5 Exercises to help improve your golf swing
by expert physio Carl livingstone

The golf swing comprises of several phases including the backswing, downswing and follow-through.

To have a powerful, effective swing through all these phases it is important to have the following:

• A good mobility in the hips and spine
• A good overall stability and balance
• A strong core
• Strong legs.

If any of the above are lacking it reduces the power and accuracy of your swing. We will now go through each of these areas with advice on exercises that may help to improve them. There are links to videos to demonstrate each exercise.

When we talk about mobility it can include the mobility in the hips, spine and shoulders.
When general mobility in the body is restricted, the type of movement and the degree of movement your body makes during the swing is also restricted which hurts your swing.

During the swing, it is also important to be able to rotate your lower body independently from the upper body. The pelvis should be able to rotate with minimal movement occurring in the upper body. If you can get this separation it allows you to generate a longer backswing with more speed. This then allows you to generate more power with more efficiency.

A lot of golfers will have reduced mobility in the hips which includes internal and external rotation. If the hips do not rotate through the swing, you can end up pushing or pulling at your strokes, resulting in a loss of power.
The Hip Crossover and Rotational Pull exercises are very good at improving mobility in the hips and upper body.

Exercise 1: Hip Crossover
1. Lie on your back with your knees at a 90degree angle. Keep your knees and feet together.
2. You can either flatten your feet on the ground or advance the exercise elevate the feet so that your hips and knees are at a 90-degree angle.
3. Keeping your knees and feet together slowly twist your legs at the hips to lower the knee towards the floor as far as comfortable.
4. Pause for several seconds, raise back up to the starting position and then continue to the opposite side.

Perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions on each side. 

Exercise 2: Rotational Pull: 
Rotational pulls will also help to improve rotational mobility in the hips and upper body. It will also strengthen your core as well as improve the force and energy transfer involved in the body during the swing. These can then help to add more power to your drive.
You will require a stretchy exercise band to carry out this exercise.
1. Attach one end of the stretchy band to an anchor point about the level of your upper abdominal area
2. Standing with your back straight and knees slightly bent
3. You should be standing with the anchor point to your side.
4. Stand about a foot away from the anchor point and take hold of the band with both hands and your arms straight out in front.
5. Using your core, rotate your body away from the anchor point as far as you can comfortably.
6. Hold for a few seconds
7. Then slowly return to the starting position.

Perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.

Stability and Balance:
Unfortunately, stability and balance in golfers are often reduced. This can then reduce the ability to control the momentum involved during the backswing, downswing and follow-through. A reduction in the strength and stability around the hips also compromises your posture which can then result in more injuries.

Exercise 3: Single leg balance with leg swing
The Single-Leg Balance with Leg Swing is an excellent exercise to improve the balance and stability in the ankle, knee and hips.
1. Stand near a table or sturdy object to support yourself if required.
2. Move your weight carefully onto one leg and lift the opposite leg off the ground.
3. Slowly swing the raised leg back and fore. That is one repetition.
4. You can also swing it side to side and in circular motions.

Perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions

Some of the most common injuries in golf occur in the lower back. This is often due to reduced mobility in the spine, but it can also be due to inadequate strength in the core. A strong core is important to effectively transfer power from your lower body to the upper body during the swing. It also improves the strength and stability around the spine and therefore reduces the risk of a lower back injury.

Exercise 4: Superman
The Superman exercise is a very well-known core exercise and although it is predominantly a core exercise, it also helps strengthen the legs, the upper back and lower back.
1. Lie flat on your stomach.
2. Place your arms straight out in front and keep your legs straight.
3. Raise your left arm and your right leg from the floor at the same time and hold for a few seconds, and then drop them back down before lowering them.
4. Then repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

Perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.


Leg Strength:

Leg strength is also vital for a powerful swing. During the downswing, a lot of golfers tend to dominate with the upper body. Increasing lower body strength and power can help to increase the speed of the swing and helps to generate the reaction forces that move up from the legs through the body and into the club. Single leg exercises are important to do as they help to reduce muscle imbalances that can occur between both legs.

Exercise 5: Split Squat
1. Stand in a split stance. Your front heel should be about 3 feet from your rear toes.
2. Place your hands on your hips or hold dumbbells by your sides and bend your knees slightly.
3. Then bend your front knee, hip and ankle so that your back knee lowers the floor until your front thigh is parallel to the floor.
4. Pause for 1–2 seconds.
5. Then push up from your front foot to initiate standing until your front knee is straight back to the original position.

Perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.

If you are keen to improve your golf swing or have suffered a golfing injury, please get in touch with one of our professional physiotherapists or sports therapists.