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5 Golf-Specific Exercises You Can Do At Home to Improve Your Game

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If I told you that devoting 15 minutes, three times per week, to an exercise program performed from home with no equipment could significantly increase your distance and help you play better golf, would you be interested?

The five exercises provided here can be done at home with just a golf club. They work on a combination of mobility, stability, and strength, all vital for a powerful efficient golf swing. As an added bonus, they can easily done as a warm-up before practice or play.

To start working on your golfing body, perform the following circuit for:

  • 1-3 rounds
  • 5-10 reps each exercise
  • 3 times per week

1. Pelvic Rotations

Pelvic rotations are a great way to work on the ability to separate the rotation of the lower and upper body during the swing, which is important for correct sequencing and power production. They also work on hip mobility. Pressing the hands down through the golf club makes it easier to keep the upper half still while the pelvis rotates.

2. Half-Kneeling Thoracic Rotation

Half-kneeling thoracic rotations also work on separation, but in the opposite fashion. The lower half stays stable, and rotation comes from the thoracic spine (mid back). Thoracic rotation is essential for an adequate shoulder turn. The half-kneeling position will limit how much we can “cheat” with our hips, while also challenging stability of the trunk and hips.

3. Hip Hinge

The hinge is a great posture assessment tool and can teach people how to hinge from their hips, rather than rounding or flexing from their lower back. This is important for our address position in golf and many exercises in the gym, especially deadlift variations, which are an excellent addition to a more comprehensive program down the road. The golf club must remain in contact with your tailbone, between your shoulder blades, and if possible, the back of your head. Maintain a slight knee flex, and note how the movement is a hinge at the hips, not a squat.

4. Split Squat With Rotation

Split squats with rotation work on lower body strength and stability in beginner trainees, and they may also help with mobility in the hips and thoracic spine. A strong, stable lower body is commonplace in big hitters, but it’s often lacking in amateurs/physically weaker players. Lower yourself as far as you can under control, ideally hovering the knee of the rear leg just off the floor while keeping the heel of the front foot glued to the floor. Most people cannot lower all the way at first, so go to wherever is manageable for now and aim to get lower over time.

5. Plank With Shoulder Tap

These are a more difficult variation of the very popular front-plank exercise, and they also add an extra stability component for the trunk and core. It’s a great exercise to train trunk and shoulder stability.

The goal is to maintain strict alignment from your ankles to your ears and resist any rotation of the hips as you raise your hand to tap the opposite shoulder. Imagine a glass of water resting on your lower back, which you don’t want to spill. If you find this too difficult at first, try elevating your hands onto a bench or step.

If you liked what you saw in this article and want a much more in-depth, golf-specific strength-and-conditioning program, you can check out the Fit For Golf Online Training Programs. GolfWRX readers can avail of 20% off by entering golfwrx20 in the coupon bar at checkout. Please feel free to comment, get in touch with me via e-mail, and share with anyone who may be interested. 

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Mike Carroll is a Strength & Conditioning Coach specialising in the physical training of golfers. He combines his scientific background with real world experience to provide effective solutions for golfers who require improved physical function to enable better play. Having worked with athletes from a wide variety of sports since 2011, Mike turned his attention to golfers exclusively in 2013. While playing himself, and following the professional game he noticed there was huge potential for golfers of all levels to improve their performance by getting their bodies in a state more optimal for the demands of golf. Since then he was worked with hundreds of golfers from all over the world, both in person and online. Mike is originally from Cork, Ireland, but currently based in Irvine, California. He is available for in person and online training services and can be contacted by via his website www.fitforgolf.blog He has a BSc in Sport & Exercise Science, UK Strength & Conditioning Association Accreditation, and TPI Level 2 Certified Golf Fitness Professional.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Larry

    Sep 13, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Should these excerices be done on each side?

  2. John Krug

    Sep 8, 2017 at 8:37 am

    The last thing anyone 50+ should do is a plank as it will damage your elbows.

    • Michael Carroll

      Sep 13, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      Hey John,

      Thanks for your input, no reason for a plank to damage your elbows if you start at the appropriate difficulty level. If your elbows hurt during them try elevating your hands onto a bench or some steps as suggested in the article. There is lots of of people 50+ doing planks without any elbow damage. If planks do bother your elbows there are lots of similar exercises you can try.

      Regards,
      Mike

  3. Sir Humperdink

    Sep 8, 2017 at 3:00 am

    I just humpalot

  4. Acew7iron

    Sep 6, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    My knees hurt just watching you do them…

    • Michael Carroll

      Sep 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      Hi Acew7iron,

      If you have issues with your knees there are many variations of the exercises shown here which may be of benefit to you. Step-ups are often less stressful for people who have knee issues compared to lunges. Also, by doing the lunges through a partial range of motion that isn’t painful you should get benefit also. In time you may be able to increase the range of motion.

  5. Old Slim

    Sep 6, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Great exercises, Micheal, but would you recommend these exercises to a ‘golfer’ who has 50# of belly hanging over their belt buckle plus mantits?

    • Michael Carroll

      Sep 13, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Hey Old Slim.

      Yes I absolutely recommend these exercises to to a “‘golfer’ who has 50# of belly hanging over their belt buckle plus mantits”.

      The exercises may need to be modified to easier variations, and a change in nutrition may also be valuable.

