These strength moves will increase the power, speed, and stability behind your swing.
If you’ve decided that the past year was the perfect time to chase eagles and birdies, you’re not alone: 500,000 new golfers joined the game in 2020 compared to 2019, the largest increase seen in the sport since 2003, according to a report by the National Golf Foundation (NFG).
But whether you’re new to the links or an experienced scratch golfer, stretching and strength training are essential components to improving your skills and taking your game to the next level, says Tim Townsend, a senior PGA professional and instructor at Chelsea Piers Golf Club in New York City.
“A lot of golfers are middle-aged individuals, who spend their days sitting at desk jobs and playing golf as a hobby,” explains Townsend. “Therefore, they tend to have tight hips and sometimes even tight muscles in the legs, so it’s important to stretch and strengthen these shortened muscles to improve your game.”
Building rotational power, core strength, and symmetry (ensuring both sides of the body are equally strong) are also key. For proof, just look to the pros. Tiger Woods was one of the first to focus on building strength off the course. Now, nearly all the top golfers like Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Michelle Wie work out as a part of their overall training. Even Bryson Dechambeau decided he wanted to bulk up to add more power to his drive. “He’s now driving farther than everyone on the tour,” says Townsend, noting that Dechambeau recently hit a 370-yard drive in the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, leaving himself just 70 yards to the green on a par-5.
But you don’t need to be an elite-level golfer with access to private training facilities and a team of specialists to boost your skills. Taylor Zuiderveen, 33, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, is a novice golfer who has been using Tonal to strength train consistently for five months now and has seen her golf game go from all over the course to a more consistent, less beginner style of play. “After using programs like 4 Weeks to Fat Loss and Shred and Sweat, I went from a very, very weak core to a much stronger, tighter core, which has allowed me to control my swing much better,” she says, adding that she suspects she can drive around 50 yards farther than ever before.
Tonal is the perfect system to help you stretch out tight muscles and strengthen your body to add more power and consistency to your golf game. Here’s a warm-up and seven Tonal exercises to try today before you go low on the course.
How to use this workout: Review the exercises below. Perform three sets of 8 to 12 reps for each exercise with one-minute rest in between. Complete the workout 2 to 3 times per week.
It’s easy to pack your clubs and just go to the course after a few warm-up swings at the driving range, but a proper warm-up is crucial for peak performance. Townsend recommends adding a few stretches to your pregame routine such as toe touches and good mornings with your club behind your shoulders, but if you have more time, add the following moves, all of which are available on the Tonal app.
– Reach and Rotate Opener
– Waiter March
– Lying Hamstring Stretch
“These are great to do before you hit the course or even while you’re at the course to stretch out,” says Townsend. “Sometimes in the middle of a round of golf, we will tighten up, especially if we’re using a golf cart, sitting a lot of the time. Simple stretching exercises can make a world of difference. If you’re not making a good turn, your backswing will be shorter, throwing off your timing.”
Tonal Exercises to Help Improve Your Golf Game
1. Assisted Squat
How to Do It: Start by facing Tonal with feet just wider than hip-width apart. With arms straight, grip each side of Tonal. Send your hips back like you’re sitting into a chair behind you and bend knees to lower into a squat. Press the floor away from you and squeeze the glutes to stand up tall. Repeat.
Why It Works: This modified squat still allows you to work the full body including the legs, core, back, shoulders, and arms. Strengthening the full body can help put more power behind your swing.
2. Goblet Squat
How to Do It: Hold the handle strap with your thumbs wrapped around the top and position it in front of your chest. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes slightly turned out. Send your hips back and down like you’re sitting into a chair behind you and bend your knees to drop into a wide squat. Push the floor away from you and stand tall powering the hips toward Tonal and repeat.
Why It Works: “The squat is a full-body movement. Adding weight will help develop your legs, which power your drive,” says Townsend. “Plus, squats improve your overall strength and posture.”
3. Barbell Deadlift
How to Do It: Stand with feet hip-width apart, laces lined up with the end of Tonal’s arms. Bend your knees slightly and send your hips back into a hinge position. Grab the bar with your hands outside your knees. Stand by pressing the floor away from you, pulling the bar up, and keeping your back as straight as a wall. Once at the top, keep your chest proud as you hinge at the hips with a slight bend in knees to return to the bottom position. Repeat.
Why It Works: “Because the legs are so important to help drive power, this exercise which works the back part of the body like the hamstrings and glutes, can help add distance to your swing,” says Townsend. “Strengthening the back can help with posture and keeping the body symmetrical, too.”
4. Rotational Chop
How to Do It: Stand with your left side to the Tonal, feet in a wide stance, and grab the ropes with both hands over your left shoulder. Rotate at the torso and bring the rope across your body and down toward your right hip like you’re buckling a seatbelt. As you rotate, press the floor away with your left foot and shift your weight onto the right leg. Bring the rope back to start as you sit into the inside hip and repeat.
Why It Works: This exercise helps you build both strength and stability through your golf swing. Learning to stabilize with added weight will allow you to use that extra energy and power on the links.
5. Rotational Lift
How to Do It: Stand with your left side to the Tonal, feet in a wide stance, and grab the ropes with both hands over down by your left foot. Rotate at the torso and bring the rope across your body and up toward the ceiling like you’re trying to throw something over your outside shoulder. As you rotate, press the floor away with your left foot and shift your weight onto the right leg. Bring the rope back to start, sit into the inside hip, and repeat.
Why It Works: “These rotational movements are very similar to the golf swing, and can help you work on strengthening that movement,” says Townsend.
6. Half-Kneeling Pallof Press
How to Do It: Take the handle in both hands and get into a half-kneeling position with your right knee on the floor. Center your hands in front of your chest with the elbows bent at your sides. Push the handles away from your chest. Keeping your arms centered, slightly rotate the torso toward Tonal’s arm, then back to the center. Pull the handle back in toward your chest, bending at the elbows, not letting your shoulders point forward and down towards the floor. Repeat.
Why It Works: “You’ll get a lot of your overall strength from your trunk so this exercise can help you increase your core strength for a better, more powerful game,” says Townsend.
7. Bulgarian Split Squat
How to Do It: Place right foot between Tonal’s arms and reach your left leg back, placing the top of the left foot on the bench. Hold the handles and press through right heel to stand tall. Keeping your front heel down like it’s glued to the floor, bend both knees to drop your hips down until your front thigh is parallel with the floor. Press the floor away from you to stand and repeat on the same side. Repeat.
Why It Works: “Your legs help to power a lot of your strokes, so isolating them with this exercise allows you to maximize strength in both,” says Townsend.
How to Build This Custom Workout on Tonal
It’s easy to build Custom Workouts for the Tonal trainer in our mobile app. Just follow along with the steps below.
- Open the Tonal mobile app.
- Click the Custom button in the lower right corner of the navigation bar.
- On the Custom screen, click the Plus button to create a new custom workout.
- Name the workout and hit Create.
- You can now start building the workout. Add a description, edit the number of sets in a block, search for the moves outlined in the workout you are building, and add them to create the workout.
- Aim for three sets of 8-12 reps per exercise with one-minute rest in between.
- Once you add all the moves, hit save. This workout will now be available in your Tonal account on the trainer.
- To access this workout on your home screen, choose Custom in the right corner of the navigation bar. You’ll find your new workout at the top of the screen. Select it, then get to work.