Today we have the pleasure of having Robert Connors of Signum Training and Nutrition guest post to discuss some of his favorite core strengthening exercises for our golf fanatics at Progression Fitness here in Rochester, MN. 

Many think of “core” as just an endless supply of sit-ups and crunches. But here at Progression we want you to know that core includes your obliques, lower and upper back as well.  

We break 10 of our favorite movements down in this post

We classify these core exercises movements by difficulty level and give you some recommended set and rep schemes to perform on your own or with one of our personal trainers here at Progression.

To find the full list of core strengthening exercises for golfers click here.

Now, let’s strengthen those cores during the offseason!

1) The Abmat Situp

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The abmat situp is a great starting point for building core strength for your golf swing. You don’t need an abmat to perform these but it will help. You can also use a rolled up towel to fill the space between the floor and your lumbar curve. Setup by lying on teh floor with your feet together. You can also put them underneath a pair of dumbbells. From here, sit up until your shoulders are over your hips. Then lower yourself down until your shoulder blades touch the ground.

  • Difficulty Level: Low
  • Equipment Requirements: Abmat or a rolled up towel
  • Suggested Workout: 3-5 sets of 15-25 reps per set

2) Deadbugs

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The deadbug is another exercise for your core that begins with you lying on your back. Bring your feet, knees and hips perpendicular to the floor. Straighten one leg and one opposte side arm to full lockout (opposite of each other ie. left leg and right arm). Briefly hold the position before switching the arm and leg that are locked out. Always maintain opposite arm and opposite leg. Keep tension in your core the time.

  • Difficulty Level: Low
  • Equipment Requirements: A stable structure or object
  • Suggested Workout: 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps each

3) Banded Plank Rows

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The banded plank row is harder than it looks. It requires a resistance band that you will need to anchor to a support beam or other object around the gym or house.  Loop a band around a column at about shin to knee height. Wrap the band around one of your wrists then get into a plank position. Extend the hand with the band  and pull towards you. Keep your core “turned on” the entire time. Repeat each side.

  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Equipment Requirements: Resistance Band
  • Suggested Workout: 3-5 sets of 15-20 reps each

4) Banded Low to High Rotations

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Banded rotations are a great anti-rotation core strengthening exercise that you can use to strengthen your midline. You will need a resistance band anchored around a support beam or other heavy object around your gym or house that is pretty stable. Brace your core, extend your arms down to one hip and rotate up to your opposite side. Focus on rotating with your core rather than your arms. You can also switch this up going from a high to low position.

  • Difficulty Level: Low
  • Equipment Requirements: Stable structure and a band
  • Suggested Workout: 3-5 sets of 15-25 reps per side

5) Front Rack Carry

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The front rack carry is a core exercise that  makes sure you are staying “engaged” in your midline. No matter whether you use a barbell, dumbbells or kettlebells, elbows are in front and abs braced as if you are about to get punched in the stomach. Depending on the loading, vary the distance walked.

  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Equipment Requirements: Barbell or dumbbells or kettlebells
  • Suggested Workout: 50m-100m carries at a lighter load. 25m-50m carries at a heavier load

6) The Conventional Deadlift

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The conventional deadlift is one of the best core strengthening movements for golfers to build their posterior chain. It is works the hamstrings, legs, lower and upper back, all of which are needed on the links. First and foremost, maintain a nice neutral spite throughout the movement. Feet are set hip width apart with your hands just outside your hips. You can use a full grip or mixed graip on the barbell. Set up with the shoulders slightly in front of the bar. Shoulders and hips rise at the same rate. Focus on keeping your heels down. Finish with shoulders behind the bar and hips and knees fully locked out.

  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Equipment Requirements: Barbell and weights
  • Suggested Workout: 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps per set.

7) Kettlebell & Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts

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Kettlebell and dumbbell Romanian deadlifts puts the emphasis on the lower back. Some may find these a bit harder to perform than the barbell version. The hips remain high with little help from the legs. Set your feet about hip width apart. Take a full grip on the kettlebells/dumbbells. Lift the weights to the hips. Maintain a neutral spine while keeping the knees back. Lower the weights down as far as you can while maintaining a neutral spine.

  • Difficulty Level: High
  • Equipment Requirements: Dumbbells or kettlebells
  • Suggested Workout: 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps per set.

8) X-Band Walks

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X-Band walks are a great exercise and can really fire up your glutes. Start with a light band.  As you get stronger, build to a heavier band. Feet are about shoulder width apart. Step into the band and cross it up to form an “X.” Move your hips back into a partial squat. Knees are out over the toes and bent. Then begin to walk laterally before repeating in the other direction. To really engage the glutes, make sure to keep your steps wide and knees driving out over the toes. 

  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Equipment Requirements: A band
  • Suggested Workout: 3-5 sets of 10 steps in each direction.

9) Single Leg Glute Bridge

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The single leg glute bridge can be done with no equipment. It strengthens the core muscles of the lower back as well as the  glutes and hamstrings. The movement begins by lying on your back. Extend one leg with the other planted on the ground. Squeeze the glutes while keeping your hips and lower back off the ground. If done correctly the shoulders, hips and legs will maintain one straight line. Try to hold for a 1-2 second count every rep.

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  • Difficulty Level: Low
  • Equipment Requirements: None
  • Suggested Workout: 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps per side

10) Weighted Sit Ups

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This is a weighted sit up has a couple variations. Similar to the abmat sit up above, you will need an abmat or a small towel to fill the space between your lumbar curve and the floor. Anchor your feet underneath something such as a set of dumbbells, Hold a dumbbell or pair of dumbbells on your shoulders or chest. Engage the core and sit up until your shoulders are over your hips. Slowly lower back down to the ground until your shoulder blades touch the ground.

  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Equipment Requirements: Dumbbells or Kettlebells
  • Suggested Workout: 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps per side