Tips for Starting a Golf Fitness Workout Program

Last updated Oct 31, 2019 | Published on Dec 23, 2016

Here are some tips for starting a golf fitness workout program. In reality, the tips work for anyone that is looking to get back in the gym.

Every day people decide that today is the day to get back into shape. Whether they are trying to improve sport-specific conditioning, lose weight, or become more active.

Many, most, start their workouts right in where they left off 5-, 10-, 20-years ago by doing exercises that involve resistance or that focus on sport-specific movements.

starting-a-golf-fitness-workout-programAfter all, your starting a golf fitness workout program, wouldn’t you want to do golf-specific exercises?

You might assume you’re going to get all of your previous muscle memory and movement patterns back. And before you know it, you’ll be moving well, and all will be right with your conditioning.

But you know what happens when you assume.

In the end, half of your hopes will come true.

You’ll get stronger.

The unfortunate part is you might get stronger but with poor form that could cause more harm than good.

Golfers assume if they improve their conditioning, they’ll play better golf. 

And without a doubt, most people will benefit from the general conditioning. But adding heavyweights and resistance to a body that doesn’t move well can be detrimental. 

You need to earn the right to add weight and intricate movements to your golf fitness program.

Here are some tips for starting a golf fitness workout program that will work and not cause you more problems down the road.

Get Back to the Basics when Starting a Golf Fitness Workout Program

Maybe I should’ve said prove you’re ready to add weight instead of earning the right.

Anytime there has been a hiatus in physical activity it is good to go back to basics.

Even for a little bit.

We’ve all heard the saying

“You have to crawl before you walk.”

fitness by crawlingIt’s no different when starting an exercise program.

Go back to the basics and prove to yourself that your movement mechanics are functioning properly.

If they are, move on, little to no time is lost; however, if for instance, you can’t touch your toes because you have been stuck in a chair working on a two- or three-week project at work, correct that dysfunction before attempting a deadlift or even a goblet squat.

Assessing your movement patterns isn’t a waste of time, go back to the basics and prove to yourself you’re ready to move forward.

Adding weight or resistance to a dysfunction will only strengthen the dysfunction and make it harder to correct.

The Big Stop Sign

Anytime you feel some pain you need to stop and reevaluate what you’re doing.

Moving your body shouldn’t involve pain.

no pain in a golf fitness workoutNever fight through that pain when you’re exercising.

I’m not talking about sore muscles that hurt because of apparent overexertion. In that case, it might be a good idea to rest and let your muscles recover.

The pain I’m talking about is joint and tendon pain. Limping or favoring a leg is also included in the “I should reevaluate this” phase.

Modern medicine and technology have made it easier than ever for us to fight pain. Whether it be drugs, braces, wraps, or tape we can soldier on with our activities in less discomfort.

Pain should be a warning to stop and reevaluate what might be going on.

Ignoring the pain, or easing its symptoms with continued use of anti-inflammatories or other pain killers could lead to chronic problems whether it be poor alignment, imbalances, or long-term inflammation.

Lay-off the Advil.

Pain doesn’t occur to be an inconvenience it’s a warning sign we shouldn’t ignore.

Natural Movement

Just because we can move around without pain doesn’t mean that we are moving correctly.

It’s rare that we humans move as designed. Our brain capacity has out thunk (yes, I used thunk) why we need to move. We even design machines to make exercise easier than it should be.

Activity has culturally evolved beyond natural movement.

Where we once had to crawl, squat, walk, and run to earn a living we now sit at a desk or move with a repetitive motion for hours at a time.

To replace, and perhaps to fill a need, for natural movements we have invented activities, games or sports to take its place.

A good start to a golf fitness workout program is to include some natural movement. Although the golf swing is anything but natural, a lot of the positions within the golf swing can benefit from natural movement patterns.

What is Natural Movement?

First, I’d like to say that I’m not a proponent of any one system. Rather, I pick and chose the parts that logically make sense to me.

I like the ideas of Grey Cook, his book Movement has a lot of great points and ideas to mull over.

Erwan Le Corre’s Movnat (he has also wrote a book The Practice of Natural Movement), but I haven’t read it yet.

The ideology of these two should be something you think about before you go to the gym.

First, I like Cook’s example of how a  baby moves, yes a baby, think about the process a baby goes through as it grows up, from learning how to control movement of her relatively large head, to rolling over on her stomach and looking around, to kicking her legs to start to crawl.

A baby needs to learn where her muscles are before moving them, then find the stability to apply force for movement.

Movement progresses from there, rolling over, belly crawling, crawling on hands & feet, trying to stand and balance, taking first steps, walking, using the arms to help balance, and on to running.

All of these movement patterns we use every day in everything we do.

Think about it. Those are the basics.

When we have mastered those, we go on to Le Corre, if you want to know what natural movements are, take a walk in the woods.

Not a mature, open forest, rather a real woods with hills, open spaces, thickets, blowdowns and low hanging branches you need to crawl over and bend under. Being able to move unhindered through a woods is what natural movements are all about.

Don’t think so?

Go into a woods and walk through it in a relatively straight line. My guess is you will find areas of your body that haven’t been used in a while.

Walking over uneven surfaces, ducking under branches, stepping over sticks and logs, and avoiding briars is a great natural movement exercise.

walking in the woods for golf fitness

Walking in the woods (not on a trail but through the woods) is an excellent way to restore some functionality mobility and a good way for starting a golf fitness workout program.

