Golf is not a game for weaklings. Although some people don't consider golfers to be true athletes, the golf swing is an exceptionally demanding movement. As IDEA Health & Fitness Association explains, golf requires "muscular strength, joint flexibility, neuromuscular training and the perfect balance between mobility and stability." There are many exercises, some general and some golf-specific, that will help you hit the ball farther and straighter. These exercises also lessen your chances of injuries.
You can get in better shape for golf at home as well as in the gym. At LPGA Golf Clinics for Women, personal trainer Meredith Steyer offers a 30-minute workout that will make a golfer -- or anyone else -- stronger and more flexible. The exercises include lunges, pushups, bridges, planks, squats, lying twists, and the superman -- feel free to rename it the superwoman. These exercises can be done as many as five times per week.
Loose and Strong
The American Council on Exercise recommends two groups of exercises. The first set is a general flexibility program that enables you to stretch your muscles and loosen up before you play. These include a standing trunk rotation, using a golf club as leverage, which loosens up your back and hips, and a yoga warrior pose to open up your hip flexors. The second set of exercises focuses on improving your golf-specific strength and range of motion. The strength drills work your legs, hips, core and shoulders together, since those parts of your body need to work in synch when you swing the club. These exercises include a standing wood chop, which simulates the motion of the golf swing. The range of motion exercises include cobra poses and supine spinal twists.
Twist and Turn
"The energy for your golf swing comes from the muscles in your torso -- not your arms," says major championship winner Suzann Petterson in "Shape" magazine. "Your middle needs to be strong and flexible to maintain your rotational power." One of the fittest golfers in the sport, Pettersen uses a cable machine for dynamic twisting exercises that mirror the movements of the golf swing.
Pilates Balancing Act
The golf swing is a one-way motion. According to IDEA, a round of golf can be compared to doing 100 to 130 oblique curls just to your left -- if you are a right-handed golfer -- with compressive forces that are eight times your body weight. Pilates exercises that rotate your spine and readjust your core muscles help compensate for imbalances the golf swing tends to produce.