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Sure, golf LooksPretty chill. It’s a long-game, so it’s important to build strength and endurance to keep your swings powerful well into the fourth hours of play. “Any time you can do any type of training that will increase your awareness of your body’s functionality will give you the best opportunity to create the most power and also the most stability to enjoy playing golf,” says Rose ZhangA professional golfer Two-time NCAA Individual Champion.
Zhang partnered with Apple Fitness+ in January to create a training program for non-professionals. New programming aimed specifically at golfers. The team at Apple and Zhang incorporated four different pillars in co-creating these golf-centric workouts. These were rotation, coordination and muscular endurance as well as balance and mobility. The result included an upper-body workout, a lower-body workout, a rotational workout (which challenges your body to twist with power), and a Yoga workout.
“These are the exact movements that really helped me shape my golf game and enabled me to grow without injuring myself,” Zhang says of the program.
“We chose to play golf because it is popular around the world and has a positive vibe,” says Julz ArneyDirector of fitness technologies and Fitness+ at Apple. “It’s a great way to get outside, get some fresh air, meet up with friends to get that camaraderie, and hopefully it includes a lot of walking. It also takes concentration, so you get to have a really fun challenge for your brain.”
There are still ways to improve your golf game, even if you do not have a streaming membership. “For golf it’s so cool because every single fitness thing is functional to golf,” says golf instructor Gavin Parker. “There are golf-specific workouts and anything in the fitness world will affect your golf swing and it will be positive experience.
At the end of it all, it’s about practicing. “It’s really one of those sports where you just have to do it, and do it, and do it to see improvement on the course,” says Kyle Ardill“, a trainer at Apple Fitness+.[Success]Zhang concurs that the key to golf success is consistency.
If you’re hoping that you will be among the one in seven Americans who plays golf every year—or are just looking to up your game—check out these five key strength exercises for golf, straight from the pros.
You can do these 5 strength golf exercises at home
You don’t have to own a full set golf clubs to perform these strength exercises. Grab a mat, and a pair of light-to-medium dumbbells, if you’ve got them.
1. Rotating planks
Zhang loves this plank version. “When I think about training for my golf game, the biggest thing first is injury prevention. The golf swing is a unilateral motion so with that in mind when you’re out there practicing and hitting 300 golf balls or out there for hours, it’s very likely that you could be using one side of your muscles too much, and that creates disbalance in your entire body. So I like to make sure that I’m making all of my movements on both sides when I’m working out,” says Khang.
How to: Start by lying on your right with your elbow underneath your shoulder. Lift your hips to get into the side plank position. (For a modified variation, place your bottom foot on the floor as a kicking stand.) Take your left arm, and thread it through your body. Twist your core. Return to the original position. Repeat 10 reps to the left. Complete four sets each of 10 reps.
2. Single-leg Romanian deadlift
These exercises are aimed at loading the hip. “That for me is one of the things I need to focus on most for my golf game, and it’s definitely something most people can and should focus on,” says Ardill. Ardill says that because golf involves so much hinging, keeping the spine aligned is a vital skill.
Zhang says that weight shifts are best practiced by single-sided movements (like these deadlifts), which require you to switch sides.
How to: Start in a stance with your feet hip-width away and a dumbbell each in hand. While keeping your back straight, hinge your hips forward while lifting your left foot off the ground. Trace the dumbbell along the right leg, until you feel tension at the back of your right leg. Return to the original position. Repeat the 10 reps with the left leg. Complete four sets of ten reps each side.
3. Overhead press for march
Ardill likes how this move focuses on coordination as well as trunk stability, hip loading, and balance—all of which transfer well to golfing. “I always like to think about weight shift,” adds Zhang. “From our groundwork, that creates the foundational power of our golf swing, and allows us to be stable when we’re out there swinging at over 90 miles per hour.”
How to: Start standing with feet hip width apart. Hold a dumbbell each in your hands at your shoulders. Press your right arm straight above your head while lifting your left foot off of the ground until it’s at hip height. Return to your starting position. Press your left arm straight above your head while lifting your right foot off of the ground until it’s hip height. Return to the original position. Repeat 45 seconds in a marching pattern. Complete four sets 45-second marches.
Parker says that push-ups for golfers are important because of how they can improve their swing. Many muscle groups are involved—which can really improve your form. “You get a little bit of grip strength, the ability to hold yourself up, arm engagement, core engagement, a little bit of your legs from holding yourself up, chest and triceps,” he says. He says you can get these benefits from any variation. So pick your favorite: knees to the ground, starting from your toes or whatever you prefer.
How to: Start in plank position, with your hands just outside your shoulders. Bend your elbows in a 45 degree angle and bring your chest to the floor as close as possible. To return to the starting position, drive your palms through. Complete four sets of ten reps.
The lunge is a simple golf move that will help you build strength. “You’re going to be able to work your range of motion, specifically your ankle joints. A lot of golfers struggle with getting into a good posture because of poor ankle mobility,” says Parker. You can do Different variations as well (reverse lunge, walking lunge, etc.). Parker suggests that you can increase the challenge by adding a rotation in the core. (For example, a weighted torso-rotated lunge).
How to: Stand with your feet hip width apart. Step forward with your left foot until both knees have a 90-degree bend. Step your foot backwards to the starting position. Perform 10 reps with the right side, then switch to the other side for 10 reps. You will want to do four sets each of 10 reps.