Golf Strength Training - Upper Body Strengthening

Developing an upper body strengthening program will contribute to all aspects of your golf game. From hitting dead-center 300 yard drives to attacking the pin from inside 100 yards, the exercises contained in this section will help not only your strength but endurance as well.

All of the major upper extremity muscle groups will need to be strengthened including the forearm, upper arm and shoulder, as well as mid and upper back. We will be working primary movers as well as stabilizer muscles.

The upper extremities are one of the areas most susceptible to injury so it is that much more important to target all major muscle groups and support structures. Repetitive injuries are very common, especially at the elbows and shoulders. Examples are tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, tendonitis, and bursitis.

Before you learn about strengthening the upper body, you should familiarize yourself with the main muscles involved with the golf swing.

Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff is the primary muscular stabilizer of the shoulder joint. This is one of the main groups to target with a golf strengthening program!

The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles: the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor. The supraspinatus is a main stabilizer of the shoulder, but not a prime mover. It also the most commonly injured cuff muscle.

The infraspinatus and teres minor both attach to posterior surface of your shoulder blade, and they both externally rotate your arm. Important during the back swing, and also during the follow through to decelerate your arm.

The subscapularis is an internal rotator of the shoulder. It is relatively strong, and is important for generating power during the downswing.

Mid Back

When it comes to stabilizing the shoulder, the mid back muscles are extremely important to work with an upper body strengthening program. These muscles help during all phases of the swing and need to be strong to take stress off of the rotator cuff.

They also are important for maintaining good posture. In most people, this area is under developed and it allows the opposite muscle group, the chest, to round the shoulders and mid back. A strong mid back will help balance this out.


The pectoralis muscles are important with force generation during the down swing. As is mentioned above, you need a strong chest, but it shouldn't be at the expense of the mid back.

You need a good balance between the two groups.

The pecs can be strengthened a variety of ways, so be creative! A bench press is the standard pec exercise, but I would stay away from it if you are a golfer. You do not necessarily need to develop large muscles to hit the ball further. You need more tone, but you also need them to perform well in a functional pattern. A bench press motion does not translate at all to the golf swing.


Strengthening your forearms will help you not only gain more power, but also more control when close to the green. There are many individual muscles to strengthen but, I'll simply break them down to flexors and extensors.

If you have seen my Golf Injury page, you have already seen how important this area is. Common injuries to this area include tennis elbow and golfer's elbow. These nagging injuries can really sidetrack your golf game.

Now that you are more familiar with the areas involved, its time to begin your upper body strengthening program!

Golf Fitness Home Page > Weight Training For Golf > Upper Body Strengthening

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