Bodybuilding For Golfers: What You Need to Know

So you want to know a little more about bodybuilding. Your first thought might be of a monstrous man with arms so big he can’t scratch his back, but that’s only to the extremes.

In reality, bodybuilding is defined as “the developing of the body through exercise and diet …” In other words, you’re implementing a routine designed to improve your body in one way or another. As we mentioned, this doesn’t mean you have to get “huge”. As a practitioner of bodybuilding, you decide what you want to focus on and how far you want to go.

If you’re looking to attain a more aesthetically pleasing physique, a more traditional routine is for you, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

Here’s an example: Say you love to, but you live in a climate where you can only play during certain seasons (spring, summer, some of autumn). This may limit your ability to practice on the range and course, but it doesn’t mean you can’t improve your game in other areas, and that’s where bodybuilding can come into play.

Outside of finesse (having a sound swing, doing drills for more consistency, etc.), there are other ways to

Like what? You can:

  • Increase your clubhead speed to improve your average driving distance.
  • Improve your flexibility to increase your range of motion per swing (increasing torque and distance) and decreasing chances of injuries.
  • Enhance your cardiovascular endurance to improve your stamina, ensuring you’re not tapering off on the back 9.

While these advantages might not inherently make you a better golfer, they will increase your potential.

After all, if you can’t play or go to the range, this is the next best thing. Plus you can work on (some) of your short game indoors.

Let’s start with strength training. There are two main areas of your body that will most contribute to faster clubhead speeds and farther average driving distance:

  • Your Legs: Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Adductors, Abductors, Glutes, Calfs, Shins
  • Your Core: Abdominals, Obliques

The rest of your muscle groups will serve to aid these muscle groups to put the swing together. Think of them like your supporting cast, so yes you should train them, but your main focus should be on what’s listed above. Here’s an ideal strength training schedule.

Make sure you’re balancing your training. For example, work your chest/back and quadriceps/hamstrings equally to ensure balance and a smaller chance of injuries. A long-term imbalance of training can lead to joint and ligament issues.

Also, be sure to stretch after each workout and throughout your day, a few minutes here and there can promote flexibility and deter extreme soreness.


Training: Weights + Cardio
Muscles Trained: Legs
Spend 35-60 minutes doing weight training, focusing mostly on your quadriceps and hamstrings. The rest of the muscle groups should serve as support.

Prioritize squats, deadlifts, Romainian deadlifts and leg presses, as they are best for targeting and strengthening these large muscles that will be used to increase strength.

Finish that with at least 15-20 minutes of cardiovascular training to enhance oxygen

efficiency and limit soreness after your workout. We suggest jogging outside or using the elliptical machine.


Training: Weights + Cardio
Muscles Trained: Chest + Core
With your legs healing, day two is perfect for training your chest and core. Your pectoral region (chest) is great for a strong backswing and your core (mainly obliques) for following through on the front. While many traditional bodybuilders like to focus on squeezing exercises (like chest flies) for aesthetics, we suggest more pushing routines (like presses). Also be sure to do flatbed, incline and decline workouts for your chest. Core should only be a small percentage of your session. Balance is key!,


Training: Yoga
Muscles Trained: Full Body
Yoga is incredibly underrated. Getting some yoga into your routine is important because it works your core regions in ways you can’t achieve with crunches or weights. We suggest doing some lighter-duty routines that promote more flexibility and are easy on the back but feel free to make the routine perfect for yourself. You won’t know until you’ve tried as many styles as you can, many gyms offer classes and there are free videos on YouTube.


Training: Weights + Cardio
Muscles Trained: Back
Next is back day, be sure to balance your rowing and pulling exercises to enable symmetrical gains. Do a lot of wide grip pulls to get a strong stretch to deter stiffness and be sure not to jerk while doing reps. Always be in control, just as you’re supposed to be when performing your golf swing.


Training: Weights + Cardio
Muscles Trained: Shoulders + Core
Now that most of the larger muscles and supporting groups are rested, you can spend some time working on shoulders. Be sure to balance the use of your front/side/rear deltoids, as well as your trap muscles for a complete workout. With the exception of shoulder presses (and maybe shrugs), these should be lightweight exercises aimed at improving muscle control. Then with your extra time, work some core and obliques.


Training: Weights + Cardio
Muscles Trained: Arms
Your triceps got a half workout on Tuesday and biceps got a half workout on Thursday, so both should be ready for a real pump. Don’t focus on using too much weight because you want to maintain flexibility, so instead, factor in lighter sessions with more reps to emulate the experience of taking many golf swings. For the sake of training, you need your arms to assist with other workouts during the week, so don’t go too hard on them.


Training: Yoga
Muscles Trained: Rest
Repeat your Wednesday workout, just try to deviate a little bit if you can. These days should be used for rest, so take it easy and treat your workout equally as a mediation session.