Who wouldn’t like a bit of extra distance off the tee? How about a more powerful swing? No matter what level you play at, you can always improve your physical performance – and not just by crunching loads of weights in the gym.
Golf Care speaks to golf strength and conditioning coach Jamie Greaves, who offers his top 5 exercises guaranteed to improve your golf game.
It turns out you needn’t leave the comfort of your own home. So, stick the television on – Sunday evening works when the golf is on – and get to work…
1. Bear sit rotation
When it comes to simple mobility exercises, this is one of Greaves’ favourites.
Golf is a rotational sport, but many golfers lack rotation through the hips and thoracic spine. This exercise will help you overcome this and get those hips moving.
Start by sitting in the ‘bear sit position’ (see the video below for reference), with your knees bent, heels pressed into the ground. Ensure your torso is upright.
What you’re trying to do is gently rotate the hips internally so that the knees come together, and then externally so that the knees split apart.
“You should perform this nice and slowly,” adds Greaves. “Be sure that you are feeling the movement in the hips and not in the knees.
“Although the knees move, the motion is created from the hips. If you’re feeling it more in the knees, it won’t be helping.”
Greaves recommends performing around 10 repetitions and holding for a second or two at the “end ranges”.
Why is such an exercise important? “Internal rotation of the hips is crucial in golf, yet when I assess golfers it’s one of the things they struggle with the most,” explains Greaves.
“Mainly our lifestyle contributes to that. We’re designed to move. The hip joint is an amazing joint, but we tend not to move it.”
Put your backside up against the back of the sofa and give it a go.
Watch how to perform a bear sit rotation here
2. Half kneeling rotation with side bend
This is another super exercise to help improve your mobility which works the thoracic spine.
To perform this exercise, start in a half-kneeling position (see the video below for reference), with your fingertips behind your head.
Next, rotate as far as you can to the direction of the front knee. From there, side bend to each side, staying in your rotated position.
After the side bends, you should take a deep breath out and rotate ever further – and repeat the process three times.
Many golfers, especially seniors, tend to hunch over the ball, which “kills their rotation” – so Greaves is a big fan of this exercise.
“As well as encouraging rotation and side bend, it also encourages extension, or what I call staying tall through the torso.”
Make sure the lower body stays as stable as possible throughout the entire motion, and repeat the process on the other side.
Watch how to perform the half kneeling rotation with side bend here
3. Goblet squat
Lower body strength has a huge correlation to clubhead speed. The stronger someone is through the legs, the faster they’re able to swing a club.
Start by standing, holding a weight in the goblet position (see the video below for reference), and screw your feet into the ground.
Next, lower down through your maximum range of motion, making sure you stay tall through the torso, and drive up with intent.
Be careful not to round excessively through the torso as you move, and make sure you feel your heels flat to the floor.
As you move, the knees should track out slightly to create space for the hips.
If you’re apprehensive about starting with a weight, don’t worry.
“Start by holding onto something; then squat with just your own weight; and finally progress to hold a weight in front of you,” says Greaves.
“This is a super strength move to work on, regardless of whether you play golf.”
Watch how to perform the goblet squat here
4. Elevated push up
Now it’s time for some press-ups to work the upper body. But fear not, you can work your way up in terms of difficultly.
Use something to elevate the hands, such as a bench (see the video below for reference).
Imagine screwing the hands into the bench, to stabilise the shoulders and let the elbows track nicely.
You want to lower down and press up in a controlled manner, through a full range of motion.
It’s also important for the elbows to track at around 45 degrees, and that you don’t round or extend excessively as you move.
“You could start on the stairs, maybe three steps up,” says Greaves. “As you get better, put your hands on the second step and then onto the ground.
“This is an important one to have, especially for senior golfers who tend to lose upper body strength.”
Watch how to perform an elevated push up here
5. Squat jumps
Squat jumps may strike fear into some people, but, as Greaves is keen to stress, you need only do as many as five to start off with.
“It’s a speed power-based exercise and you should be trying to jump as high as you can,” he explains.
“As we get older, we lose muscle mass and strength, plus we lose the ability to generate force quickly.”
This exercise, Greaves says, is “going to get things moving a little faster”.
Start in a standing posture, then drop into a quarter squat position and explode up.
Focus on landing softly in that same quarter squat position, and ensure that you don’t land with the legs straight or in a deep squat position.
“Depending on your age, you can make it easier, so you don’t even have to leave the floor,” adds Greaves.
“You can go up and down fast, but not leave the floor, or you can even do it holding onto something, so you feel safe – which is very important.
“Just having that intent on moving that little bit faster is going to make a difference with your golf.”
Watch how to perform a squat jump here