Pilates for a Better Golf Swing
Of the many benefits of practicing Pilates, improved posture and body awareness are two of the most important. While they are beneficial to everyone, improved posture and body awareness can be extraordinarily helpful to golfers. Whether a person plays golf socially or professionally, some of the most common swing faults are rooted in poor posture and body alignment.
Poor posture can be death to a golf swing and can lead to poor performance, high scores and, worst of all, injury. Specifically, a golfer suffering from either Kyphosis or Lordosis is at high risk of injury and is most likely not performing to the best of their ability. You’ll often see golfers buying new equipment (clubs or training aids) in an effort to improve their scores or hit the ball further when really, all they need, it to improve their most important equipment – their bodies!
Kyphosis, also known as C-posture or Upper Crossed Syndrome is a condition in which the upper thoracic spine is unnaturally curved or humped. There can be a curve all the way down the back to the tailbone. Because of the positioning of the body, some muscles can be weak and extended (Lower Traps, Serratus Anterior, Deep Neck Flexors) while other muscles can be shortened and tight (pectorals, Upper Traps, Levator Scapula). A golfer who suffers from this condition will have a difficult time staying in the proper position during their golf swing. It can severely restrict rotation into the backswing which can result in loss of accuracy and power – two things that golfers covet. This is a condition which can be improved greatly with Pilates training. Specifically, this type of client needs to work on extension of the upper spine in addition to strengthening the shoulder girdle and shoulder stabilizers.
The following mat exercises are excellent for clients with Kyphosis:
- Arm Circles
- Spinal Rotation
- Breast Stroke (prep and full)
- Leg Pull Front
Lordosis, also known as S-posture or Lower Crossed Syndrome is a condition in which the lumbar spine has too much anterior tilt or curve. It can cause a great deal of pain in the lumbar area because the muscles there and the hip flexors are short and weak while the abdominals and gluteals are overstretched and inhibited. Golfers who suffer from this condition commonly have lower back pain and it’s a good bet that their golf game could be better. This physical limitation can inhibit golfers from staying in the proper position during the swing and can also restrict torso rotation leading to numerous other golf swing faults. A client who suffers from Lordosis needs to work on mobility of the pelvis as well as strengthening the core (abs and glutes).
The following mat exercises are excellent for clients with Lordosis:
- Imprint and release
- Hip Rolls
- Articulating Bridge
- Neutral Bridge
- Heel Squeeze Prone
- Single Leg Extension
Proper posture and body awareness are of great importance to golfers. The golf swing is a highly athletic and difficult move to make in the best of circumstances. It is almost impossible to do well when physical limitations such as Kyphosis or Lordosis are present. Both of these conditions can be overcome with proper training and instruction. Keep your golfers on the course and they will be more grateful than you can imagine.