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5 exercises guaranteed to improve your golf game

Golf Care, 20th September 2022

exercises to improve golf


Golfers, who wouldn’t like a bit of extra distance off the tee? A more powerful swing?

No matter what level you play at, you can always improve your physical performance—and not just by crunching weights in the gym, either.

We caught up with golf strength and conditioning coach Jamie Greaves to talk through a handful of exercises that are guaranteed to improve your golf game.

And it turns out you needn’t even leave the comfort of your own home—who knew?


5 exercises to improve your golf game

exercises to improve golf


Bear sit rotation

This is one of Greaves’ favourite simple mobility exercises.

Golf is a rotational sport, but many golfers lack rotation through the hips and thoracic spine. However, this exercise will help you overcome this and get your hips moving.

Start by sitting in the ‘bear sit position’ (see the video below for reference), with your knees bent and 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,” says Greaves. “Be sure you’re 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”.

“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,” Greaves adds.

“Our lifestyle contributes to that. We’re designed to move. The hip joint is amazing, 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 in the video below.


Half kneeling rotation with side bend

This is another great exercise to help improve your mobility and work 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 in the direction of the front knee. From there, side bend to each side, staying in your rotated position.

After the side bends, 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”, he says.

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.


Goblet squat

Lower body strength and clubhead speed are intrinsically linked. The stronger someone is through the legs, the faster they can swing a club.

For this exercise, 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 or not.”


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 difficulty.

You should use something to elevate the hands, such as a bench (see the video below for reference). Imagine screwing your 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 you mustn’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 important, particularly for senior golfers who tend to lose upper body strength.”

Watch how to perform an elevated push-up here.


Squat jumps

Squat jumps may strike fear into some people, but, as Greaves stresses, 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. However, this exercise gets 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 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 hold onto something so you feel safe—which is very important.

“Just moving that little bit faster is going to make a considerable difference to your golf game.”

Watch how to perform a squat jump here.


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