January 14, 2014

3 Best Golf Exercises You Aren't Doing

by Ken MacDonald of Lifetime Performance

These days it is easy to go on the Internet, search YouTube and be absolutely inundated with exercises that are “golf specific”.  If you don’t believe me, try it yourself.  The purpose of this article is not to tell you that my exercises are better than any you find on the Internet, but to explain the reasoning behind why I chose them.

Most explanations of the exercises found on YouTube tell you that you need to do this exercise for “mobility”, or that this will help your “core get stronger”.  Somewhere along the exercise road,  these  criteria became the only two components required for a solid, efficient golf swing. Will holding a plank for 5 minutes fix your slice or keep you from standing up out of your posture?? Probably not, but it’s a hell of an accomplishment!  I’m not saying that you shouldn't try to get your core strong or that you shouldn't strive to have good flexibility.  What I am saying is that not every exercise is appropriate for every person.  In other words, for one person thoracic spine rotation may not be a problem, in fact it’s possible to have too much mobility within the body.  If that’s the case, then stretching for the sake of stretching because it’s “golf specific” can actually make structures within the body more unstable. Additionally, having the core strength to do a plank for that long will do little in regards to stabilizing your lower body and helping you to maintain your spinal angle through the swing.

The exercises below are ones that combine elements of mobility, stability, strength and most importantly proper movement patterning

Single Arm Bent Over Barbell Row

This is a great exercise for working the posterior muscles of the body from the hamstrings all the way to the upper back.  These are the muscles required to maintain a neutral spine angle at address.  You’ll also find the abs working hard to maintain a symmetrical trunk position because the weight of the bar will try to rotate you out of position.  The row itself challenges your ability to rotate your spine along its proper angle without using your body to lift up to assist the motion.  This is a challenging exercise so start light and work your way up slowly.


Cable Row and Rotate

Coordinating this exercise may be difficult in the beginning, but once you find the right positions you will be hard pressed to find a better golf -specific force producing movement.  The key to this exercise is to make sure you load properly into your trailing- side hip without moving laterally towards the machine or tilting away from the machine (similar to what happens in a reverse pivot).  Once you load onto the hip, push your trailing side foot hard into the ground driving your hips into a lateral shift and rotation.  Finish tall and fully rotated through the hip.  Despite the small pulling motion with the lead arm, this is predominantly a lower body exercise.  Do the reps quickly and you have a great speed exercise as well.


Resisted Hip Twister

While this may not fall into the category of a true strength exercise, it will challenge your ability to separate your lower body from your upper body…a move critical for proper sequencing and power.  The act of holding the band out in front creates a rotational stress through the oblique and abdominal muscles.  More importantly it helps with stabilizing the upper body.  This stabilization effect makes it easier for you rotate your hips separately from your upper body.  You will also feel how much the thoracic spine needs to move to be able to do this properly.


For more information contact Ken Madonald at Lifetime Performance.

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