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The Best Golf Exercises

Mar 21, 2008
I am often asked by patients and clients for the best exercises to help them improve their golf game. The answer is always the same, it depends. This usually is not the answer they were hoping for, but let me explain.

Regardless of the sport you are training for, there are rarely a few exercises that are the best. Sure there are compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, and push-ups that involve a lot of muscles and should be incorporated in most programs but that does not mean they are necessarily the best for you.

The best exercises for you depend on what your weakest points are. Perhaps you have very strong hips but poor flexibility. In that case, a few key stretches would be your most important. Maybe you have good flexibility but are stiff in your mid back and weak in your hips and core. Then you would want to focus on mobility exercises and hip and core strengthening. It does not mean those are all the exercises you should focus on, but you should put extra emphasis on correcting your weak spots.

There are general limitations we typically see in different populations. Common findings for most of the golfers we work with are as follows: poor hip and scapular strength, poor core strength and endurance, tight hamstrings and pectoralis muscles, stiff thoracic spine and hips.

Here are some great exercises to target these areas.

MOBILITY
-foam roll on the thoracic spine
-hip rotation-standing with a golf club held in front of you rotate side to side without moving your feet.

STABILITY
-prone and side plank held to fatigue. Both sides should be pretty equal. If not do 2 extra sets on the weak side.
-bird dog
-push ups on medicine balls or on a stability ball to improve shoulder stabilization

FLEXIBILITY
-hamstring stretches-lay on your back with your foot up on the door jam to the point you feel a slight pull. Hold 15-30 seconds.
-doorway stretch-put your fore arms up on a doorway and lean in to stretch your chest. Do a set with your elbows even with your shoulders, above your shoulders, and lower than shoulder level.

STRENGTH AND POWER
-double and single leg squats
-push ups, bench press or dumbbell press
-pull ups, horizontal pull ups or rows
-medicine ball diagonal throws or overhead slams

Of course this is just a sample but gives you an idea of what you might need to work on.

Having a balanced program that covers all aspects of training including mobility, flexibility, stability, strength and power is essential. People often tend to neglect areas they need work on because they struggle more with those exercises. It is usually more fun and much easier training areas that we are already pretty successful with. Having a balanced program with extra emphasis on your weak links will make a big difference on your performance and also injury prevention.
About the Author
Ultimate Performance for Golf has recently been released by Rob Siclair. Rob is a physical therapist with a degree in Movement & Sports Science and works training and rehabilitating athletes of all levels.
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