The 5 best core exercises for golfers

The abdominal muscles primary function are to stabilise the spine. Hopefully we are all past the days of believing crunches and sit-ups are the only exercises you have to do to build a strong core. Planks and their variations have taken over as the core exercise of choice. Planks are a vast improve upon crunches as they require the core musculature to actively work to stabilise the spine, however the core musculature must stabilise in many, many more movement patterns and directions than plank variations can ever prepare them for. Not to mention the fact it must do so in effective unison with the other muscles of the body to produce an effective golf swing. Here are 5 exercises that do a much better job of ‘core’ training for golfers…

Turkish Get-up:

This exercise is just awesome! My personal favourite, it requires tremendous amounts of stability and mobility in the hip and shoulder joints, as well as forcing your entire core to stabilise in a multi-plane movement.

– Lie on your back holding a weight directly overhead

– Bend the knee corresponding to the arm holding the weight, and place the sole of this foot on the floor.

– While keeping the weight directly overhead, proceed to sit-up

– Once you’ve reached a sit-up position, stand up, maintaining the weight directly overhead at all times.

Pallof Press:

This is an upright stabilisation exercise that forces the opposing side of your core to stabilise the active side of your core. This one is great for golfers as it teaches you to stabilise a load pulling in a rotational plane, a vital part of efficiently transferring power along the kinematic sequence and into the golf ball.

– Grab a weight stack cable or resistance band and stand far enough away from it to fully engage the resistance.

– Establish a stable base with feet about hip width apart.

-Press and the cable in front of your chest, making doubly sure to hold the cable in front of your sternum and not allow the resistance to rotate your body or pull your arms out of position.

– Hold for 20-30 seconds, then proceed to the other side.

Half Kneeling cable chop:

The application to golf here are pretty great. It is a core exercise in the rotational plane, just like the golf swing, and it develops the dissociation between upper and lower body require in the golf swing. The half kneeling stance reduces the base of support so challenges the core stabilisation even further and involves the glutes, which as we know from work done by the guys at the TPI are the kings of the golf swing.

– Set cable or resistance at about head height and grip either with both hands together or hands about shoulder width apart.

-Adopt the half kneeling position on the floor, with the knee furthest from the resistance on the ground.

– While keeping gaze, shoulders and the forward knee pointing straight ahead pull the cable across the body, finishing with it low to the ground, on the other side of the body.

– Repeat for desired reps, then switch sides.

Med-ball floor slam:

The med-ball floor slam forces your core to fire as hard as possible in as little time as possible. It is aas awesome for developing power in the golf swing as it sounds!

– Stand tall, holding a heavvy med ball overhead.

– Slam the ball to the floor as hard as possible.

– Make sure that your arms follow the trajectory at the ball.

– Finish the exercise in a half squat position.

Valslide leg curls:

These are more of a hamstring exercise than a core exercise to be honest. But these still pose a significant core challenge, always teaching the core to fire in conjunction with the glutes and hamstrings.

– Lie prone on the ground with valslides placed under your heels.

– Activate your glutes, lifting your hips off the floor.

– Keeping the hips off the floor, pull your heels towards your butt returning them to the originally position to complete the rep.

Note: You can do leg curls on a gym ball or TRX but I prefer valslides a feel move able to really conract hamstrings tight at top of m0vement and it is slightly easier to add external load to the valslide variation.


The ability of the core musculature to stabilise the spine through a dynamic motion is an essential part of transfering power in the golf swing. Get at these exercises and you’ll soon be stronger, more athletic, and applying that athleticism to your golf swing.

3 thoughts on “The 5 best core exercises for golfers

  1. Rick Williams PGA

    Hi Nick, just in the beginning stages of rehab for a knee surgery (minor) and my PT is focusing on getting the glutes/hips/core much stronger to take care of my knees for the long haul. Looking forward to getting stronger, more stable and healthier!

  2. Pingback: The top 5 posts of 2015 | Stronger Golf

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