News Archive

Rob Mottram - How to Sequence Exercises for Better Results

Here are a couple helpful hints about your exercise program design


Strength training for golf is not about body shaping or aesthetics but instead about movements. Unfortunately, bodybuilding magazines and equipment manufactures have influenced many people how to exercise. This is very misleading for athletes. What the body requires in golf, and most sports, are not Arnold Schwarzenegger arms and thighs but instead stability, mobility, speed and coordination. Research has shown that the brain, which operates the muscles, does not think in terms of “muscles” alone but instead of movements.  To be functional, exercises should be designed for a specific purpose.  Golfers would benefit more from exercises that develop and improve reflexes and equilibrium, which are essential for maintaining your center of gravity as you swing, than a set of defined “six-pack” abdominals.  If you choose to isolate muscle groups you eventually need to integrate them to work as a team.  Body builders are, you know, training to stand half naked on a stage and pose, which is not exactly appropriate at my golf course…it’s a dress code thing I think.

Here are a couple helpful hints about your exercise program design.

1) To sequence your exercises so that you don’t sacrifice skill development, place the most neurologically demanding exercises early in your training session. Then as the nervous system fatigues, change to exercises that are less complex. This is done because as the body’s intrinsic stabilizer muscles fatigue and fine motor control decreases the extrinsic support provided by weight machines will allow you to continue to train but lesson the chance of injury and poor technique. 

An example of a descending progression for your lower body would be squats, to Smith Machine squats, then a leg press machine, to a hamstring curl and finally knee extension machine. If your exercises are sequenced and positioned properly your neurological drive that controls your movement patterns will function more efficiently allowing for better technique and carry over to your sport. But if you continue to progress with more complex or physically difficult exercises, and you fatigue, a beginner or intermediate athlete may suffer an injury or compromise skill and strength gains.

2) To improve your strength for golf always place the exercise that strengthens the primary skill pattern for what you’re trying to strengthen highest in the exercise order for a training session.  Strengthening sports specific movements first followed by pure strengthening exercises will accomplish better results in your training session. For example, exercising compound twisting movements that models the golf swing should precede isolated single joint movements.

Prominent strength and conditioning specialist Paul Chek used this analogy. “If you wanted to demonstrate your best hand writing would you prefer to try it before or after a heavy and exhausting workout?”  The same holds true for learning and training for a high skilled golf swing move.

Visit for more golf conditioning and fitness content.

Top of Page