Golf pros such as Tiger Woods, Carin Koch and Phil Mickelson all practise Pilates and yoga! Why? Because a combination of these two disciplines not only help improve their game via an efficient and more powerful swing, Pilates and yoga will also help prevent injury and keep them in the game for longer.
The majority of my private clients are keen golfers and have learnt that in order to improve their golf swing they need to have the right biomechanics in place and increase their flexibility in key golf-specific areas and increase their core strength. I use a combination of yoga and Pilates exercises to help my clients play better golf and here is why:
Increase in Range of Motion
An efficient golf swing requires full range of motion of the spine and ribs, shoulders, hips and wrists. Specific Pilates and yoga moves will increase golfers flexibility and improve the range of motion through which golfers can swing and reduces the frequency of tears and strains in ligaments and tendons. A lack of flexibility and range of motion in the hips is bad news for a serious golfer as it will not only affect their shot but will have a negative impact on the rest of the body and can result injury. On the positive side, more rotation in the body makes for a more efficient, powerful golf swing.
Increase in Strength
While flexibility enables motion to occur, sufficient strength of the posterior shoulder muscles is essential for club control during the swing phase. The abdominals, core muscles (transverse abdominus, erector spinae) and lats are used in concert to stabilize the trunk and dissipate forces.
Professional golfers use their hips for power, as the hip musculature is very active during the golf swing. Hip rotators are extremely important during the downswing, when the abductors and adductors act in a stabilizing role to maintain balance throughout the movement. In the absence of strong hip rotator muscles, the low back and arms must make up the work and this can potentially causing back strain (back strain is another reason for so many golfers taking up Pilates; referrals from physiotherapists and chiropractors for Pilates to help strengthen their back and work on posture). A balanced, flexible and strong body is the foundation for a serious golfer in order to take their game to the next level.
Increase in Core Strength
I use a lot of Pilates exercises to strengthen my client’s core muscles. The overall core strength gained from Pilates can help improve golfers swing by increasing their ability to stabilize their body as well as being able to initiate movement from their core muscles. Strong core muscles are also extremely important to keep your back strong, prevent back problems and for maintained good posture.
A correctly designed Pilates and yoga programme will balance the body and help prevent injuries. The Pilates method promotes uniform development of all the muscles in the body. Creating balance in the body’s musculature can prevent overuse injuries that can be very common for golfers.
Increase in Concentration
Golf is a mind-body sport and both Pilates and yoga direct us to focusing our attention on the present moment and improves our mental focus. One of the core principles of Pilates is that every movement requires us to concentrate on exactly what our body is doing. With Yoga, that concentration may be directed by bringing our focus to our breath or via specific techniques such as meditation. Many golfers struggle with the mental hazards of the game such as loss of concentration (which could be due to fatigue, distractions on the course or from those around them, or if it’s been a tense or a nerve-racking day). Yoga and Pilates helps to bring us into the present moment, taking us away from the never-ending chatter of the mind, which can distract a golfer from the focus required for a flawless golf swing. Concentration, like any other skill will improve the more we practice it.
Want to give Pilates or Yoga a go?
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for how I can help you more.
I also have a Men’s Pilates class at 7pm Thursday in Chislehurst that is ideal for golfers wishing to improve their strength and flexibility to improve their game.
The Golfers Guide to Pilates, Monica Clyde, Ulysses Press.
The Golfer Biomechanic’s Manual, Paul Chek, C.H.E.K Institute.