It is essential for golfers to train their cores in respect to their sport. Golfers must consider their sport for sport-specific rotational movement, time of year, history of injury, and training readiness.
Golfers need flexible and strong cores in all planes of motion, resisting trunk extension, stabilizing the trunk, and rotating powerfully. All of these movements work together. The more a golfer is able to control and stabilize the core, the more power the player can generate through the hips and shoulders.
I would define the “core” as any musculature from the shoulders to the glutes. With that said, I will be listing exercises that would not be executed with a barbell or dumbbell. These movements are going to be utilizing exercise bands, bumper or iron plates, stability balls, and med balls.
I recommend doing exercises 1-6 as part of the early off-season, fall tournaments, winter, and in-season training regimen. These are great to do in the weight room as an auxiliary exercise built into the program with a superset or circuit.
I recommend exercises 7-10 as part of the early off-season, fall tournaments, and winter training regimen. As you are competing in more tournaments I would take a lot of med ball work out, as you want to avoid overtraining rotational power movements.
However, I do think med ball work is great for warm-ups prior to practice. Also, if you happen to be on a bye week or have significant downtime. Med ball work can supplement to maintain rotational power.
In this article, I will be going over the 10 best core exercises for golfers that will help you stay healthy, build your core, and hit bombs down the fairway.
Table of Contents
- Core Exercises For Golf
- 1. Weighted Front Plank
- 2. Side Plank With Leg Raise
- 3. Anti Rotational Pallof Press With Disruption
- 4. Med Ball Push Up Hold With Disruption
- 5. Stability Ball Stir The Pot
- 6. Half Kneeling Banded Press Out
- 7. Seated Partner Med Ball Russian Twist
- 8. Split-Stance Med Ball Side Slam
- 9. Med Ball Rotational Toss Into Wall
- 10. Med Ball Rotational Toss For Distance
- Final Thoughts
Core Exercises For Golf
1. Weighted Front Plank
The weighted plank is one of the best exercises for training the core and stabilizing the trunk. Adding an external load to the exercise is a great way to progressively overload and push your core to the next level.
Lie face down on the ground. Pull your toes in so you’re on the tips of your shoes. Your arms should go straight out. Make fists with your hands and make sure your elbow is under the shoulder. Your weight should be on your forearms. Have a training partner place a bumper or iron plater on your mid-back. Create tension in the abdomen and brace!
Regular bodyweight planks are great exercises as well to do as warm-ups before lifting or practice.
2. Side Plank With Leg Raise
The side plank is a great core exercise for training trunk stability and engages the obliques more than the traditional front plank. The reason this is so important is because of the way we hit the ball, we know having strong stabilizing obliques and trunks will help us stay healthy and hit harder shots.
Lie on your side. Stack the ankles and make a straight line with your body from head to toe. Bridge the hips up and engage the glutes. Brace abdominal muscles and engage the upper back. Your weight should be mostly on your down forearm.
With the up arm, you have 2 choices. You can put your hand on your hip or straight up in the air. From here, raise the top leg about 12-18 inches. Pause at the top and then bring your leg back to the starting position. Complete all reps on one side before changing sides.
Regular bodyweight side planks are great exercises as well to do as warm-ups before lifting or practice.
3. Anti Rotational Pallof Press With Disruption
Anti-rotational and bracing movements are very important for golfers. This will help mitigate overuse injuries and train the core to be strong and resilient. This in turn helps you hit father shots and mitigate overuse injuries.
Grab an exercise band that provides about 30 pounds of tension. Wrap it around a pole or exercise rack.
With good tension on the band, grab the band with two fists interlocked, and press from the breastplate straight out. The band will be pulling you toward the rack. Resist this rotation by bracing the abdominals and upper body. Slowly press out and hold.
Have a partner disrupt the band by tapping and moving the band around for about 10-15 seconds on each side. It is important here that the partner not apply too much or too little disruption.
Anti-rotational Pallof presses are great exercises as well to do as warm-ups before lifting or practice.
4. Med Ball Push Up Hold With Disruption
This is a great exercise to train shoulder and core stability. This movement will help engage cross-body tension, shoulder, and upper body stability, while also still training overall body tension and abdominal strength.