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Trackman Tuesday (Episode 2): Driver Loft

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Welcome to Episode 2 of Trackman Tuesday. In this weekly series, I will be using Trackman data to help you understand the game of golf in a little more detail and help you hit better shots and play better golf.

In this week’s episode, I look at driver loft. What effect does driver loft have on your shots and how important is it, really?

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How Far Away from the Ball Should You Be at Address?

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How far away from the ball should you be at address? This video is in response to a question from Tom McCord on Facebook.

In this video, I look at the setup position. I offer a simple way to check your distance from the ball at address with your driver, irons and wedges.

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Tour Pros Revealed: 3 Tests to See How You Stack Up

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You want to be better at golf, more consistent and longer off the tee. I am sure a lot of you would love to stop hurting. You would like these things with minimal work, if possible. You also want them yesterday. That about sum it up?

In the next 5 minutes, you’ll learn about the one thing that solves these problems for good. Before we dive in, though, I want to tee up three stats for you from my research.

  1. PGA Tour players can jump between 18-22 inches off the ground while LPGA Tour players can jump between 16-20 inches off the ground. Long drive competitors can often leap 30+ inches off the ground!
  2. Elite-level golfers who drive the ball 300+ yards can shot put a 6-pound ball more than 30 feet with less than a 5-percent difference in right-handed to left-handed throws.
  3. Elite golfers in the world can hurl a medicine ball with a seated chest pass just as far in feet as they can jump in inches (ie. a 20-inch vertical leap and a 20-foot seated chest pass).

What do these numbers have to do with you and your game? More importantly, what do these stats have to do with solving your problems? Let’s start by telling you what the solution is.   

Objective Assessment and Intelligent Exercise Prescription

Say that three times fast. It’s a mouth full… But seriously, read it two more times and think about what that means.

It means that before you act on anything to improve your health or your game, you need to objectively assess what the problem is and get to the root cause. You should use quality objective data to arrive at intelligent health and golf improvement decisions based on the long-term likelihood that they will be successful. We can’t just select exercises, swing changes or training aids based on what is hot in the market today or what the latest celebrity was paid big bucks to sell to us.

There is a reason why the infomercials you see today on Golf Channel will be different in 2 months. The same gimmicks run out of steam when enough people realize that is what they are… gimmicks. When looking to achieve your goals of playing better golf and/or having less pain, don’t just grab for the quick fix as so many golfers today do. 

We are in the information age. Information from quality data is power. Using this data intelligently, you can fix problems in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost. Hopefully, I am giving you the power to make a meaningful and lasting change in your game. I’m sorry to say that most amateurs will not be hitting 300+ yard drives despite what the latest marketing ploy will have you believe. But, if you know what tests you can do to measure the areas that affect your distance off the tee, you can at least gain insight into where your biggest return on your time investment will be. 

This is where working with a golf fitness expert can be so valuable to you. Not only can they help you interpret your results from the tests, but they will also be able to prescribe you the most effective means to move closer to 300 yards from where you are right now.  

If you have a problem with your car not accelerating as fast as you would like or not being able to reach top end speed on the highway, I hope you take it to the mechanic and don’t just look up quick fixes on YouTube to see what you can do on your own. The reason you pay the mechanic to fix your car is because that is what they do all day. They will get it done as quickly as possible. More importantly, they’ll get correctly so that the problem doesn’t pop up again in 2 weeks.

A golf fitness expert is no different. Use them for their expertise and knowledge. Once you have a diagnosis of what is holding you back and a plan to correct it, you are on your way and won’t have to waste any more time or money trying silly quick fixes that never stick.

The three statistics mentioned earlier represent numbers measured across the globe by industry leaders and at our facility 3-4 times per year on hundreds of golfers each time. Our facility has thousands of data points. With this much data comes the ability to draw conclusions from objective assessments. These conclusions drive the intelligent implementation of successful solutions directed at the root causes of problems for thousands of golfers around the globe.

The first three statistics have an R-value of over 0.85 in correlation to clubhead speed. Translation: if you perform well in the first three tests with high numbers, you are very likely to have a high club speed. Further, if you improve in any of those three tests relative to where you started, you are almost assured to have a higher club speed than when you began (assuming swing technique and equipment is relatively unchanged).  

Keep in mind that in statistics, correlation is not the same as cause and effect. But when the R-value is that close to 1 and anecdotally you have seen the results and changes we have, you put some weight behind these three tests. So:

  • See how high you can jump
  • See how far you can shot put a 6-pound medicine ball
  • See how far you can chest pass a 6-pound medicine ball from a seated position

Doing so will give you an idea of how much power you have in your lower body, total rotary system and upper body respectively. Train whichever one is the worst, or train them all if you want. Rest assured that if you improve one of them, you will more than likely increase your swing speed.  

By doing these assessments and addressing the one or two weak areas, you will improve with the least work possible. Sounds about what you were looking for, right? If you are able to identify where you need to improve BEFORE you buy whatever is claiming to fix your problems, you will save lots of money and time. You will actually start to improve with the least amount of work possible and in the least amount of time possible.  

What’s next? After completing the assessment tests, start working to improve them.

  • Coming Soon: Lower Body Power for Golf
  • Coming Soon: Upper Body Power for Golf
  • Coming Soon: Rotary Power for Golf
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