As professional golfers are taking the time to exercise more and more, setting the fine example for all of us, they are doing something that once was thought taboo and unnecessary. What is it, you may ask? They are using their irons a lot more, as the title of this article implies. So just what do I mean when I say, “Don’t fear the irons?”

As golfers everywhere are trying to achieve their goals on the golf course and play up to their true potential, many are LIFTING WEIGHTS to attain a more energetic, controlled, and flexible body. The pros are now doing it, and they are playing with more power and control than ever. Average (or “weekend warriors”) can benefit from regular weight training, too!

What types of exercises are best? I am glad that you asked!

The following exercises, performed regularly, will allow a golfer to achieve greater muscular control and power throughout the golf swing. Of course, there are more exercises than are listed for you here, (that’s why I wrote a book about them and lots of other golf-fitness topics), but the following weight training exercises are among the most effective in achieving optimal results out on the links.

Remember, “Don’t FEAR THE IRONS!” They can take your game to the NEXT LEVEL!

(Remember to consult your physician before performing any exercises).

Do one set of 10-15 repetitions, 3 non-consecutive days per week of these exercises for 2 consecutive weeks. Add a second set for 2 more weeks and a third until you are strong enough to increase the weight approximately 10% and proceed in the same 2 week increments.

EXERCISE #1- DUMBBELL SQUATS

The squat exercise is one of the best for overall conditioning. It works the larger muscles of the legs, hips, and trunk (important areas for strength and control in the golf swing). Stand with your feet approximately shoulder width apart, toes pointed slightly outward. Holding a pair of moderately weighted dumbbells in your hands, slightly bend at your knees and keep your head looking up and your back as straight as possible. Try to keep your weight centered over the middle of your feet as you slowly bend down to a position almost parallel with the ground. Hold this position for two seconds, then return to the standing position with your knees slightly bent. Use front thigh strength to stand up.

EXERCISE #2- SIDE LATERAL RAISES

Standing or seated in an upright position with your feet shoulder width apart, grasp a pair of dumbbells and hold them against your thighs at your sides (use 3-5 lb. dumbbells when first beginning this exercise). Bend your arms slightly and bend slightly forward at the waist, maintaining this position throughout the exercise. Keeping your palms down toward the floor, exhale as you use shoulder strength to raise the dumbbells upward and directly out to the sides in an arc-shaped motion until the weights reach shoulder level. At this top position, rotate your hands forward slightly (as if pouring a glass of water with each hand). Hold for three seconds and inhale as you slowly lower your arms to the starting position. Note: If you are not yet strong enough to use weights in this exercise, you may simply move your arms during the movement for 20-30 repetitions until you gradually become strong enough to use light dumbbells.

EXERCISE #3- WRIST CURLS

Do this exercise seated. With your forearms supported on your thighs or on a bench or chair, slowly lift a pair of light dumbbells (use 3-8 lb. dumbbells when first performing this exercise), palms facing up, by curling the weight upward toward your forearms. Hold and contract the forearm muscles for two seconds at the top of the movement. Slowly lower the dumbbells below the level of your knees or the bench and allow the weight to stretch your forearms fully at this bottom position. REPEAT THIS EXERCISE FOR 15-20 REPETITIONS. You can also do this with one arm at a time for more intensity.

EXERCISE #4- REVERSE WRIST CURLS

Do this exercise seated. With your forearms supported on your thighs or on a bench or chair, slowly lift a pair of light dumbbells (use 3-5 lb. dumbbells when first performing this exercise), palm down, by lifting the weight upward toward your forearms. Hold and contract the forearms muscles for two seconds at the top of the movement. Slowly lower the dumbbells below the level of your knees or the bench and allow the weight to stretch your forearms fully at this bottom position. REPEAT THIS EXERCISE FOR 15-20 REPETITIONS. You can also do this with one arm at a time for more intensity.

EXERCISE #5- WRIST ROTATION

Using the same starting position as the above two exercises, grasp one light dumbbell in one hand (for maximum effectiveness, never exceed 8-10 lb. in either hand) with your palm facing up. Slowly rotate the dumbbell to a palms-down position, holding for a second, then return slowly to a palms- up position. REPEAT THIS EXERCISE 15-20 TIMES. Repeat with the other hand. Note: You can also perform this exercise with a golf club before you tee off!

If you stay consistent in the performance of these exercises, you’ll begin to notice the difference on the course! Incorporate them along with instruction from your local golf professional and watch your game soar to new heights! Until next time, stay PUMPED and … DON’T FEAR THE IRONS!!!!!