It’s still cold outside, but the “spring forward” date is nearing, thank goodness. Daydreams of heading out to play in the fresh air are invading our minds. And, as we glance at the calendar, counting the days, it’s the perfect time for re-conditioning our bodies for our favorite summer sports!
If you play golf, tennis, or any other sport that relies on a powerful swing, I highly recommend the Pilates Method be a part of your fitness regime. The power for the swing comes from a great core-spine connection, which is the hallmark of the Method.
So, you might be wondering, what do Pilates and Golf have in common?
Golf and Pilates are both mind-body activities that share some of the same principles. Fluid motion, precision, accuracy and power are crucial to the golf swing. A foundational practice in Pilates focuses on proper breathing and consciously centering oneself. The system of exercises balances strength and flexibility. It is in that balance where you cultivate and develop your core power!
Some other highly beneficial side effects from a regular practice are improving posture, reducing stress levels and creating long, lean muscles.
Posture is essential to a good Set Up in golf. As a Pilates Instructor, it’s rather common for me to see poor position of the upper body and arms, often due to tightness in the chest, shoulders and neck. Below I’ve included a few flexibility exercises that you can try, using a 36” foam roller.
Greater flexibility helps to create a greater range of motion. Coupled with core strength and a balance throughout the body will help you power up your swing!
Carefully lay your spine along the length of the roller. The roller introduces a bit of a balance challenge – so have your feet about hip width apart. Hold the stretches at a tolerable level from 30-90 seconds.
The “Letter W” stretch
Bring your arms out to the side, like an airplane and then bend at the elbows. Maintain your wrists and elbows level with each other. Imagine that your whole arm is being drawn down to the floor. Take a few full breaths allowing your shoulders and chest to open.
The “Waiter’s Tray” stretch
While in the Letter W stretch, extend your wrists so that your fingers bend toward the floor. Keep your palm as open as you can. Pretend you’re holding a tray that has gotten heavy, and draw your arms – elbows toward your hips while continuing to pull the hand back.
Neck to Palm Stretch
Straighten your right arm out to the side, reaching through the fingers. Turn your head to the left and make your head heavy toward the left cheek side. Imagine your arm becoming longer in the direction your fingers are reaching.