Top 3 Golf Gym Exercises You Can Do

Fitness expert Nigel Tilley demonstrates the best exercises to do to improve your golf fitness


Top 3 Golf Gym Exercises You Can Do - European Tour Physio Nigel Tilley demonstrates the best three exercises you can do in the gym to improve your golf fitness

Top 3 Golf Gym Exercises You Can Do

Nearly every tour pro spends more time than you in the gym improving their strength, balance and flexibility in order to compete at the highest level. But what exercises are they doing and what are the most effective exercises you can do to improve your golf game?

RELATED: Rory McIlroy's Gym Routine Revealed

During the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, we spoke to Nigel Tilley, one of the physiotherapists on the European Tour Physio unit. Nigel deals with European Tour players on a weekly basis and has an in-depth understanding of how golfers can maximize performance through an effective strength and conditioning programme. Here’s what he had to say...

“I often get asked: “What are the best three gym exercises I can do to improve my golf?”

Firstly this depends on your physical characteristics. Are you hyper mobile or stiff, strong or weak? A lot of these things would have an implication on what exercises might be best for you.

One thing we do encourage people to do is exercises that don’t look like the golf swing. A common mistake people make is doing lots of rotation exercises and trying to move heavy weight in the same pattern as the golf swing, when actually there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that isn’t the right thing to do.

I would encourage you to generally increase the foundation of strength in the legs, pelvis, hips and trunk through exercises like squats, deadlifts, pushes and pulls. I’d also look to encourage people to resist movement like rotation, side flexion and extension.


One example of an exercise would be a Pallof press. This uses a resistance bands, most good gyms will have these, attached to a wall. Bring tension onto the resistance band, take the band away from you by pushing your hands out away from your body. This increases the lever and the band wants you to rotate back the other way but you are resisting the rotation. This can be modified or progressed to make it more difficult if required.

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Squats are a great exercise that work different areas of the body, particularly the trunk in keeping an upright position using the back extensors, and also the big powerful muscles of the quads and the gluts, which are really important in the golf swing.


They also help you develop the ability to get a ground reaction force – so how much you can push into the floor and what the floor gives back to you. Again, this is really important for the golf swing.

Start without a weight, squatting down onto a chair or bench. To add weight to make it more difficult, you can do a goblet squat while holding a kettlebell at your chest, or use a barbell across the front of your shoulders.


The last exercise I’d recommend is called a dead squat, which is the combination of a deadlift and a squat and it uses something called a trap bar, which is a great piece of equipment for golfers. It helps you put lots of load through the squat movement pattern without putting too much force through the lower back.

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Stand inside the bar and grip the handles. From an athletic start position, stand up while keeping your lower back straight.

Repeat these exercises 10-12 for three sets during your gym session and you should improve your golf fitness.

Joel Tadman
Technical Editor

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.

One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 86 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.2.

Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9° 

Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: Ping i230 4-UW

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 54°. Titleist Vokey SM9 60° lob wedge, K Grind

Putter: Evnroll ER2V 

Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x