Pre-Season Conditioning, a Stronger, Flexible Body Increases Success



A Book Review: Exercises for Better Golf

Before heading off to a driving range this pre-season, practice swinging your golf clubs at home for a few days to loosen up those unused, tight muscles, as part of your pre-season conditioning plan. You do need a plan.  Many of the golf books at our local libraries have exercises, as well as, two great online sites, and  My favorite resources are college texts and an older volume, 1986, Exercises for Better Golf by Frank W. Jobe, M.D. and Diane R. Moynes, M.S., R.P.T.  Though, there are updated versions of his book, the exercises are still relevant.  It was the "world's first scientific exercise program for a golfer."  The research was done at Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Los Angles, California, the official hospital of the PGA tour at that time!  Dr. Jobe states that, since "golf is a sport, you should try to approach it as a serious athlete."  If you do the golf specific exercises regularly you will reduce fatigue, so you will be more consistent, even on the last hole.  Chance of injury is reduced.  With greater strength of the swing, the ball will go further.  When you exercise in golf specific movements, you may eliminate swing faults, resulting in better contact and more power.

Using the Biomechanics Laboratory in Los Angles, golf specific exercises were developed to strengthen and stretch the appropriate muscles.  They are executed without heavy equipment, just hand weights, so you can do them at home.  Thirteen stretches are recommended daily while the 17 strengthening exercises are to be executed 3 times a week. Explained with diagrams, these exercises will increase power, strength, stabilization, and coordination.  Practicing the actual golf swing probably will aid in balance.  The six research findings are summarized as:

  • 1. A good golf swing has bilateral activity and is balanced.
  • 2. The hips initiate movement into the backswing; the hips pull you through (not pushing you through).
  • 3. Trunk rotation and flexibility are most important. By transferring power through rotation, the energy releases through the ball.
  • 4. Reply on the large muscles of the body to generate power, especially in the hips (abductors and extensors). Exercises should concentrate on the trunk, hips, and legs for adding power.
  • 5. Skilled golfers are more efficient at using their muscle power.
  • 6. The rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder area need to be stretched and strengthened separately from those in the rest of the arm.

Stretches focus on the trunk and girdle musculature utilized for golfing.  Also by elongating the tissues around the joints, one moves through a greater range of motion.  Muscles work more efficiently with less strain if slightly elongated regularly.  For the most benefit, the stretches should be done 15-20 minutes before teeing off.  After warning up by breaking a sweat by jogging in place, your muscles will be able to perform to its full capacity.  Have you ever had your longest, most accurate drive on the first hole?  Were you warmed up?  If you would like to begin your conditioning program now and you are familiar with the proper way to perform them, here are listings of the exercises.  These golf specific exercises should be added to your general conditioning program.  Do not forget an aerobic exercise for 25-60 minutes three times a week.

Daily Stretches - 5 repetitions on each side of your body, since golf is a bilateral game.


  1. 4-way neck stretch
  2. Rotator cuff stretch at 90 degrees
  3. Posterior cuff stretch across the body
  4. Inferior cuff stretch behind the neck
  5. Chest muscle stretch against corner walls
  6. Truck stretch, one leg over while lying
  7. Prone press-up
  8. Single knee to chest
  9. Both knees to chest
  10. Single leg stretch, hook lying
  11. Side bend, arms locked overhead
  12. Lateral hip stretch against a wall
  13. Calf stretch facing the wall

Three times a week Strengthening exercises - Have a day of rest between workouts.  If you are short on time, then do just the upper body exercises one day and the lower body exercises the next.  Do not over do it.  Your own body weight is enough resistance for some people, or one may begin with two-five pound weights, working up to 10 or 15 pounds.  Begin slowly with one set of ten repetitions.

  1. 4-way neck strengthener
  2. Rotator cuff elevation
  3. Rotator cuff external rotation
  4. Rotator cuff internal rotation
  5. Shoulder extension
  6. Chest muscles, lying palms facing up
  7. Wrist flexion
  8. Wrist extension
  9. Forearm supination
  10. Forearm pronation
  11. Wrist bends, laterally towards small finger
  12. Wrist bends, laterally towards thumb
  13. Crunches
  14. Opposite arm and leg lift
  15. Side leg lifts
  16. Hip extension on couch
  17. Wall squats 90 degrees

The routine has a built in cool down, by executing the last few exercises slowly.  A greater cool down, if done slowly, is to actually swing your golf club 12 times.  Indoors, you might want to use a wedge since the shaft is short.  In you have a weighted practice ring, slip it on your hostel but only after a few weeks of practicing without it.  Do not over work yourself.  Begin slowly after this long winter.  As with all exercise plans, consult your physician first.  Also there are exercise experts in Chicago that are certified to assist you with a golf specific exercise plan.

The PGA  provides work-out stations for tour members, so science is being utilized to improve the condition of the player's body to improve his game.  Use this science to improve your game.  Exercise daily and perform stretches 15-20 minutes before you tee off.  But does it make a difference?  In an unpublished study, one golfer did the stretching exercises in the 1990s before golfing on a league three different seasons.  For two of those seasons, first place was the reward, with the lowest gross or lowest net score for the league.  Was it just the exercises that made a difference?  Scientifically, one cannot say, but the golfer claims the stretching certainly helped both physically and mentally.  They can help you too.

Dr. Frank W. Jobe is a Clinical Professor, Department of Orthopaedics, University of Southern California School of Medicine in Los Angeles, California, specializing in sports medicine - shoulder and elbow.  In his career, he has authored more than 140 medical publications, 7 books, and 24 book chapters.   Diane Radovich Moynes, M.S., R.P.T. was an assistant administrator/research at Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood, California.

Related websites: or for their books



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