Grab a firm med ball (one that has some cushion). Assume a push-up position with one hand on the med ball. Have a training partner hit, tap, and move the med ball. This will challenge you to stabilize and resist the disruption. It is important here that the training partner does not give too much or too little resistance.
Regular bodyweight push-up holds are great exercises as well to do as warm-ups before lifting or practice.
5. Stability Ball Stir The Pot
Stability ball Stir the Pots are great for training the core in all planes. Because you are moving the ball around, you will be stabilizing the core while moving at the shoulder simultaneously. This is great for golfers that need flexible, strong cores, as the upper body moves.
Grab a stability ball (A diameter of 55 or 65 works best). Assume a plank position with your forearms on the stability ball. Engage the core and upper back. Maintain a rigid, neutral spine, and brace. From here, move the forearms and make small circles clockwise and counterclockwise.
6. Half Kneeling Banded Press Out
The half kneeling position is a great position for golfers to engage their cores in. I like this position because it allows the athlete to engage the glutes, work on cross-body tension, and upper body posture while resisting rotation.
Grab an exercise band that provides about 30 pounds of tension. Wrap it around a pole or exercise rack.
If you have your left knee down, the band will be on the left. With good tension on the band, grab the band with two fists interlocked, and press from the breastplate straight out. The band will be pulling you toward the rack. Resist this rotation by bracing the abdominals and upper body. Slowly press out and bring the band back. Complete all the reps on one side before switching.
7. Seated Partner Med Ball Russian Twist
One of my favorite core exercises, the seated partner med ball Russian twist is a fun and challenging core exercise. I like this movement for Golfer because it challenges balance, eccentric core control, and rotational movement.
Sit down with a partner about 2 feet to the side. Pull your legs up but don’t cross your feet. You should be balanced and have tension in the core and hip flexors.
The med ball should weigh between 6-12 pounds. One partner starts by doing 3 taps and on the third tap, tossing the ball to the partner. The partner should catch the ball with momentum and go straight into their reps and on the third tap, toss it back to the original partner.
During the set, both partners should try to keep their feet up the whole time. Focus on keeping control and balance with your core. Try not to hold your knees with your hands. If you feel like you need to hold your knees, that’s a good time to stop the set, rest for a few seconds, and then finish the set.
8. Split-Stance Med Ball Side Slam
I love the split-stance variation of the slam because it challenges our balance compared to how we normally stand to hit a golf ball and helps us generate power through cross-body tension.
Take a split stance and try to keep your feet pointed straight ahead. If your right foot is out front, take the med ball overhead and slam it as hard as you can down and to the left. You can catch the ball and repeat. If you have a wall or partner, this will be helpful to get multiple reps in a row without resetting your feet. Try to maintain balance and core stability as you slam the ball.
9. Med Ball Rotational Toss Into Wall
This is one of my favorite movements for golfers. This is as specific as you can get to the rotary power needed in golf and therefore very important.
Take a stance similar to the one you would have approaching the golf ball. Hold the med ball with open palms. Gain momentum with a counter movement and load the back hip. From here, rotate and toss the ball as hard as you can into the wall. The emphasis here is on the core and hips delivering that med ball to the wall. Do not “throw” the ball.
I would not focus on catching the ball off the wall. Each repetition should be fast and explosive. You’re essentially trying to hit a bomb down the fairway. Take pride in breaking some med balls here!
10. Med Ball Rotational Toss For Distance
Another very specific rotary power movement, the med ball rotational toss for distance is very important in training the core to be explosive.
Take a stance similar to how you approach the golf ball. Once again, use open palms, focus on that counter movement, and launch the ball as far as you can.
Each repetition should be fast and explosive. Focus on being aggressive, launch angle, and distance. Take pride in setting a distance record. Keep track of each attempt!
I must reiterate here:
Med ball work should be a priority in the off-season. Golfers will benefit tremendously in their power output from med ball work. It is specific to their sports rotational movement, the med ball is heavier, and provides a powerful stimulus that is hard to replicate with anything else.
When you are in the regular-season focus on those planks, side planks, and anti-rotational movements. These movements will help you stay healthy through the grueling season.
The core is incredibly important to golf performance in throwing and hitting. It is also important to consider your core work in conjunction with your practice and competition schedule.
A healthy core routine that consists of stabilization, anti-rotation, and med ball power work is important and can take your game to the next level!