In early spring, we await the plump greenness of our lawns, trees and plants. And if you love golf, you’re probably itching to get yourself on the green, pronto! Although there are far more than 9 things to focus on from a Pilates standpoint, I’ve done a breakdown of essential elements that I recommend for your improving your game. They are also excellent application for any sport that relies on the power of rotation.
First, what will Pilates do for your golf game?
Core Strength: Pilates focuses on core strength which is central to both improving your swing, and helping you stabilize, working effectively to power from the ground up.
Balanced body: Pilates is designed to encourage a balanced musculature in your body and thereby help you prevent overuse injuries.
Flexibility: Pilates enhances your range of motion. More mobility in your spine and better flexibility in all your joints, especially in the shoulders and hips, give you increased rotation. Being able to distribute your effort through your musculature and joints, gives you greater control and efficiency.
Concentration: A Basic Principle in Pilates is Concentration. The literal ‘brainwork’ of Pilates helps you establish new neural pathways, builds awareness, and in turn permits deeper focus.
Here’s our Pilates “Front Nine” for Golf; selections from our blog that are a must for integrating into your workout program. The details for each are outlined in their individual articles.
- Flight. (also known as thoracic extension). This exercise focuses on strengthening your upper back muscles, helping to ‘undo’ the typically rounded shoulder posture. Performing the Flight Fundamental.
- The Plank. A quintessential core move that is a super-multi-tasker for targeting the glutes and shoulders. Because of the face down position, holding yourself up against gravity, it is often performed incorrectly, so be sure to check out these tips on technique for executing your best plank.
- Reverse Plank/Leg Pull Prep. Like its sister exercise, the Plank, this one hits the majors – shoulders and hips, working against gravity from the backside this time. This is a more intermediate exercise, so look at the breakdown for Leg Pull progression.
- Weighted Arm Series. No heavy weights needed! This series is quick and easy to incorporate, but watch out for getting sloppy with the form. Intention here is tone, not bulk. And they do double work, helping increase joint flexibility – as long as you work slowly and in the full range described.
- The Wrist. The Bean Bag Exercise might seem old school, but sometimes the oldies are the goodies! The wrist can take on a lot of impact forces during your swing. Treat strengthening and stretching your forearm with care as you would for your calves and ankles. We do a lot of handling of computers and mobile devices, consistently stuck in the same position. So give them attention with these Flexibility and Strength Exercises for the Wrist.
- Spinal Twist. Here’s where you specifically focus on upright rotation. When executing this one, you want to think about moving your torso like it’s turning in a spiral. Spinal mobility and strength will keep you playing longer as you age.
- Body Awareness. When you get ready to do your workout, Do you put all the cluttered thoughts, distractions and stress aside? Rather than zone out on a tv show, can you instead, zone in and give yourself the gift of time to focus just on you and moving your body. It’s one reason Pilates is a workout for your body and for your mind.
- Fascial Health. A vibrantly growing body of research is revealing that connective tissue is far more vital to our health and movement than originally perceived. It is a sensory organ and a critical part of our nervous system. It also plays a tremendous role in stabilizing our bodies and transmitting force. No doubt we’ll continue to see even more developments in this field. For now, take time to learn more about how to keep your connective tissue hydrated and make it a priority.
- Breath. There is a symbiotic relationship between the act of breathing and flexibility in the spine. I heard this statistic once – that unconsciously, the majority of human beings utilize 30% capacity of our lungs. If that were a grade, it’s well below failing! Take the time to center yourself in your breath. It helps reduce stress, re-sets the diaphragm, and by pumping fresh oxygen through your system, deepens your concentration. Once you learn how to master the coordination of Pilates breathing – inhale as you go into your backswing, and exhale as you go through rotation and connect!
Before you hit the green – come see us in the studio to master the Front Nine and more!
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