Start a Golf Fitness Workout Program

Here are my tips, for starting a golf fitness program. Starting is the hardest part, making the commitment to give it you’re all. The only way it will work is if you are willing to put in the long-term effort. So many people start and give up in less than a month. Gaining movement, mobility, and getting stronger is more than a month-long process.

Partner Up

It will help if you can find an accountability partner, whether it be a friend or a trainer. Someone to not only push you but to be there and go through it with you.

Groups, even if only two people, have more success than people that try it alone.

Assess Movement

Next, I recommend finding a fitness professional and go through a TPI or FMS screening. If you can’t find a professional or don’t have the resources, then screen yourself. The link below will take you to a post that will add to how you can start a golf fitness workout program.

Get with the Fitness Program

And at the bottom of the article, there are links to posts showing how to go through my screening process step by step.

Evaluate your limitations

Don’t think your limitations will improve by themselves; you will need to find corrections or exercises to improve your mobility & stability.

Start with exercises that strengthen the core, whether directly or by anti-rotation. Every exercise requires you to tighten or activate the core so why not start there.

A strong core will protect your back and help you stay in form when doing exercises.

Stick to the Basics

Stay with the basic exercises, if you want to do the fancy exercises wait until you’ve mastered the basics.

Tony Gentilcore, one of my favorite blog writers and fitness professional, wrote an excellent article called The Lost Art of Simple explaining that the basic exercises are basic because they work. Complex exercises are for those that are bored or think they can gain more social media followers by posting videos of crazy exercises. Read Tony; he’ll make you laugh.

25-minutes Will Do

For some reason, one-hour workouts have become the standard. Probably because people have to wait for equipment to free up…screw that I say, find a quiet gym even if it costs more or buy equipment.

Don’t waste your time. You have better things to do.

Spend 5-minutes warming up, then work out non-stop for 20-minutes.

That is all you need. Do your workout non-stop hard then hit the shower.

Three times a week is enough, let yourself recover. If you have the time, work in an extra day but do corrective exercises or practice with a new piece of equipment, for me, I’ll be testing and practicing with a TRX system.

You can get a special deal sometimes when you buy direct.


Learn More

Push-Pull-Rotate-Core in Three planes

golf fitness 3 planes of motionIn each workout, try to use an exercise that requires you to do at least one push, pull, rotation (or anti-rotation) and a core exercise.

Don’t forget the frontal plane; there are a ton of simple exercises using the sagittal plane (front & back) and the transverse plane (rotation), but often the side-to-side exercises (frontal) are forgotten.

So add some lateral exercises.

Make It Easy to Remember

What do I mean?

When you develop your golf conditioning program, do three to five exercises per session. Remembering how to do more than that with all of the key movement points can be difficult.

Keep it simple

After doing three to five workouts with those exercises change it up by adding a progression to an exercise or by changing out half of the old ones.

This way you only have to learn two or three new exercises each time.

Learning new exercises slows you down, by keeping half of the old ones it allows you to work out faster and harder.

Change out the ones you didn’t at the next switch.

Are the old ones too easy? Then, add weight, progress it to make it harder, or do them faster.

Again, keep it simple on yourself.

You Will Miss – Don’t Let it Bother You

You will miss a day of exercise, you’re human, things come up, don’t let it get you down. Jump back on the wagon. Getting in shape is a long-term commitment. It takes time to make progress and missing one day isn’t the end of the world.

But don’t miss two consecutive workouts, then it is more difficult to get back into the gym.


Here is a summary of my tips for starting a golf fitness workout program.

  • Add some natural movement to your life. Functional movements (exercises that use more than one muscle group or joint) will be more beneficial to your daily lives and golf game.
  • No pain. If you’re in pain, stop, see a trainer and/or a doctor.
  • Partner up.
  • Get assessed. Prove to yourself that you are ready to get stronger. Get assessed and screened before you start pushing a lot of weight.

strength and dysfunctionI have a free guide called Don’t Add Strength to Dysfunction (recently revised) it gets more in-depth why you should correct limitations and dysfunctions before you lift weights. Click the button below to download the guide immediately.

Click to Download the Guide

  • Start with corrective and core exercises.
  • Stick with the basic exercises; they’re basic because they always work.
  • Don’t waste your time, 25-minutes and done. No mac’ing the blonde on the treadmill, no shooting the bullshit, get in, workout, go home. You’re more apt to stick with exercise if you keep it short and productive.
  • Three workouts a week is enough. Muscle only grows when it’s been stressed and is recovering. If you can’t stress the muscle enough with three workouts, you need to work out harder.
  • Each workout needs at least one push, pull, rotate, and core exercise.
  • Only change your workout after 3 to 5 days of exercise. But only change half of the exercises, so you don’t have to learn four or five new ones.
  • Don’t let a missed day get you down, but try not to skip two in a row. Persistence like gravity always wins.

Keep these tips in mind, and you will have a successful golf conditioning program.

Let me know how you’re doing. I can be your accountability partner. Leave a comment below, and I’ll reply.

Disclosure: The content on this website is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, suggestions, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind. Any statements here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Always seek the advice of your personal healthcare provider before changing your health regiment. The information on this website is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment. You assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions. I may earn a small affiliate commission for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and or link to any products or services on this website. Your purchase helps support my work and bring you real information about golf conditioning and performance. Thank You!


Copyright: adamgregor / 123RF Stock Photo

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