Power in golf comes from the ability to separate the hips and shoulders, rotate, and generate club speed. Gaining strength in the lower body will help the hips load and explode through the golf ball. Having a strong lower body will also help consistently maintain that clubhead speed, walk those longer tournaments, and be resistant to injury.
To gain strength in the lower half, I think the best implements are barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells. These implements will engage the most musculature, train for upper body stability, and allow the legs to train for power and strength. These are movements that can be trained and overloaded over time.
I recommend these movements in the early off-season, fall season, winter, and in-season training regimen. How heavy, how often, and what exercises you are using are determined by the match schedule and your training readiness.
In this article, I will be going over the 7 best lower body exercises for golfers to help you hit farther shots and stay injury free!
Lower Body Exercises for Golf
One of the most important lower body exercises, the goblet squat lays down the foundation for bilateral squatting strength. This is great for golfers who need to focus on hip flexibility and upper body stability. I typically program golfers to work through an eccentric, isometric and constrict phase respectively.
Grab a kettlebell by the horns and hold it at about chest height. Set your feet about shoulder width. Face the feet slightly out. Keep a strong arch in the foot and engage the glute. Brace the core and keep tension in the upper back.
Hinge the hips back and bend the knee simultaneously. Keep squatting until your hip crease is at the knee. Drive back up to the start. Don’t let the knees cave in or the arch of your foot go flat.
Sumo Kettlebell Deadlift
Deadlifting is great for golfers because it trains the whole body, strengthens the posterior chain musculature (Glutes, hamstrings, back), and challenges your grip. I like the sumo stance because it tends to be fairly similar to the stance we see on the course.
You will need 2 kettlebells directly underneath you. Your stance should be slightly wider than shoulder width. Brace the core and hinge at the waist until you can comfortably grab the kettlebells. Focus on driving the hips and locking in each rep. DO NOT ROUND YOUR BACK.
Dumbbell Split Squat
Single leg strength is important for all athletes. For golfers, being strong on one leg will help balance the body and be resilient to injury. The dumbbell split squat is one of my favorite exercises for strengthening the single leg pattern.
Holding 2 dumbbells (or kettlebells as in the pic above), take a split stance with your front flat and the back foot will be on the toes of your shoes. Focusing on keeping the abdominals tight and shoulder blades pulled back.
Squat down until your back knee is about a half inch off the ground and drive back up to the starting position. Complete all repetitions on one leg before switching.
Holding dumbbells will train the grip that we know is tremendously important for our forearms. This movement also reinforces abdominal strength, upper body stability, and upper body posture.
Lateral Squat With Med Ball Press Out
One of my favorite movements for golfers, the lateral squat with med ball press out has many benefits. In golf, we often have tight hips and need to work on flexibility, strength, and posture in our game. This movement works in all of these areas.
In the lateral squat, we are training flexibility and strength in the adductor, groin, and inner thigh muscles. At the same time, because of the med ball position, we are training upper body posture and stability.
Once the bottom of the lateral squat is met, press the med ball out. This will challenge the upper body and core to be stable. Bring the med ball back in and drive back to the starting position of the lateral squat.
Lower back strength is crucial for all sports. For golf, a stable lower back is critical. The hyperextension is one of my favorite low-risk movements to strengthen the glutes and low back muscles.
Set the glute-ham machine so that when you lock your feet in and fully extend your body, your belt crease is at the end of the pad. Hang all the way down, activate the core, low back, and pull your body up so that it is parallel to the floor. Lock in the rep for about 1 second and slowly lower yourself back to the ground.
One of the more neglected muscles worked in the gym are the medial and minimus glute muscles. These muscles are tremendously important in golf. They are one of the main movers of hip rotation and stability.
Lying down on your side, stack your legs and ankles, and bend them at about 90 degrees. Have a partner resist as you drive your legs open. Focus on using those glutes. The partner should not apply too little or too much pressure here. Each rep you should feel more and more glute activation.
Weighted Glute Bridge With Isometric Hold
The glute bridge is a staple in any healthy golfer’s gym routine. The weighted variations really challenge those glute maxes to drive hip extension. Adding the isometric hold challenges to glutes to stay locked in and engaged and challenges the core to stay braced.
Lie down on your back. Pull the knees up to about 90 degrees. Keep your feet flat. Place your weight (iron or bumper plate) on your lap. Drive through the heals and squeeze the glutes. Fully extend the hips but don’t over arch the low back. Keep the core tight, squeeze, and lock in each rep.
Remember to always balance practices and competitions with your weight room work. Everything you do in the gym should have a direct carry-over to the course.
Utilizing the exercises I’ve listed above as part of a complete strength and conditioning program will help improve your performance on the course and reduce your risk of injury.
If you found this article helpful, you may also like my article on the 10 best core exercises for golfers.