The one muscle you might not be training (but should be) for an improved golf swing

October 09, 2023
Billy Horschel with fitness specialist Alex Bennett

Tracy Wilcox

Fitness has become a huge topic of conversation in golf. From tour players to the usual suspects at your local course, so many golfers are talking about training for a better golf swing. But most of them neglect one extremely important muscle: the trapezius. But not 2014 FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel, who does some serious trap training as part of his in-season workout routine.

The trap muscle runs along your shoulders in back, connecting your head and neck to your shoulders and arms. In short, this muscle has a lot to do with your upper-body posture, and it’s no secret that a major component to making an effective golf swing is good posture.

Horschel’s favorite way to strengthen the trap muscle is to do Single-Leg Ys. This exercise can be a game-changer because it increases your upper-body stability while combating poor posture and balance issues common in recreational golfers. So stop hunching over the ball by adding Single-Leg Ys to your workouts.

To do Single-Leg Ys, start by getting into your address posture, then shift your weight onto one leg as you raise the opposite leg behind you. Once you’re balanced, extend both arms up and out as far as you can, forming a “Y.” If you find that getting into the “Y” position is too difficult, soften your arms and make a “U” shape. Be sure to keep your spine neutral, shoulders down and core engaged. It should feel like your back muscles are moving your arms. Although the main focus here is working your trap, you should also feel your glutes and hamstrings firing as you fight to stay balanced during the exercise.

As always with fitness, form is a crucial piece, so start slow and focus on stability and smooth arm extension. When you feel ready, work your way up to doing the exercise with light dumbbells, as Billy does. Stay controlled throughout the movement and keep the positions and speed of each rep consistent. Make sure your spine and shoulders stay in place as you stretch your arms.

To watch Billy Horschel’s full in-season workout, check out our new fitness series “Training with the Tour.” Go behind the scenes with Billy and PGA Tour fitness specialist Alex Bennett as they demonstrate Horschel’s fitness routines. If you’ve ever wanted an in-depth look at how a tour player trains, here’s your chance! These videos include a comprehensive pre-round warm-up, a challenging in-season workout and a guide to getting stronger when you’re away from the game.

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