5 Golf Exercises For Seniors (golfers over 50)

In this short article, we are going to cover the best golf exercises for senior golfers to improve golf flexibility, golf fitness, and play pain free golf.Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 3.31.09 PM

We are narrowing it down to 5 exercises because most golfers do not have the time to work on their fitness like they would like to during golf season, or any season, due to the time needed to be consistent. So we narrowed down the top 5 to get the most bang for you buck in the least amount of time.

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These exercises were selected because each exercise addresses flexibility, strength and spinal stability. They are compounded exercises so you can address all or your needs quickly and simply.

For golfers over 50, golf flexibility is the #1 cause of poor consistency and loss of power. But we do not include any exercises that ONLY address flexibility because golfers in this age group are more susceptible to back, hip, and shoulder injuries.

Plus, golfers lose about 10 lbs of muscle per decade so if you want power from your golf specific muscles, you need to train them.

These exercises are ordered by importance. So if you don’t have time for them all, do the first ones first.

The Top 5 Exercises…

1. The Hip Loader

This is not only the best golf exercises for golfers over 50, but it is also one of the most difficult. So start slow and take it easy…and be mindful of your balance.  The credit for this exercise goes to Gary Gray, PT and the founder of the Nike NG360 performance program and the Gray Institute.

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2. Resisted Rotations In Chair

You will be happy to know that this exercise is a lot easier. Resisted rotations in a chair has several advantages: first, sitting in a chair fixes the hips so that all of the motion comes from the spine. Golfers over 50 usually have poor and declining spinal motion which can cause golfers to “come over the top” of the ball and it also drastically reduces power.

Second, you will be addressing both golf flexibility and golf strength in the same exercise…pretty efficient.
Golf flexibility exercises

Golf Setup: You will need a chair for this exercise, preferably without arm rests. The exercise band should be anchored in a door jam at chest height. Sit on the chair with your right side facing the door. Sit far enough away from the door that your arms are straight at rest as shown in the first picture.

Golf Action: Keeping your arms relatively straight, rotate your arms and torso away from the door in a wide arch.

Exercise Parameters: Perform 1-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions.

Keys to Success: Focus on torso rotation instead of using your arms.

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3. Hip Releasing Rotations

Hip stiffness can occur in many planes of motion: forward, to the side, and rotationally. This exercise addresses them all. Another benefit of this exercise is that it is easy on the knees. So if you have a lot of knee arthritis and had pain with the #1 exercise, this is a good alternative.  The credit for this exercise goes again to Gary Gray, PT.

(You might want to turn the sound down, the audio is pretty poor. This is one of my first ever video’s)

4. Golf Stretch One

The last two exercises also address core stability to reduce back pain and keep you happy and feeling good on the golf course. Besides causing misery, back pain will ruin a fluid golf swing and cause all sorts of swing faults. The body is not very good at controlling motion if pain is involved because your body reflexively moves to protect you from pain.

Golf stretch one addresses spinal, hip, shoulder flexibility but also works your core. Try it out, you will feel it.

5. Bridges with Toes Turned In

Arguably one of the best spinal stabilization and posture training exercises, the bridge strengthens the low back and gluteal muscles. We have you turn the toes in to get a nice rotational hip stretch at the top of the motion. Anyone over 75 should be doing bridges regularly, regardless if they play golf.
pain free golf exercise

Setup: Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Next, turn your toes in (pigeon toed).

Golf Action: From this position, push through your feet to raise your pelvis off of the ground as shown. Hold for a moment and return to starting position.

Exercise Parameters: Perform 15-20 repetitions…you can do it!

Give those exercises a shot! I would love to hear your feedback.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Ryan York, DPT CGS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Golf Performance Specialist
Age Defying Golf

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3 Responses to 5 Golf Exercises For Seniors (golfers over 50)

  1. Wayne Niide February 17, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

    Dr. Yori:

    Thank you for the exercises.

    I apologize for the length of this email. However, I wanted to provide some history and then ask for a recommendation that may help a lot of 50+ golfers…please bear with me.

