The Golf-Gym Workout

May 10, 2007
PGA TOUR staff

In this article, I'm going to talk about how to use the equipment in your local gym and tailor it to a golf-specific workout. If you are starting a program, I suggest going through this training four days a week, for 30 minutes a session. A Monday-Tuesday/Thursday-Friday program is recommended. You don't have to do all these exercises during every workout, but try at least one from each major group: back, legs, abdomen and arms.


The biggest difference between golf fitness training and general fitness training is that after each exercise of 12 to 20 reps, a golfer should complete a stretch that corresponds to the muscle he or she is working. This allows the blood to flow to the muscle and encourages good flexibility and stamina. You want lean, pliable muscles, not bulky ones.


On the course Late in the round, when the pressure is on, the last thing a golfer needs is to be hunched over. A strong back and shoulders provide the posture needed in the address position and the all-important ability to repeat your swing.

In the gym On the golf course, back problems are as common as bogeys. Nearly every muscle in the back is employed during a swing. There are four things to remember when working on your back: stretch first, squeeze your stomach muscles while you execute the exercise (the ab muscles complement the back), exhale as you perform the rep (not after) and avoid being hunched over.

SEATED ROW This is one of the best exercises for golfers. Sit tall and upright. Keep your shoulders back. Now pull the handles toward you as if you were rowing. If the machine you're using allows you to work one arm at a time, do that.


On the course Strengthening your arm muscles will increase your clubhead speed, which will lead to increased length off the tee. Stronger arms also help you execute shots around the green and from the rough.

In the gym Many arm exercises can be done without the aid of gym equipment, although it helps to have a flat bench (below left) and some dumbbells handy. It should come as no surprise that arm strength, stamina and flexibility will definitely help your game. I don't recommend using heavy weights. This will make the muscles bulky and can impede your swing.

TRICEPS DIP Using a flat bench, go from a straight-arm position to having your arms bent at the elbow at a 90-degree angle, then push back up. Keep the back straight.

DUMBBELL SHOULDER PRESS As you push up, keep the palms facing each other. Use a weight you can easily lift 12 to 20 times.


In the gym The best golfers will tell you that without a solid base, their swing would crumble. Balance and strength in the thigh, calf and glutes will lead to a powerful, fluid swing. Cardiovascular exercises like jogging will help, but some weight training coupled with stretching is a must for this part of the body.

On the course During the backswing, the legs are your foundation. During the downswing, the legs are the engine that powers the machine. And by the end of a round, the stamina you build in your legs can be the difference between winning and losing a match--especially if you are walking with a golf bag on your back.

DUMBBELL SHOULDER PRESS Use one leg instead of two to improve strength and stability in your weaker leg. Work the thigh, calf and glutes by pushing the sled up the incline. Then repeat.

SINGLE-LEG EXTENSION From a seated position, extend the legs away from the body and then back down to work the thighs.


In the gym Not only do the abdominal muscles play an important role in the swing, they also complement the back muscles. Strong abs will help you get more mileage out of a bad back. Doing a lot of reps and stretches are the key.

On the course The rotation of the torso is enhanced by strong abs. Strong abs increase the speed with which the body unwinds, adding distance to your shots. They also provide stamina to repeat the rotation and increase accuracy.

ABDOMINAL MACHINES On the first machine, start in the upright position and bring the elbows down to the knees. On the second, the lower body is still, while the upper body twists up to 90 degrees to the side.