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ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Fitness Training to Minimizing Golf Injuries

Fitness Training to Minimizing Golf Injuries

Reading Time: 4 minutes 59 seconds


DATE: 2020-12-08

Golf is a popular sport, especially among older athletes. Even though golf is a low-impact and low-intensity sport, there is still a high risk of injury. Common golf injuries occur throughout the back, shoulder, arm, and hand.

Lower back pain is the most common area for pain in golf athletes. This is because there is a lot of rotational movement in the sport. A proper golf swing technique is supported by the spine and demands core strength and muscle stimulation in the surrounding muscle.

Poor swing mechanics can contribute to an overuse injury in different areas. These include the wrist, elbow, shoulder, and knee. If an athlete lacks muscle activation, swing mechanics begin to diminish.

Shoulder injuries are common in the rotator cuff. Degeneration causes shoulder complications, but also lower body injuries. It is common for a golf athlete to encounter a knee injury, especially if they have poor hip mobility.

The golf game requires lots of repetitive motion throughout the entire body. This demands a lot of movement at the lumbar spine, making it another area susceptible to injury.

Minimizing golf injuries requires a structured corrective exercise program. Whether you are an amateur golfer or professional golfer you need this training. Let's explore how to avoid common injury in golf.

Golf Swing Mechanics

To avoid a golf injury, you must understand golf swing mechanics. All the muscles, bones, joints, and ligaments used in a golf swing revolve around the following:

  • Elbow

  • Wrist

  • Spine

  • Shoulder

  • Knee

Elbow pain is usually caused by tendonitis. Tendonitis in this area can be referred to as tennis elbow or golfer's elbow. This pain is located within either the lateral or medial epicondylitis caused by overuse. The inflammation caused throughout the forearm muscles is difficult to overcome. Training to move more efficiently helps you avoid this type of golfing injury in all areas.

Corrective exercise is a great approach to managing and preventing tennis elbow or related injuries. Check out this equipment to use for corrective exercise.

Golf swing mechanics demand five phases of movement.

1. The Takeaway

Think of the takeaway as the start of a golf swing. Begin the golf swing by turning your shoulders away from the tee or target. In this phase, the shoulders and back are the main muscles involved.

2. The Backswing

The backswing assists the takeaway and continues the swing progression. This is where the club is lifted into the air. The shoulders and back are still at play. But the lower body muscles begin to stimulate.

3. The Transition

When the club starts to make its way back down, it is called the transition phase. A smooth transition occurs through the lower body. Especially in the glutes and hips.

4. The Downswing

Once the transition begins, the lower body needs to continue working with the shoulders and back to continue into the downswing, eventually where impact on the golf ball occurs.

5. The Follow Through

Always be sure to follow through with each swing. Maintain balance through your core and lower body. The arms, wrist, and hand are key components throughout all the phases.

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Fitness Training to Minimizing Golf Injuries, Golf Ball

Focus Areas to Train for Minimizing Golf Injuries

These four muscle groups are the most important areas to work on for improving golf swing and minimizing injury. Corrective exercises are highly beneficial to all golf athletes in preventing injury.


Increasing strength in the shoulder muscle will help prevent shoulder injuries in the rotator cuff. If an athlete experiences shoulder pain, be sure to examine their shoulder mobility. To work on both strength and mobility implement a corrective exercise routine:

  • Prone I's, Y's, and T's

  • Wall Slides

  • Mini Band Wall Walks

  • TRX Chest Opener

  • Internal and External Rotation

  • Towel Stretch

Shoulder mobility and rotation is critical for the backswing of a golf swing. Rotational forces contribute to power production as the club goes up and transitions back down. If an athlete lacks mobility then the shoulder region undergoes more load and degeneration than it can withstand.

These injury prevention exercises help with scapular stability, the rotator cuff, and impingement.


The back is one of the largest muscle groups in the body. Both the upper back and lower back are heavily used during a golf swing. The upper back more so in the beginning phases and then the lower back more in the ending phase of the swing.

How do you prevent back injuries in golf?

Focus on strengthening the upper and lower back with corrective exercises like:

  • Theraband Rows

  • Foam Rolling

  • T-spine Rotations

  • Back Extensions

  • Cobra

  • Supermans

The back muscles help stabilize the spine and keep posture in athletes. Proper spine alignment allows for better mobility and rotation in the swing itself.

Bad posture restricts movement, which is crucial for the sport of golf.


The lower body, specifically the glutes, become most dominant during the transition phase. The glutes are responsible for stabilizing the body through the hip and knee. Knee injury is popular among athletes who lack glute strength. By building strength in this area, you will improve hip mobility and stabilization throughout the entire golf swing.

Lower body corrective exercises include,

  • Clam Shells

  • Single-leg Glute Bridges

  • Mini Band Walks

  • Pistol Squats

  • Kickbacks

By strengthening the lower body, you provide a strong foundation for the golf swing movement to occur. Strong legs help create more force production and allow the body to shift weight more appropriately.


Lastly, rotation is the most important component of a swing. The core supports all the surrounding muscle in making sure there is no faulty swing mechanics.

Train the core with corrective exercises such as these:

  • Bird Dog

  • Cat Camel

  • Planks

  • Pallof Presses

  • Farmers Carries

Core strength is vital to keeping the golf swing under control. It makes for a smooth swing and allows athletes to maintain a loose grip on the club. This is important starting in the takeaway phase and ending in the follow-through.

Training Frequency

It is crucial to apply these exercises more than just one time per week. Golf athletes must incorporate strength training at least four times per week. Implementing lower and upper body corrective workouts is beneficial for strength gains.

Athletes should complete just 3 sets of at least 8 repetitions of each exercise. This will allow them to develop adequate strength and mobility necessary for golf. It helps build a foundation for the main strength program.

Learn why ditching the one time per week muscle mentality is beneficial.

This training is in addition to any sport-specific training they do outside the gym. Weight training will help your client strengthen their entire body, preparing it for the repetitive motions golf demands. If an athlete fails to prepare the body for load and constant stress it will likely break down. After being fatigued, injury presents itself in many ways.

Focus on training in a similar manner to the sport itself. Get the body used to repetitive motion and use the same movement patterns golf entails. This is important during the main strength workout.

Become an ISSA Corrective Exercise Specialist today. Help golf athletes avoid injury by implementing effective corrective exercise routines.

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