Today we're going to talk about some exercises for avid golfers of all ages. Believe it or not, physical conditioning is a huge part of golf. But this very much depends on what you’re bringing to the table, your level of fitness, your experience, and so forth, as some of you may not be quite as young as you used to be, hence, your body's not working quite as well as I used to be. A lot of these things would have an implication on what sort of exercises might be best for you.
One thing that we do like to encourage golfers is to focus on exercises that don’t necessarily mimic a golf swing. Often, people mistakenly think that exercises involving lots of rotation is the key in all of these. They’re normally trying to move heavy weights in the same pattern as the golf swing, and there's a lot of evidence suggests that isn't the right thing to do.
What we urge you to do is just generally improve the foundation of strength, which you've got in the legs, the pelvis, the hips, and the trunk. This can be done through good quality foundations of strength conditioning such as squats, deadlifts, pushes, and pulls. In addition, it’s vital to train resistance movements like rotation, side flexion, and extension.
With that, we’ve put together three basic exercises that should help you elevate your fitness for golf.
A paloff press would involve a resistance band where you bring tension onto it by taking the band away from you and resist rotation from it. Basically, this is an anti-rotation exercise that improves your core strength.
You can begin by simply taking the band, pushing out, resisting the rotation, and bringing back to center. The idea for the paloff press is that by taking your hands away from your chest, the band increases the lever, which makes it much harder and tries to get you to resist back.
Look to repeat the movement for 10 times on each side. You can even modify and help that to tie in with your level of physical conditioning to make it more difficult. But for now, let’s just stick to the basics first.
The next thing we'll talk about is squat. This is a fantastic exercise that really targets lots of different areas of the body, particularly the trunk to help you keep an upright position and work on the big powerful back extensors. Squats strengthen the quads and the glutes, which are really important during a golf swing. They also help you to develop that ability to get a ground reaction force—or basically, how much you push into the floor and what the floor gives back to you.
In hindsight, learning how to do a basic squat is the most important thing. It may sound strange, but a lot of people—not just golfers—execute this badly. A nice and easy way to do it is with a bench or a chair behind you. Just practice gently dropping back to touch the seat and stand up from there. You can even do this with or without added weight.
The crucial part in all of these is for you to get used to the movement pattern, and then eventually add weight as you progress. Something like a kettlebell or a dumbbell will do, so you can perform something like a goblet squat to improve your posture. Hold the weight close to your chest, before dropping into that squat position. Explode back up and make sure you keep a nice position upright through the through the trunk. There are a ton of ways that this can then be progressed, adding into barbell and a variety of other different pieces of equipment.
A trap bar is a nice piece of equipment to have. What’s more, it presents a combination of a deadlift and a squat, or a dead squat to target more key body parts in a golf swing.
This nice compound movement greatly enhances the strength around the scapular, the thoracic spine, the trunk, as well as the legs—or parts of the body that contribute to a perfect golf swing. It’s safe to say that these are the type of equipment and exercises that will have a really good impact on your strength conditioning and your performance on the golf course.
Furthermore, the trap bar puts lots of load through the squat and encourages proper squat movement pattern, without putting too much pressure on the lower back. It’s particularly beneficial for golfers who may have certain issues, previous injuries, or are just starting to learn the basic movement patterns of a deadlift and a squat.