete the 3 sets in 20 minutes.

This Exercise is ImportantThis brutally hard cardio workout was created famously by Scott Stallings (PGA Tour star). It’s one heck of a workout and an ideal choice if you’re pressed for time. This combination of exercises will increase endurance and give your entire body a workout. It’ll also build up your mental toughness.


Golf Workouts to Increase Flexibility

As good as all the above exercises are, they won’t do you a bit of good unless you stay off the injured list. It is crucial to maintain your flexibility for the entire golf season. These stretches will prevent muscle pulls, sprains and nagging strains.

12. Scarecrow Shoulder Stretch

Equipment Required:Just a club for golf

How to do this exercise:Spread your feet just a little bit beyond your shoulders. Your golf club should be placed behind your neck and between your shoulders. Your palms should be in front, as if you were a scarecrow. Turn your right foot and bend your knees slightly. Before you continue the exercise, return to the starting position. To loosen up, do 20 reps each side.

Why this exercise is important:This is a great stretch for before your first tee shots. The twisting part warms up the lower back, while the scarecrow portion engages the shoulders.


13. Sphinx Stretch

Equipment Required:None

How to do this exercise:Lie flat on your stomach on a mat or other surface that is comfortable. With your palms facing down, extend your arms and reach out. Your feet should be slightly apart. Keep your hips on the floor and push your hands up with your hands to stretch your lower back. After a few seconds, you can rest your elbows on the mat before moving on to the next rep.

This Exercise is ImportantLower back strains are the most common injury in golf. This stretch will warm up your lower back muscles. It’s also great to do this movement if you wake up sore after a long round on the course!