Take the Cardio Golf Challenge

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Take the Cardio Golf Challenge

Combine your fitness and golf goals with these simple and effective moves
Karen Jansen Cardio Golf

Written By:

Karen Palacios-Jansen

Karen Palacios-Jansen, an LPGA National Teacher of the Year, has been voted as one of America’s “Top 50 Best Women Teachers” by Golf Digest. She is a Nike Golf Performance Specialist, Pilates instructor and has developed a golf-specific fitness system called CardioGolf.

Practicing at the range is the best way to improve your game, but if you have a swing fault, adding more repetitions will cause you to ingrain those troublesome issues into your muscle memory.

CardioGolf, is a program designed to give you a battery of exercises to improve your body movement and swing technique. By consistently, repeating golf swing exercises without the judgement of where the ball is going, you can accelerate your improvement on the golf course. As an added bonus, these moves will also help you work towards your fitness goals and improve your posture.

Add these movements to your practice regimen until they appear in your swing comfortably and naturally for you on the golf course by taking the #CardioGolfChallenge:

Swing Position Drill (with a Grip)

Swing drills reinforce sound mechanics and help you get you into positions you may not otherwise be able to get into when you swing on your own.

Break down the full swing into smaller easier to execute these moves. As you master them, they’ll get ingrained into your real swing and become second nature.

CardioGolf Swing Positions with Grip

Key Swing Positions: 1. Half-way back 2. Top of the backswing 3. Initiation of the downswing 4. Impact 5. Release 6. Finish



Forward Lunge and Twist

Lunge exercises are a wonderful way to add strength and firmness in your lower body.  The twisting move also teaches you to rotate over the resistance of your lower body, a movement you need in the golf swing.

Keep your arms parallel to the ground. As you lunge forward, simultaneously rotate your torso to each side and hold position for a moment. Return to the start position and repeat on the opposite leg.

Elongate Stretch

As golfers, we spend a lot of time hunched over, so it’s important to do stretches that elongate the spine to counterbalance the ill-effects of being hunched over for long periods of time.

Karen Jansen- Elongate Stretch

Interlace your fingers and stretch your arms above your head keeping your elbows straight as you reach towards the sky with your hands.


Cross Crawl

The cross crawl activates both sides of the brain as you move in two different directions, challenging your balance and coordination.

Karen Jansen- Cross Crawl

Bring one knee up to your opposite elbow rotating at the waist. Keep your chest up as you bring your knees up to the elbow.  Don’t bend over to touch your knees.


Golf Swing with a Resistance Band

Resistance-band training can help you boost stamina, flexibility, range of motion that benefit your golf swing and are a great alternative for golfers who don’t want to use free weights or machines. Adjust the intensity by giving the band more or less slack. Your muscles will quickly adapt to movements you do often, which is why adding variety to your workouts is key for challenging your muscles.

Karen Jansen- Golf swing with resistance band

Hold your stretch band with your back hand facing up and your front hand facing down. Stretch the band and you make your backswing.  Hold at the top of the backswing for a moment and return to start.


Core and Hip Twister

The rotational aspect of the movement will help you strengthen the muscles around the core on both sides of the body. Although you swing the club in only one direction, you need to train the muscles on both sides of the body.

Balance on your hands and toes, then twisting from your hips, take one leg and place it under your opposite arm as you sit on your hip. Hold the position momentarily, returning to the start position and repeat on the opposite side.


Closed Stance Drill

A wonderful exercise to help counteract “coming over the top”. This drill will train proper movement and tone muscles in the hips, shoulders and chest. Start by doing this exercise in slow motion and pick up the pace until you can swing at normal speed.

Karen Jansen- Closed Stance Drill

Pull your back foot (right foot for a right-handed golfer) so that your toe is in line with your front heel. As you make your practice swings feel how your hips initiate the movement towards the target and the shoulders and arms follow.


Chest, Shoulders and Back Stretch

This stretch will open the chest and stretch your shoulders and back at the same time.

Karen Jansen- Chest, Shoulder, and Back Stretch

As you stretch your arms out straight, take notice of which thumb is on top’ then switch your grip position so that the other thumb is on top.


Balance with Rotation

This exercise will help improve balance and teach you to dissociate your upper body from your lower body.

Karen Jansen- Balance with rotation

As you lift your foot off the ground and balance on one leg slowly rotate your upper body from side to side. This can be done with or without a club/medicine ball.


Backswing Drill (with Grip)

This drill utilizes the grip of a golf club to mimic the backswing and forward motion to help prevent “coming over the top”.

Karen Jansen- Backswing Drill with grip gif

Making a practice backswing with your back arm only, hold your front arm out (with or without a club). If your back-arm swings over the front arm, then you have done the incorrect sequence.  The back arm should fall under front arm.


Backswing Drill (with Ball)

Karen Jansen- Backswing Drill with ball

Using a medicine ball, swing your arms to the top, stop and begin your follow-through stopping at the bottom.


Full Swing Drill (Without Club)

Use this drill to mimic the correct full swing motion until it is ingrained into your muscle memory.

Full Swing Drill- Karen Jansen

Backswing Drill (Without Club)

Karen Jansen- back swing drill no club

If you’re working on a aspect in your backswing, slowly pull your arms back to the top of your swing, focusing on the motion and returning to address.



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Stacy Kay Brown

I love this, Karen. I would love to lead a Cardio golf fitness program for some of my golf buddies and share it with others that desire to improve their game as well as stay fit. Is there a training program? Have you considered offering a teacher/training program to take this on the road?

Kim Hilbert

Love this idea and sharing it with our lady members at Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati Ohio. Utilizing our KCC Women’s Golf Page to keep them engaged!

Lisa Lucas

Thank you so much for these great exercises, Karen. I am going to share this article and videos with our Cincinnati chapter of LPGA Amateurs! Like much of the country, we have been “polar vortexed” away from the range, and these are great things that we can do indoors.

Susan Speetzen

I love these drills. Another suggestion would be, rather than taking it on the road, create a DVD we could watch and follow or a YouTube video.