    I am 63 years old and in moderately good shape. I workout in our fitness room on MWF and then T/Sun range practice (bag of 60 balls x 2 at the most); finally an 18 hole round of golf walking.

    My Workout Regimen is as follows: Cardio (brisk walk on treadmill for 30 minutes) and a Stretching regimen that was rather simple yet comprehensive. Calf stretch, standing quad stretch, standing cross over foot hamstring stretch, standing ‘half moon” hip stretch, squat, kneeling (one knee down) warrior pose (reaching up) then from this position side reach to stretch hip flexor. Then onto the floor mat (lying down); crunches, bridges, lower torso stretch (knees brought up and together and rotate left and right to ground with shoulders flat, tennis ball acupressure to lower back followed by knee brought to chest and pull with hands to stretch glutes. Upper body standing: arms out stretch to sides and windmill, triceps stretch, deltoid stretch (anterior, lateral and posterior). Upper body sitting on folding chair: reach around upper torso rotation (no bands), neck (side to side, up and down, shoulder shrug, shoulder roll). I then use resistance bands to do a standing hip rotation drill. The aforementioned takes about 40 minutes.

    I was also attempting to integrate a Swing Speed Training program consisting of adding isometric exercises along with resistance training (adding wind resistance to driver and performing swings). I put the SST on hold due to tightness (pain) in glutes. This started prior to Swing Speed Training.
    I have seen a DPT (my hamstrings are tight) and have been prescribed 1) hip/knee stretch figure 4 with UE grab and 2) supine hamstring stretch with towel along with foam roll 3) stretch of IT band and 4) quads.

    In addition I am included using a lacrosse ball for Gluteus Medius Myofascial release and this seems to be providing relief. I will be following up with PT this week to go thru a core strength program. I hope that all will work out and I will be able to be pain free soon.

    With all that being said:

    1) Could I simple take the recommended 5 step Exercise Regimen is recommend and replace my entire Workout Regimen?

    2) Is there a pre and post practice/round of golf stretch regimen that can be use to compliment 5 Step Exercise Regimen?

    By the way, my specific dilemma seem to have gotten the attention as a forum topic on the Golf WRX website and warm up/down advice would be appreciated as a precaution to injury (I am prevented to provide link).

    Thank You!

    Wayne Niide

    • Dr. Ryan York March 6, 2015 at 1:48 am #

      Thanks for your great question Wayne. You have an excellent set of intensive exercises there which have been tailored for you by your PT.
      You can certainly use the recommended 5 Step Exercise Regimen. You can look at these options:

      1) Simply use the 5 Step Exercise Program on its own

      2) Integrate The 5 Step Exercise Program into your routine. This is probably the best solution as there will be some exercises which work very well particularly for you. I would also suggest running through them together with your PT and getting their professional opinion. Each person has unique physical requirements. By integrating both sets of exercises, you will be able leave out some and include others with the assistance of your PT.

      These are the sets of warm up and warm down routines.

      This link will take you to golf specific warm up exercises. I do talk about the vital importance of warming up before heading out to prevent injury and improve flexibility which is what a good warm up will provide to prevent possible injury

      This link will take you to golf specific warm down exercises

      Its a very good topic of discussion as so often older golfers head out with little regard to the importance of warming up. Bodies are sometimes not as flexible and this is where easily preventable injuries can occur. No one wants to spend time in pain and discomfort and by taking the time for a few minutes to warm up, you can easily avoid injury.

      Dr Ryan York

  2. Chris Adams August 26, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

    Dr York,

    I am 65 year old male, now out of shape had my left hip replaced 5 years ago due to arthritis and now suspect I will need to replace my right hip for the same reason. I suffer from lower back pain after sitting some time which is a requirement for my work. I would like to try and get back a semblance of physical shape to try and play golf with a little more pleasure and success.

    I came across your 5 exercises would they help me with my back pain and help alleviate the hip pain?

    I would appreciate the help.

    Chris Adams

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