Golf is a sport that requires more than just good aim and skillful swings; it demands a strong core. A powerful core improves your swing and helps you maintain balance and control. Luckily, several golf core exercises can help you improve your swing (and your general fitness level).
These routines specifically target the muscles essential for a strong core, such as the abdomen, lower back, and hips. Incorporating these exercises into your fitness routine can greatly enhance your game and prevent injuries.
So, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned golfer, let’s look at the top 13 golf core exercises that will help you improve your swing and take your game to the next level.
Why Improve Your Golf Swing
Golf is a game of precision, control, and patience. It’s no secret that the key to winning any game of golf lies in having a good swing. Your swing can make or break your game, which is why improving it should be your top priority if you want to become a successful golfer. When you improve your swing, you’ll find that your overall golf game will improve as well.
What makes for a great swing? A good golf swing requires proper:
- Weight distribution
By incorporating core exercises into your routine, you can strengthen your core muscles, enhancing these elements of your swing. Strong core muscles help you generate more power and stability when swinging the club, resulting in more accurate and consistent shots.
In addition to enhancing your swing, core strength exercises can improve your overall golf game. Strong core muscles also help:
- Prevent injuries
- Reduce fatigue
- Improve your posture
All of these are essential for playing your best golf game.
Golf Core Exercises to Improve Your Swing
Perhaps you understand the importance of improving your swing to boost your golf skills but are unsure where to start. If that’s you, we’ve curated this list of 13 great golf core exercises that can help. Not only can they help improve your form, but they also aid in preventing injury.
While daily practice is ideal, even incorporating just a few exercises can make a significant difference. The best part? These golf exercises cater to various fitness levels, so everyone can benefit from at least a few (if not all!).
Planks are a simple but effective core exercise that can enhance your golf swing. Holding a plank position for even 30 seconds a day can strengthen your core muscles responsible for stability and rotation in your golf swing.
The best part? Planks target the abs and the deep muscles supporting the spine. As a result, practicing planks can prevent injuries and improve your posture, allowing you to maintain proper alignment during your swing.
2. Russian Twist
Get ready to target your obliques and improve rotational strength with Russian twists.
Begin by sitting on the floor with your knees bent and your feet firmly planted on the ground. Slowly lean back until you feel your core engage, and raise your feet off the floor. Holding onto a weight or medicine ball for additional resistance, rotate your torso to both the left and right sides while maintaining steady core activation throughout the exercise.
To increase the level of difficulty and intensity, consider using a stability ball in combination with weights.
3. Cable Woodchop
The cable woodchop targets your core and improves rotational strength. Why is the latter important if you’re focused on the power of your swing? Rotational strength helps you generate more power and distance in your shots, as well as maintain proper posture throughout your swing.
Additionally, improving your rotational strength can reduce your risk of injury and increase your overall athletic ability, making it essential for any golfer looking to improve their game.
To perform a cable woodchop move, stand perpendicular to a cable machine with the cable at shoulder height. Grab the cable with both hands and rotate your body away from the machine, keeping your arms straight. Then, rotate back to the starting position, engaging your core throughout.
4. Medicine Ball Slam
The medicine ball slam is great for building explosive power in your core and upper body. To perform the move, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball at chest height. Take a deep breath, engage your core, and lift the ball overhead.
As you exhale, slam the ball to the ground with force, using your whole body to generate power. Repeat the move for several reps.
This exercise is excellent for building explosiveness, stability, and rotational power, all essential to a strong golf swing. Furthermore, since it mimics the movement of a golf swing, it can help you achieve a more fluid and efficient swing pattern.
5. Hanging Leg Raise
The hanging leg raise is an advanced exercise that targets your lower abs. Hang from a pull-up bar with your legs straight. Without swinging, lift your legs until they are parallel to the ground, then lower them back down with control.
Variations of this exercise exist to target different areas of the abdominal muscles, such as the lower abs, obliques, and hip flexors. You can perform knee tucks to isolate the lower abs while scissor kicks work the obliques. For an overall core workout, try straight leg raises or windshield wipers.
6. TRX Suspension Trainer Plank
The TRX suspension trainer plank is a variation of the standard plank that adds instability to increase core activation. It’s a great option for golfers who might not be able to work up to a regular plank just yet.
Start in a plank position with your feet suspended in the TRX straps. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, keeping your core engaged and your body straight.
7. Side Plank
Looking for something simple? Try a side plank, which targets your obliques and improves lateral stability.
Lie on your side with your legs straight and your elbow under your shoulder. Lift your hips off the ground and hold this position for 30-60 seconds, keeping your core engaged and your body straight.
For those with lower mobility or who find it difficult to sustain the plank for more than 30 seconds, start slowly with shorter planks and build your way up. Adding a second or two each day can make a big difference over time!
8. Reverse Crunch
A reverse crunch is a simple yet effective exercise that targets the muscles in your lower abs and hips.
To perform a reverse crunch, lay on your back with your legs lifted and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Slowly lift and curl your hips towards your chest, contracting your abs and squeezing your glutes at the top. Lower and repeat for several sets.
This exercise strengthens the muscles required for a stable and powerful golf swing, especially on your downswing. A strong core allows you to maintain good posture and generate more power when you swing, resulting in more distance and accuracy on the course.
9. Bird Dog
The bird dog is a great exercise for improving core stability, but it’s also great for those who struggle with balance. It’s also super simple to perform.
Start on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Keeping your core engaged, lift your left arm and right leg off the ground, then lower back down and repeat on the other side.
10. Dead Bug
The dead bug is an exercise that’ll have you looking exactly like, well, a dead bug!
Lie on your back with your arms and legs extended towards the ceiling. Lower your right arm and left leg towards the ground, keeping your lower back pressed into the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
11. Standing Cable Rotation
The standing cable rotation is a great exercise for improving rotational strength and should be incorporated into core workouts regularly.
Stand perpendicular to a cable machine with the cable at shoulder height. Grab the cable with both hands and pull it across your body, rotating your torso. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
12. Kettlebell Swing
The kettlebell swing targets your glutes, hamstrings, and core, improving explosive power in your golf swing.
To perform this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a kettlebell with both hands. Swing the kettlebell backward between your legs, then explosively swing it forward, using your hips to drive the movement.
13. Pallof Press
Finally, the Pallof press targets your obliques and, like many other golf swing exercises on this list, improves stability in your core (not just strength).
Stand perpendicular to a cable machine with the cable at chest height. Grab the cable with both hands and hold it at chest height. Keeping your core engaged, press the cable away from your chest, then return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
More Golf Tips
Golf core exercises are only one part of improving your golf swing and becoming a better golfer. Once you’ve got these exercises down, browse our other helpful golf tips and tricks.
If you need to take it back to the basics, we suggest reading through our Golf Swing Basics guide to refresh some of the fundamentals.