Golf can be a very complicated sport,
whether you are a recreational golfer or one who competes regularly in the sport.
The body moves in so many different ways in order to complete a simple golf swing.
The body has to:
twist at the torso
flex and extend at the lower back
rotate at the hips
flex, extend and rotate at the shoulders
Golf requires you to repeat the same combination of movements an average of 100-130 times in a 4-hour game.
This unnatural repetitive twisting of the spine can oftentimes result in lower back pain if the golfer does not take time to strengthen his/her core, optimize his/her flexibility and improve his/her posture awareness.
Pilates is great form of exercise to improve your golf game. The basic fundamentals of Pilates are the same basic fundamentals used in golf. These fundamentals include:
Control– Pilates teaches the body how to complete the exercise from start to finish with control. A good golfer has to know how to control the swing from start to finish.
Coordination – Pilates requires you to coordinate several movements with the breath. Think about what a complex movement the golf swing is. It requires you to coordinate the hips, torso, legs and upper body in order to complete a full swing.
Centering – Pilates requires you to generate power from your core or your center. You are only as strong as your core. When you have a strong center, it can increase how far you can drive the ball in golf.
Rhythm and Flow – Pilates is taught in a way that flows from one exercise to the next. Golf requires you to flow from the coiling of the body into the uncoiling of the body over and over again.
Relaxation – Pilates teaches you how to work, but also how to relax a bit while you work. A popular cue in Pilates is “Exert just enough force to create the movement. No more, no less”. Golf is the same, if you overthink, overpower, overdo, your swing can suffer.
Breathe – Pilates teaches you how to breathe while you are working. This improves focus and coordination. Being able to coordinate the breath with the movement in golf can send that ball much further than if you hold your breath.
Pilates can benefit your golf game in some of the following ways:
1. Improved flexibility can increase the torso’s ability to twist, resulting in a faster club head speed for more yardage.
2. Increased body awareness and postural alignment. This helps the golfer to perform the movements of golf more efficiently without undo strain on the muscles and joints.
3. Improved core strength can send the ball further and faster.
4. Pilates elongates and strengthens all the muscles of the body, thereby improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility. This can result in fewer injuries in golf.
5. Pilates rebalances all of the muscles imbalances our sports and our life creates. Think about it, golf is very one sided. You typically coil and uncoil the body 100-130 times in one game. But you do this only on one side of the body. This can result in significant muscle imbalances, which can lead to injuries of the shoulder, hips and spine.
As you prepare for the wonderfully frustrating game of golf, remember to not only prepare your clubs, but to also prepare the most essential component in golf…your body.