Exercises For Senior Golfers To Try At Home

Golf Care, 6th April 2020

exercises for senior golfers

Hopefully, the Covid-19 lockdown will soon be over and you’ll be able to get back on the course. However, with the current measures keeping us indoors for the foreseeable future, there’s no guarantee of when that will be. That’s why, if you’re a senior golfer, it’s important to stay fit for when you do eventually return to playing golf. These home exercises for senior golfers will help restore mobility, prevent injury and improve your game. Let’s start by looking at the hips.

Hip exercises for golf

A lack of hip flexibility is the leading cause of lost power and accuracy in the swing of golfers aged 50 to 75. Poor flexibility tends to set in with age, but also through reduced usage of the hip muscles.

If you never use your hip muscles’ entire range of motion, the excess range will become harder to access and stiffness starts to occur. Hip loaders are designed to address this, as they exercise your hips in each direction: forwards, backwards and rotationally.

The hip loader

There are actually three versions of this exercise and they’ll enhance your range of motion in different ways.

The first version works your hips forwards and backwards, the second version works them side to side, while the last version works them rotationally. This is to simulate the range of movement involved in a golf swing.

These exercises are great to perform at home because they require no apparatus except a dining room chair.

To perform the front and back hip loader

  1. Place a sturdy chair in front of you
  2. Put your right foot on the chair
  3. Keeping your back and shoulders straight, stretch both hands towards your right foot as far as you find comfortable
  4. Return to your original position
  5. Perform 2 sets of 8-12 repetitions
  6. Switch legs and repeat

To perform the side to side hip loader

  1. Again, put your right foot on the chair
  2. Raise your right arm and reach over to bend your torso over your hip on the left side
  3. Return to your original position
  4. Perform 2 sets of 8-12 repetitions
  5. Switch legs and repeat in the opposite direction

To perform the rotational hip loader

  1. Once again, put your right foot on the chair
  2. Rotate your torso and reach around your right side as far as is comfortable
  3. Return to your original position
  4. Perform 2 sets of 8-12 repetitions
  5. Switch legs and repeat in the opposite direction

If you want to see these steps in action, play the video above.

How hip exercises benefit your game

Your hips are the most influential component in your golf swing – you need hip flexibility to rotate your body from the top of your swing to the bottom. Maintaining good hip mobility will not only minimise aches and stiffness, but also give you better control over your drives.

Bernard Gallacher: “Golf is a rotary type of action on the back swing – you basically turn to the right, keeping your head still as possible. On the forward swing, you turn to the left, again keeping your head as still as possible. Keeping your hips flexible and supple will help you to make this movement. The single most important swing rule I have retained throughout my golfing career is: clear the right side on the backswing, clear the left side on forward swing and try and swish arms as quickly as I can!”

Now, onto the back.

Back exercises for golf

If you’re a golfer aged over 50, you’ve likely experienced some back pain whilst playing golf.

Debilitating back pain affects roughly 1 in 10 people worldwide, with the frequency increases with age. However, these exercises will target your spine and vertebrae to keep them healthy and mobile for as long as possible.

Bridges

To perform bridges

  1. Lie flat on your back and bend your knees with your feet flat on the ground
  2. Make sure your feet are shoulder width apart and your arms lie flat on the ground
  3. Keeping your shoulders flat on the ground, raise your hips to form a straight line from your knees to your head
  4. Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position
  5. Perform 2 sets of 8-10 repetitions

Toe touches

To perform toe touches

  1. Stand upright with your feet together
  2. Reach your arms straight above your head and lock your hands
  3. Slowly bring your arms down in front of you
  4. Continue moving your arms down, reaching towards your toes as far as is comfortable
  5. Without overexerting yourself, hold this pose for about 8-10 seconds
  6. Perform 2 sets of 8-10 repetitions

Back extensions

To perform back extensions

  1. Lie on the floor face down with your hands by your face
  2. Slowly bring your head up and arch your back
  3. Push up to your elbows
  4. Return to the starting position
  5. Perform 2 sets of 8-10 repetitions

These exercises should give your back a comprehensive workout, helping to improve both flexibility and strength.

How back exercises benefit your game

Besides back pain being one of the most common medical complaints in the world, it’s also likely to stop you playing golf if you begin to experience it. These exercises will prolong your playing life to keep your spin, vertebrae and back muscles in good condition for as long as possible. Besides prevention of chronic pain issues, these back exercises will give you power, precision and stability in your swing, whether you’re driving or putting or anything in between.

Bernard Gallacher: “The back extension is probably the most important exercise for a golfer because it strengthens the back and helps ensure the correct posture. Standing tall with the correct posture underpins the whole golf swing and controls the plane of the swing. Rory McIlroy ‘s posture is the best in golf – it enables him to swing fast, whilst also maintaining superb balance.” 

Leg exercises for golf

A lifetime of walking around golf courses, over uneven ground and with bad postural habits can eventually take its toll on our bodies.

Your knees are particularly affected by all of this – as some readers may already have discovered to their cost.

The below leg exercises are designed to overcome pain in the knees, as well as other joints and muscles in the lower body.

Seated leg raises

To perform seated leg raises

  1. Sit forward on a chair or stool with your feet flat on the floor
  2. Make sure your back is straight and slowly lift your right leg so it’s horizontal with the floor
  3. Hold this position for around 3 seconds
  4. Return your leg to the floor
  5. Repeat with your left leg
  6. Perform 2 sets of 8-10 repetitions
  7. Repeat 8-10 times per leg

Step ups

To perform step ups

  1. Stand in front of a step in your house or use a sturdy box with your feet shoulder width apart
  2. Step onto the stair with your leg foot then bring your right foot up next to it
  3. Step down and back onto the floor in reverse – right foot, then left foot
  4. Repeat starting with the left foot
  5. Perform 2 sets of 8-10 repetitions

Single leg dip

To perform the single leg dip

  1. Put two chairs either side of you facing outwards
  2. Lowering yourself slightly, place your right leg in front of you on its heel
  3. Hold for 3 seconds and return to the starting position
  4. Change legs and repeat
  5. Perform 2 sets of 8-10 repetitions per leg

How leg exercises benefit your game

As with most exercises in this article, the virtues of these leg exercises lie in their injury prevention properties – these stretches will keep your hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves and knees mobile. This is important because being able to bend your knee more deeply – something typically difficult with stiffness or impeded mobility – engages your hamstring muscles and enables you to create more power through the downswing. It’s a common sight to see golfers lightly patting the ground and making micro-adjustments to their stance before putting or teeing off as well, so there are added benefits for posture and balance.

Bernard Gallacher: “Strong, toned legs and flexible knees help support a golfer’s rotary motion. On the backswing, the left knee should point to a spot BEHIND the ball… not at the ball, which would cause a tilting action. On the forward swing, the right knee kicks in at the ball. Essentially, knees support the correct hip movement.”

As with all the muscles and joints in our bodies, the first step is to make sure we’re using each of them correctly. It’s amazing how many bad habits we can get into through our day-to-day posture, playing form or even the way we walk.

Integrating the above exercises into a regular workout regime is a giant step towards correcting some of those bad habits, and while we’re stuck indoors under the Covid-19 epidemic, there’s no better time to do something about them! By the time the courses reopen, you’ll be raring to go.

If you feel comfortable doing each of these exercises, why not try our 5 Exercises To Improve Golf Swing Power?

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