Organizing Your Golf Fitness Program
I feel like a broken record when I tell people if you want to be a better golfer, you need to workout like a golfer. Oftentimes when I ask golfers what their fitness regime looks like they go on to tell me about a bodybuilding program they saw on TikTok.
Yes, I am happy they are doing something, but maybe that something is doing more harm than good for them.
Why you ask?
Bodybuilding programs are geared towards building lean muscle mass that is aesthetically pleasing. Hence why they go on stage and are judged by the way they look. Their programs are not geared towards improving mobility, rotational power, and strength. I am not saying you will end up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger after following a bodybuilding program, there is a lot more that goes into transforming your body.
But hey listen, if a bodybuilding program was the way to go, you would see more people looking like the picture below.
Instead, you see more golfers that look like this picture.
The point I am trying to make is, if you are looking to improve your ability on the golf course, you need to follow a program that is catered to a golfer.
What does a golfer’s fitness program look like? I’m glad you asked.
Generally, I break a golfer’s program up into 4 parts
The warm-up is broken into 3 parts: soft tissue, mobility, and movement.
Soft Tissue: foam rolling areas of the body that are toned up or stiff. Commonly, the quads, lats and pecs are areas you want to work on.
Mobility: Building off the foam rolling, you want to stretch areas of need. Choose 2-3 exercises that target the hips and 2-3 that target the shoulders.
Movement: Now it’s time to elevate the body temperature. You can bike, row, run, or simply do a dynamic warm-up.
In order to generate high velocities with the golf club, we need to be powerful. During this area we will work on lower and upper body plyometrics. I program this at the beginning because you should be fresh - if you are trying to be powerful, you don't want to be fatigued.
Lower Body Plyometrics: Think jumps, bounds, and hops. This is used for balance and to teach the lower body how to generate force into the ground. You can be pretty creative during this. I typically program 1 unilateral (1 leg) and 1 bilateral (2 legged) exercises.
Upper Body Plyometrics: Typically, this is done with med balls. I like them because of the ease of use and variability. Not only is it simple to progress, but it allows for the golfer to do sport-specific movements - for example, a scoop toss has direct transfer to the swing.
After the power, comes the strength work. For most of my golfers, they perform full body routines that are geared towards building functional strength. Meaning, I want them to be strong with adequate movement. The buckets I always aim to fill are single leg strength, core stability, single arm pulling, and others. Below is an example of strength exercises for a golfer.
A1. Split Squat
A2. Dead Bugs
B1. Single Arm Cable Row
B2. T-Spine Open Books
C1. Cossack Squat
C2. Pallof Press
D1. Inverted Row
D2. Farmers Carry
This is contingent upon the golfer’s needs. If they need to work on body composition, it may be conditioning. If it is flexibility, it will be additional mobility work. Everyone is different and each person has different goals they are looking to accomplish. The “finisher” is a good time to bring up areas of need for 10-15 minutes.
Now that you have seen an example of a golfer’s workout, I hope you can see how different this is from your usual chest/triceps and back/biceps type routine. If there are two takeaways from this article, it’s that you need to program power drills and mobility exercise. At least by incorporating those, you will be working on range of motion and force development - two critical keys to improving power output on the golf course.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. Would love to hear how this can help or what has helped you as a golfer!