Golf, like many sports, requires repeating the same essential movements over and over which often results in muscular imbalances throughout the body. Certain muscles get over-worked and tight and others weaken. This increases your risk of injury. It also decreases your stamina, your performance, and your enjoyment of the game.
Pilates addresses muscular imbalances at their source and retrains movement patterns for better performance, ease of movement, strength and endurance. Like golf, practicing Pilates requires focus, precision, control and balance. These physical and mental skills transfer perfectly and necessarily to your golf game.
Pilates designed specifically for Golf increases your ability to rotate around your spine angle, improves your swing angle and puts more power into your drive. You hit the ball harder and further.
Increasing strength and mobility in your upper body is necessary for an effective spine angle. The golf swing requires you to be able to rotate the upper body around the spine without the spine coming up or down. Golfers need to be able to rotate their upper body at least 45 degrees. PGA norms for rotation are 55 degrees. By increasing flexibility in the upper body, shoulders and the hips, while improving both your postural strength and your stability you will avoid injuries to the low back, hip and shoulder common to golfers.
Pilates will also improve your backswing by increasing shoulder flexibility and balancing muscular stability and power throughout the back. It will enable you to squat to measure your putt, bend to retrieve your ball, stand for hours, and carry your clubs with ease. You will play longer with more joy and better scores, and no pain.
The fact is Pilates does not just create strong abs and a strong core. Pilates trains our bodies in dynamic stabilization. All of our physical activities in life require dynamic stabilization. We need to be able to perform multiple complex movements – reaching, twisting, bending, staying upright – with minimum strain on the body. To do this we need a stable foundation in our core trunk, shoulder, knee and ankle joints to balance the strength and power necessary to perform movement. That’s not just strong abs – that’s strong everything.
Nowhere is the need for dynamic stabilization more evident than in the golf swing. Golfers know a higher level of fitness, strength and power is required to play the game well. Golf has become more athletic. But what is most important to improving your game is dynamic stabilization in your swing. Developing maximum power creation with minimum negative stress on the body will make you hit the ball further and more accurately. It will also diminish the risk of injury.
Pilates for Golf will balance mobility with stability, strength with power and enhanced body awareness with coordination. Whether you’re a pro or a weekend warrior, your golf game requires repetitive concentrated movements over several hours. Pilates trains your body to know how much coordinated muscular effort is required for any given task, making your movements efficient, easy and graceful.
• Strengthen back muscles evenly for a smoother and more powerful swing.
• Increase shoulder range of motion to improve backswing and follow-through.
• Increase hip and torso strength and flexibility for greater distance and power.
• Increase overall flexibility, strength, balance and timing.
• Enhance concentration through focused breathing.
• Decrease fatigue.
• Allow you to play pain-free!
Barbara Grant is the founder and President of Retrofit Pilates, a full-service Pilates studio in Toronto. For more information or to contact Barbara, visit www.retrofit.ca.