11 Golf Exercises For Distance (Improve Swing Speed)

Golf is a sport, first and foremost, of technique. I’ve seen more than a few super strong gym buddies who were totally out of their element on the freeway. 

But technique will only get you so far. 

If you want to drive that ball all the way to the green, you’ve got to combine your skill with pure strength. 

That realization came to me about a year ago. I’d maxed out my distance and needed a power boost to improve my game. So, I turned to a personal trainer friend to put together a workout program specifically for hitting distance.

12 months down the track and I’m now consistently getting onto the green with one or two swings. In this article, I’m about to lay out the extract program that has gotten me there. I’ll divide them into bodyweight and resistance sections.

4 Bodyweight Golf Power Exercises

1. Elevated Pigeon

  1. Stand behind a bench at hip height and place your right leg on the bench with your knee bent and folded back toward your torso. Keep your shin down on the bench. The knee should be a bit less than 90 degrees.
  2. Hold a golf club in your left hand and use it as support with your arm outstretched.
  3. Lean into the club as you post up, tightening your core. Maintain a neutral spine position as you drive down into the club.
  4. Rotate your body slightly toward the knee that is on the bench. Exhale as you sink into the position, dropping the shoulder and pushing forward.
  5. Hold for a second and then inhale as you return to the start position.
  6. Do 10 reps. On the last rep, hold for 1o seconds. 

2. Active Hamstring Extension

  1. Lie on the floor with one leg extended up an upright. You can use a power rack upright in the gym or a doorway opening at home. Adjust until you feel a slight stretch in the hamstring.
  2. Maintain a slight bend in the knee and keep your back pressed into the floor. Now pull your leg away from the upright until your heel is about eight inches from the upright.
  3. Hold for a second and then return to the upright supported position.
  4. Do 10 reps on each leg. On the last rep, hold for 10 seconds. 

3. Hamstring Bridge

  1. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent at 45 degrees. Your heels should be on the floor with your toes flexed up. Put your hands on the ground at your sides. 
  2. Press your lower back flat into the floor then lift your hips to form a bridge position.
  3. Lift your right heel off the floor about six inches and hold for a second.
  4. Repeat with the left heel.
  5. Do 10 reps on each leg.

4. Knee Up Reverse Lunge

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your sides.
  2. Drive your left knee up to hip level and then kick it back to full extension until your foot touches the floor.
  3. Drop your rear knee until it is around 2 inches from the floor.
  4. Drive through the front knee to drive back to the start position.
  5. Do 15 reps on each leg.

7 Golf Strength Resistance Exercises

5. Upper Body Push / Pull

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. 
  2. Adjust one cable to the highest position and the other one to the lowest position.
  3. Push the high cable in a downward motion whilst pulling the low cable up.
  4. Aim to keep your head, mid section and legs still. 
  5. Squeeze your core and glutes to help with form.
  6. Do 10 reps and switch hands to keep a balance to your body. 

6. Cable Wood Chop

  1. Adjust the pulley on a cable weight machine to its highest setting. 
  2. Stand about three feet in front of the machine, facing away from it.  Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
  3. Grab the cable handle with both hands adobe your right shoulder. Both arms should be straight.
  4. Without bending your elbows, drive the cable down and across your body. It should end up at your left hip.
  5. Perform the movement in a fast, explosive manner. Be sure, though, to control the return.
  6. Do 15 reps on each side. 

7. Cable Lawn Mower Pull

  1. Adjust the pulley on a cable weight machine to its lowest setting.
  2. Stand about five feet in front of the machine, facing it.
  3. Assume a staggered stance, with your weight on the front foot. Now grab the cable with your lead arm. Adjust so the arm is fully extended.
  4. Rotate the hips as you push into the floor and pull the cable toward your hip. 
  5. Perform the exercise explosively but control the return.
  6. Do 15 reps on each side.

8. Deadlift

  1. Load an Olympic bar with the appropriate weight to perform 10 reps. 
  2. Stand behind the bar with your mid-foot under it. Feet should be shoulder-width apart.
  3. Maintaining a neutral spine, bend your knees to grab the bar with a double overhand grip at shoulder width. Push the hips back and tighten your core.
  4. Drive your heels into the floor as you pull the bar directly up. Tighten your glutes as the bar comes up your legs.
  5. Come up to a fully upright position. Then lower all the way to the floor.
  6. Do 10 reps.

Looking for a power deadlift routine for massive strength gains? Check out this overview of the  5x5 Stronglifts program. 

9. Barbell Squats

  1. Load an Olympic on a squat rack with the appropriate weight to do 15 reps.
  2. Stand in front of the bar with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Step under the bar with it resting across your mid trapezius. Step back to unrack the bar.
  4. Maintain a neutral back as you hinge the hips to lower to a parallel thigh position. Be sure to maintain an upright torso position.
  5. Push through the heels to return to the start position. 

Training Tip: Squatting on a slant board will make it easier to keep your torso upright.

10. One Arm Lat Pull-In

  1. Adjust the pulley on a cable weight machine to its highest setting. 
  2. Kneel on the floor about 3 feet to the left of the cable and two feet back from it. Reach up and grab the cable with your right hand. Your arm should be extended at a 45-degree angle.
  3. From the fully extended arm position pull-down and in toward the right hip. Focus on feeling the contraction and stretch through the latissimus dorsi muscle.
  4. Slowly return to the start position.
  5. Do 15 reps on each arm.

11. Stability Ball Dumbbell Twist

  1. Lie on a stability ball with a light dumbbell held in both hands. Lift the weight above your chest at arm’s length. Your feet should be firmly set on the floor. Push your hips into the ball and brace your core.
  2. Slowly lower your straightened arms down to the right side. Continue until your arms are parallel with your torso. Be sure to control the weight throughout the exercise. 
  3. Return to the top position. Now lower to the left side. 
  4. Do 10 reps on each side.

You don’t have to join a gym to get a great golf strengthening workout. Check out this thorough research of the best all-in-one home gyms on the current market.

Golf Strengthening Workout

Here’s how my personal trainer structured my golf strength workout based on these 11 exercises.

ExerciseSetsRepsRest between Sets
1. Elevated Pigeon31015 seconds
2. Active Hamstring Extension31015 seconds
3. Hamstring Bridge31015 seconds
4. Upper Body Push Pull31015 seconds
5. Squat31560-90 seconds
6. Knee Up Reverse Lunge31560 seconds
7. Deadlift31060-90 seconds
8. One Arm Lat Pull In31560-90 seconds
9. Cable Wood Chop31530 seconds
10. Cable Lawn Mower Pull31530 seconds
11. Stability Ball Dumbbell Twist31030 seconds

I performed the workout twice per week, on Monday and Thursday. That three-day gap between sessions is important. It allows the body the time it needs to recover and grow stronger. 

On the days I hit the gym, I stayed away from the golf course. I found that a quiet 9 holes the day after was a good form of active recovery for me. 

After my workouts, I spent 5-10 minutes doing foam roller exercises to massage my muscles. This helped to remove lactic acid, remove tightness and work out knots. Foam rolling also helps to offset delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). 

Conclusion

I’ve been following this eleven exercise workout program for the past 8 months. Over that time my weights in the gym have nearly doubled on most exercises. 

That massive strength increase has seen my drive averaging around 300 yards. As a result, my par has come way down.

My experience has shown me that golfers definitely need to be strong to succeed. But how fit do they need to be? We’ve done a deep dive to find out. Check it out here.

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