Golf Fitness Program: How to Get in Shape for Beginners
You’ve caught the bug. On that first trip to the driving range you hit a 7-iron out of the middle of the face and it was a feeling like you’ve never had before.
Even though it was only one swing, that feeling of pure contact is something you want to chase.
Before you know it, you’re watching YouTube videos and reading instructional articles in Golf Digest.
Armed with knowledge, you call the local public course, make a tee time and walk 18 holes. It doesn’t go as planned and you’re stiff and sore at the end. It’s time to get in golf shape.
What most beginner golfers fail to realize is that golf is a sport that utilizes muscles different from what we use in daily activities.
While many fitness programs tailored to other sports focus on maximising strength, golf fitness combines injury prevention with toning for increased performance.
With that in mind, we have compiled our Top 10 list of exercises for beginning golfers.
Designed to increase mobility and flexibility, seated twists are essential for any golfer.
How to: Straddling a bench, put a club or dowel between your arms behind your back so that it sits within your elbows. Maintaining upright posture, rotate to the right as far as you can without moving your hips. Hold this position for five seconds and repeat on the left side. We suggest repeating this sequence five times in the beginning and increasing as you gain rotational mobility.
Strong core muscles are vital for not only increased performance but injury prevention.
How to: Lying on your back with your hands by your side, bend your knees 90 degrees so that your feet are flat on the ground. Push your hips toward the ceiling and hold for 5-10 seconds before slowly releasing your pelvis back to the ground. Sets of 10 reps are recommended in the beginning.
One Arm Bench Press
Maintaining shoulder strength helps golfers make a complete turn on both the backswing and downswing for increased clubhead speed.
How to: Lying face-up on a weight bench, situate yourself so that your left shoulder and buttock are on the bench and your right shoulder and buttock are off the bench. Holding a light dumbbell in your right hand and the top of the bench with your left, lift the dumbbell so that your right arm is fully extended over your head. As slowly as possible, lower the dumbbell level with your shoulder. Repeat this exercise 10 times and switch sides.
Parallel Medicine Ball Toss
Any time you can emulate the motion of the golf swing with exercise you’re not only building strength, but muscle memory as well.
How to: Get into your golf posture facing a wall holding a light medicine ball at waist level. Turn your torso to the right away from the wall as far as you can. Keeping your arms connected to your core, fire your hips toward the wall and release the ball catching it as it comes back. Do this 10 times on the right side and repeat on the left
Perpendicular Medicine Ball Toss
Much like the previous motion, this exercise will help with stability and increase club head speed by engaging the core muscles.
How to: Standing perpendicular to the wall in your golf posture, hold a light medicine ball at waist level. Rotate as far as you can to your right and fire your hips toward to the wall releasing the ball and catching it with your stomach facing the wall. Repeat 10 times and switch sides. After each rep, your finish position should mimic that of your golf swing, stomach facing the target with weight over the outside of your lead foot.
This exercise builds core strength and takes pressure off your lower back.
How to: Lying on your back on a weight bench, grab the top of the bench with both hands. Engaging your stomach muscles, bring your knees to your chest. Repeat 25 times starting out.
Swiss Ball Pushup
Stability in your shoulders and back are key. Keeping these areas strong will prevent injuries.
How to: Place your hands on a swiss ball and take a pushup position. Lower your chest so that it touches the ball. Lift your chest as far away from the ball as possible. Repeat 10 times.
Another core exercise that will build strength and prevent injuries.
How to: Lying face down in a pushup position place your forearms flat on the ground directly in line with your shoulders. Raise your pelvis and torso as high as you can off the ground and hold for 15 seconds. Increase the time in this position as you get stronger.
This yoga pose engages your core and helps with stability and balance.
How to: Begin standing with your feet together and your arms raised straight over your head. Bend your knees bringing your thighs as parallel to the floor as possible. Hold this position for as long you can feeling your thighs and core working to maintain balance.
Hitting a golf ball against the ground takes its toll on your hands, wrists and elbows. Keeping these parts strong will help prevent injuries like Golfer’s Elbow.
How to: Using three feet of string, tie a small weighted object to the end of a baton or tube. Gripping the tube with both hands in front of you at chest level, unwind the string entirely and roll it back up. Repeat five times to start.
As a beginning golfer you’re going to use muscles in a way to which you’re not accustomed. Keeping yourself in “golf shape” will not only allow you to play and practice longer but prevent injuries down the road as you continue to learn and improve. Implementing even just a few of the exercises mentioned here will have you saving strokes and feeling your best every time you head to the course.