Man golfing at golf course

Pro-Trainers Reveal the Workouts You Need to Boost Your Golf Game

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A lot of mental preparation goes into a well-played game of golf, from understanding club selection and ball placement to reading greens and maintaining focus on your swing. However, physical preparation, both before and during your round, can also go a long way towards improving your game and help prevent injuries when you are trying to outdrive others on the green.

To help you make this golf season your best yet, we checked in with a few of our favorite fitness experts to get the inside scoop on the best workout moves to improve your golf game. These exercises focus on enhancing the parts of your body that are critical to your golf game: upper body (back, shoulders, and chest), hips, hamstrings, and core, but they will give your endurance and concentration a boost, too.

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Joey Diovisalvi, a.k.a. “Joey D” is a golf trainer, expert biomechanics coach, and BODYARMOR ambassador who has worked with top pro golfers Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler and currently trains Dustin Johnson.

He provided two resistance exercises that will help improve your game, both requiring the use of a bi-lateral resistance band.

The first, a standing upper body rotation, will benefit both your stability and core strength. The take away and turn exercise will also help improve stability, as well as your balance and shoulder rotation.

Here are the steps provided by Joey D:

Standing Upper Body Rotation

  1. Attach the center anchor point of a two-handled resistance band to a solid object waist-high.
  2. Grasp band handles with both hands with arms fully extended directly in front of you.

  3. Step backward to take the slack out of the bands.

  4. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. This is the starting position.

  5. While keeping arms fully extended, rotate your upper body to the right as far as possible.

  6. Once you reach full resistance to the right, immediately rotate to the left as far as possible. (Note: The tendency will be for your knees to straighten to help the upper body turn, so keep your lower body stable and hips square.)

  7. Complete three sets of 10 repetitions.

Take Away and Turn

  1. Attach the center anchor point to a solid object at about knee height.

  2. Holding a band handle in each hand, assume your address position with good posture, full arm extension, etc. There should be slight tension the bands; this is the starting position.

  3. Going at the same speed you’d use in your normal swing, start your takeaway by rotating your upper body to the right.

  4. Instead of simulating the swing with both arms, do it with just the right, leaving your left arm in place; this will help to remind you to keep a proper spine angle.

  5. Rotate your upper body as far as it can go without losing posture and without your lower body starting to turn or pivot. (Note: You should feel a stretch through your chest at the top of the motion.)

  6. Return to the starting position, then do a takeaway using your left arm. Up and back with your right arm, then up and back with your left arm, completes one rep.

  7. Complete three sets of 10 repetitions.

Man doing a forward bench stretch, text yoga

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Brett Larkin, founder and CEO of UpLifted Yoga, says yoga can provide numerous benefits for athletes, including golfers: body recovery, stretching sore muscles, and strengthening muscles that are not regularly used.

Standing Forward Fold Stretch

For golfers, Larkin recommends a standing forward fold stretch to improve mobility and to help recover from back and shoulder pain. “This pose will not only stretch your shoulders but also relieve any lower back tension and stretch the hamstrings, as well,” Larkin says.

Here are the steps provided by Larkin for the standing forward fold stretch:

  1. Start standing and shrug the shoulders up to the ears and then roll them back down the spine – do this a couple of times.

  2. Reach the arms behind the lower back and interlace the fingers.

  3. Bend your knees as much as you need to and begin to fold forward. Keep the back flat here, not curved.

  4. Let the hands lift away from the lower back, keeping your fingers interlaced behind your back. (Note: You should feel a deeper stretch in the hamstrings and opening in the shoulders the more you let your hands float away from the lower back.)

  5. Hang out here for about 20 seconds and repeat as many times as you like.

Man doing deadlift, text upper body exercises

John Gardner, the CEO and co-founder of Kickoff, says strength training –particularly upper body exercises – can be overlooked as a way to improving a golf game. “Strength training plays a huge role in the swinging speed, power and carry and drive distances,” Gardner says. He provided steps for two exercises that can improve your upper body strength:

Romanian Deadlifts

  1. Hold a bar or kettlebell with an overhand grip at hip level.

  2. Slowly lower the bar towards the floor while pushing your hips backwards.

  3. Bend your knees slightly while lowering the bar and keeping your shoulders back, spine straight, and head in line with your back.

  4. Press your hips forward and slowly move into a standing position, then repeat.

Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

  1. In a standing position, bring your feet together, bend your knees slightly, and lean forward.
  2. Keep your back straight and your head in line with your spine.

  3. Grab a dumbbell in each hand.

  4. Keeping your elbows shoulder-width apart, slowly bring your arms upwards while bending your elbows.

  5. Engage your back muscles and tighten your core in the movement.

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Josh Schlottman, aka Trainer Josh, compares hips for a golfer to the rotator cuffs for a pitcher in baseball – a crucial component to the success of either athlete. “Improving hip stability will give you greater control of your golf swing and also prevent painful back injuries,” he says.

He provided two exercises for strengthening hip stability. The first, wall stork, strengthens the outer hip muscles. The second, roller hip bridges, will “reactivate your glutes and hamstrings, strengthen your internal hip rotators, and correct your pelvis position,” according to Schlottman.

Wall Stork

  1. Standing sideways at a wall, place your shoulder up against it.
  2. Lift your leg closest to the wall and place it against the wall with the knee bent.

  3. Stand tall and use your outside leg to push your body into the wall.

  4. Squeeze your outer hip and hold this position for 20-60 seconds per side.

Roller Hip Bridges

  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent, your toes pointing upwards, and your heels firmly on the ground.

  2. Grab a foam roller and squeeze it between your thighs about halfway between your hips and knee.

  3. Tilt and hold your pelvis upwards as if you’re tucking your hips to fit into a tight pair of pants.

  4. Lift your hips off the ground and hold the high position for 30-60 seconds.

Whether it’s an at-home spin class on your stationary bike, a jog around the local track, or 30 minutes on the elliptical at the gym, cardio is going to provide the endurance benefits you need to maintain your form and force in a long game.

On the golf course, improving your CVRA (Cardio Vascular Respiratory Efficiency) will lead to “consistent performance during the round – especially on long courses with big elevation changes,” Joey D says.

Additional Tips

Stay Hydrated

“Hydration helps everything, always,” according to Joey D. Benefits on the golf course include maintained focus, muscle function, and endurance.

“Healthy hydration with electrolytes and a pH 9+ makes a huge difference (I’m a BODYARMOR SportWater guy), especially when you start hydrating before practice and play,” he says.

Stay Loose

Joey D recommends that you perform some leg swing kicks between holes to help keep your hamstrings loose. You can also do some shoulder stretches and walk around the tee box if you are waiting for the group in front of you.

Stay Patient

Results may not be evident right away, but you should start seeing some improvements by incorporating golf-related movements 3 times a week for 4 weeks. During this time, you will “allow your body the opportunity to integrate these movement patterns,” Joey D says.

“Give it a little time and you’ll feel and play better,” he says, “and enjoy the game more!”

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