Golf Fitness – Muscles Used in Golf

I’ve done a fair amount of research preparing for this golf fitness series and one of the definitive things I’ve discovered is that going to the gym and performing a “generic” workout won’t have a substantial impact on your game. I say substantial impact because, obviously if you workout frequently your overall physical fitness will improve which will have some impact on a round of golf.

As with many sports, performance improvement will really come from a workout that’s tailored towards the muscle groups predominantly used in the execution of that sport. Furthermore, which I’ll discuss later, the workout has to mimic how the muscle will be used. For example, if you’re a long distance runner, training your muscles for short bursts of speed would not be the ideal regime, it’ll help somewhat, but it wouldn’t have nearly the impact that an endurance workout would.

But, I digress..

Below are the muscle groups one needs to focus on if they’re looking to improve their golf game. If there are any that I’ve missed or some that you don’t believe should be there, please leave a comment!

Like I’ve mentioned before, this is new and uncharted territory for me and I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, just passing on what I’ve learned.

The muscles used in the golf swing..

Chest – increased swing speed and power through acceleration.

  • lower pectorals
  • upper pectorals

Back – improved posture, ease of rotation, power through acceleration.

  • latissimus dorsi (mid back)
  • trapezius (upper back)
  • rhomboids (upper back)
  • erectors (lower back)

Lower Body – maintenance of golf posture, knee flex and injury prevention.

  • abductors (hips)
  • adductors (inner thigh)
  • hamstrings (back of thigh)
  • quadraceps (front of thigh)
  • gluteals (buttocks)
  • hip flexors

Shoulder – consistent swing plane and control of the club throughout the swing.

  • deltoids
  • rotator cuffs

Trunk – core muscles for faster turn and stored torque.

  • internal obliques
  • external obliques

Arms – stronger impact position.
-forearms (flexors and extensors)

Below are some fantastic images I found on that help illustrate how the muscles are used throughout the swing. There’s also a really great video of a golf swing and the muscles used on their website, so definitely check out the link.

Take Away

Forward Swing


Early Follow Through

Late Follow Through

Hopefully you’ll be able to find something useful in this post that will give you a better understanding of the golf swing and which muscles you need to focus on if you’re looking to improve your golf game via golf fitness.


  10 comments for “Golf Fitness – Muscles Used in Golf

  1. at

    Great info Dave! I especially like the images from the sportmaniac website. As a golf fitness specialist, I look forward to reading more as you begin your golf fitness program. Good luck!

  2. at

    Awesome John, glad you liked it! Everything look pretty correct? Figuring you’re a golf fitness specialist, you can keep me honest 🙂

  3. at

    Great info, would be really interested in learning about the specific exercises you do at the gym to work these muscles. I’ve been doing the stretches in the Golf Rx book recently and generally trying to improve my core muscles and posture. I’m sure these can only help my swing

  4. Alex

    I don’t see the work of the arms, specially the wrists in the take away and acceleration phase.

  5. DonniB

    Excellent, I’m stepping back into the game with a little more respect, for what it takes to be able to hit the ball well,long and consistently. As well as other aspect’s of the game with muscle control and feel.
    Many Thanks

  6. Cyril Martin

    Great and very in depth with the diagrams fromm SportsManiac, Iam a British Weightlifting Coach but work with some golfers. lots of particularly young golfers do not understand the importance of training with weights. If it is done correctly it is very beneficial for any sport just as you say you train specific for the sport you are are coaching. Another very good exercise for any explosive sport is power cleans, but needs to be done in correct style and with the correct intensities. great article Dave.
    Keep up the good work
    Cyril Martin

  7. michelle

    As a new golfer this is helpful. I was very surprised at some of my aches after playing my first game since I do yoga, mountain bike and walk! I would be interested in exercises to keep me playing the game safely and stretching appropriately so I do not injury myself. Thanks.

  8. at

    Great info, would be really interested in learning about the specific exercises you do at the gym to work these muscles. I’ve been doing the stretches in the Golf palm links book recently and generally trying to improve my core muscles and posture. I’m sure these can only help my swing
    best regards
    and thank you very much

  9. Markus Juvonen

    To lothi hadhri,
    It’s hard to give specify exercises if don’t know whits musclegroups you Wang to exercised.

  10. at

    Golf is a excellent game which helps in weight loss and muscles tone up. The health and fitness benefits of playing golf include:
    • Cardiovascular workout: Any activity that leaves you slightly panting and works up some sweat is great for your cardiovascular system, which is exercising your heart and lungs. This further leads to the lowering bad cholesterol. At the same time it also helps to speed up your metabolism which in turn helps you to burn more calories and thus,,, resulting in excess weight loss.

    A game of golf burns approximately 300 calories in an averagely built person who plays for an hour while carrying his own golf clubs and equipment.

    • Building Strength and muscles tone up: Carrying your golf clubs and golf equipment yourself as a form of weight bearing exercise which further helps in building strength and muscle tone up.
    In my view everyone should enjoy the game they are playing. Fun element should be there.

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