For those not fortunate enough to live where the courses are open year round, the month of March gets many of us thinking about golf season.
And if you’re like me, you’re making your yearly pledge that this is going to be your year. The year where you finally focus on your game, and not how many beers you can throw back in 18 holes.
But if you want your game to be anywhere close to Jordan, or Rory, or even Tiger, you need to do more than hitting the range once a week. You need to be hitting the gym as well.
We all know that getting stronger improves every aspect of your life, and golf is no different. Total body exercises like the squat and deadlift should be staples of your training program if you want to add distance to your game.
But strength isn’t the only thing you need to improve your game. These five exercises will not only help you develop strength, but the power, flexibility, and stability you need to destroy anyone you play with.
The foundation of a good golf game starts with, well, your foundation. Developing a strong, stable lower body will make it easier to develop power, and keep your balance during the course of your swing.
Single-leg strength and balance is key to a strong base, and the best way to train this is to get on one leg. Just don’t fall victim to the so-called functional training gurus telling you standing one-legged on a Bosu ball is the best way to train balance.
3 sets of 10 reps added to your existing leg day should do the trick. If you’re just starting out with the pistol squat and have trouble with balance you can use TRX straps to help.
If you struggle with mobility and depth, start out on a high bench, and as you get better, progress to lower and lower benches.
Rotational power and stability is essential for many sports, including golf. During the course of a round, your body goes through tons of rotations, so increasing that rotational power will transfer into a better and stronger golf swing.
Using a landmine is a great way to improve your ability to load the trunk and hips, or resist rotation, which is the basis of improving rotational power and stability.
Using a landmine or a barbell placed in a corner, stand at a 90 degree angle to the bar. Slowly and under control, move the barbell from one side of your body to the other, resisting the temptation to rotate the trunk and hips.
Do this exercise twice per week, performing 3 sets of as many reps as possible, during your normal ab training.
Wide-Grip Barbell Rows
The third key to a great golf swing is a strong upper body, specifically a strong back. And one of the main muscle groups responsible for a strong and stable upper back are the lats.
Exercises like the deadlift will be a lot of strength in the lats, but to take your strength to the next level add in wide-grip barbell rows. The wide-grip allows you to specifically target the lats.
Go heavy here, and perform 4 sets of 8 reps.
There are few exercises that can help you build more power and explosiveness than the power clean. Creating power is vital for a good golf swing. Power will help you increase club head speed, adding distance to any shot.
The power clean will also help you add weight to your other lifts by training your neurological system to recruit muscle fibers more quickly.
Because of the technical nature of the exercise, the goal with the clean is not to go super heavy; we’re not training for the Olympics. Instead, select a weight that is approximately 65% of your 1-rep max, and perform 5 sets of 2 or 3 reps, focusing on explosiveness while maintaining good form.
Lateral Lunge to Single Arm Overhead Press
If there’s one move you should be doing that encompasses everything that happens during the golf swing, it’s the lateral lunge to single arm press. According to my friend and personal trainer Mike Gorski, every golfer should be performing this exercise.
“The lateral lunge to single arm press incorporates a lateral hip drive, great stability challenge, and triple extension. It follows the sequence that must happen in every golf swing; hips to core to upper body. The overhead press also helps with scapular stability, which is crucial for preventing those wicked slices.”
This is a rather advanced movement, so make sure you have the mobility to perform a lateral lunge, and the stability to do a single leg, single arm press. Perform 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps per side.
Incorporate these movements into your existing training program, or substitute them as a total body routine once or twice per week. They may not turn you into the next PGA great, but they’ll help you take some money off your friends this summer.
Want to take your golf game to the next level? Let me know how I can help.