What Are The Best Exercises For The Golfer?

by : Sean Cochran

With all the talk about the players on tour getting stronger andmore flexible, we hear a lot about exercising for golf fromtelevision commentators and read about it in the golfpublications. But what exactly are the best exercises for theamateur golfer?

A great question that has a good answer, but before we give youthe answer let us provide some background so the answer makes alittle more sense to you. First of all, discussing the golfswing for the time being will get us rolling.

What exactly is the golf swing? The golf swing is an athleticmovement that requires using of the entire body from "feet tofingertips" in order to complete the swing. Realize that thegolf swing is not about the club, not just about your grip, orwhere your head is during the swing. The golf swing is amovement that requires your entire body to move through asequence of movements with the correct timing. To perform the"athletic movement" of the golf swing requires the body to beginat address, move through the actual phases of the golf swing andcomplete it with the follow through. In order to perform thisactivity with efficiency and repetitively, the body must havecertain physical parameters.

These parameters, as I call them, are actual physical categoriesof the body that need to be developed to a certain level. Thesecategories of the body are the platform from which the body isable to perform the athletic movement of a golf swingefficiently. The categories are probably familiar to many ofyou, but for the purpose of this article let us briefly runthrough them.

The body is required to have certain levels of flexibility,balance, endurance, strength, and power to complete a golfswing. If the body lacks in any of the above categories, thenthe results will be seen in the golf swing. The results areusually in the form of poor mechanics, bad shots, or poor scoreson the course. So, now that we know what the connection isbetween the "body" and the "swing" let us address the questionabout the best exercises for golf.

The Best Exercises for Golf

Let's say you walk into your local health club and see all thefancy machines and aerobic machines at the facility to get youshape. What ones would choose? Would you choose running on thetreadmill for 30 minutes, or would it be better to push out acouple sets of bench presses? Well, the answer to our questionreally lies within the connection between your swing and yourbody.

I will tell you that exercises meant to "pump you up!" or giveyou that "six pack" are not necessarily the correct exercisesfor your golf game. Neither is that weight training program youused back in high school. So, with those thoughts in mind whatdo you think the best exercises for golf are?

Right now we know, in general terms about the golf swing, whatis required of the body for the golf swing and what exercisesare not good for the swing. Armed with that knowledge we candecipher what the best exercises for golf are for you.

Beginning with flexibility, we know that the entire body mustmove through certain ranges of motion to perform an effectivegolf swing. And what happens if your body is not able to movethrough the required ranges of motion of the golf swing? Theanswer: the golf swing will mechanically suffer resulting inshots that are less than optimal. So part of the exercises thatare good for golfers are flexibility exercises and, even moreso, flexibility exercises that work the muscles used in the golfswing through the movements involved in the golf swing. So firstand foremost flexibility exercises should be on the top of yourlist.

The second category of exercises that would be conducive to thegolf swing would have to do with balance. We hear about balancein reference to the golf swing all the time. "Stay balancedthrough the swing; transfer your weight to maintain balanceduring the swing..." But what does balance exactly mean? Balanceis the ability to control your body through a specific movementpattern. The movement pattern we are discussing just happens tobe the golf swing. We know the importance of balance in relationto the golf swing, so how do we train our body for betterbalance in the golf swing? Before we answer that question weneed to know a little more about balance. Balance in relation tothe body has to do with the connection between your nerves andmuscles. Essentially your nervous system, as a result ofmessages sent from your brain, tells your muscles how to move tomaintain the body's balance. The more efficient your nerves andmuscles are to these messages the greater balance abilities thebody develops. So balance exercises train both the nervoussystem and muscular system to become more efficient at thisfunction. Summing it all up, balance is the second category ofexercises that will assist your golf game.

The third category of exercises that are beneficial to golf haveto do with your muscles. The golf swing requires the muscles ofyour body to move through a specific range of motion(flexibility) and help with your balance capacities. In order toperform these actions and others, your body needs certain levelsof strength and endurance. The definition of strength is theability of the muscles to exert force for the given "athleticaction" (simplified definition but a good working definition forus). Endurance is the ability of your muscles to do the sameactivity over and over again for a specific amount of time.

First off, let us discuss strength. The golf swing has oneintention of developing club head speed while maintainingbalance through the swing. The muscles in your body must haveenough strength in them to do both. Now, when we discussbuilding strength for the golf swing it is NOT the type ofstrength needed to bench press 250 lbs. Or squat 500! It isstrength geared towards the improvement of your swing. I referto this type of strength as "golf strength." So when you get tothe gym, performing strength exercises like bench press will nothelp your swing. Exercises that train the body in the positionsand through the movements of the golf swing will help your swing.

In addition to strength, we need to develop endurance in yourmuscles. Think of how many swings you may take over the courseof 18 holes. In order for you to be able to swing the club thesame way on the 18th hole as you did on the 1st hole. Your bodyhas to have high levels of endurance. This will allow your bodyto perform the golf swing without getting tired. You developendurance similar to how you develop "golf strength." Utilizeexercises that train the body in the positions and through themovements of the golf swing. Lighter loads with higherrepetitions will be used for these exercises. The end resultwill be the development of "golf endurance."

The final segment of exercises beneficial to your golf swing ispower training. Power training is geared towards the ability ofyour body to generate high levels of club head speed. Powerdevelopment by the body is what allows for greater distance onyour shots. Clubs help, golf balls help, but it really comesdown to the piece of machinery, your body, swinging those cluband hitting those golf balls. Development of power for the golfswing is very similar to the development of "golf strength andendurance." It is the utilization of exercises that place yourbody in the positions and move you through movements similar tothe golf swing.


So there you have it, the answer to the types of exercises bestfor the improvement of your golf swing. I think you now realizeit is not one exercise, but a group of exercises thatincorporate flexibility, balance, endurance, strength, andpower. A combination of these exercises is what will enhanceyour golf swing. Looking for specific exercises? Take a look atour website (See below