Three Simple Pilates Exercises for a Better Golf Game
All golfers know they need to work on rotation, balance and stability. This is stating the obvious. There are also a handful of exercises that benefit the golfer that might not be so obvious. Of course, we know each golfer has individual needs, as with all athletes, but these three simple Pilates exercises should be a part of every golfer’s routine. If you are a Pilates instructor and want to know more on how to identify and correct golf swing faults using the Pilates Method we have written a manual called Pilates for Golfers.
This is actually a warm-up exercise, but great to help create more mobility and coordination in the pelvis, hips and lumbar spine. All of which are important during the golf swing as power is transferred from lower body to upper body.
Start laying on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-distance apart. Keep your arms by your side as you inhale to prepare. As you exhale, begin to tilt your pelvis back and you will feel your lower back touch the floor.
Inhale as you tilt your pelvis in the opposite direction, away from your rib cage, feeling a slight arch in your lower back. Repeat the exercise for 10-20 repetitions. Be sure to feel your transversus abdominis stay engaged throughout the entire exercise while keeping the rest of your upper body still.
This exercise challenges the stability of the pelvis, lower back and core while strengthening the gluteals, which are tremendously important for creating power and stability during the golf swing. There are several variations of this exercise. The basic Bridge starts lying on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-distance apart. You should focus on trying to recruit your gluteals throughout the exercise, not your hamstrings. This will take practice and concentration.
- Inhale to prepare and exhale to lift your hips to a bridge position, from your shoulders to knees.
- Inhale to stay in this position and exhale as you lift one foot slightly off the floor without shifting or dropping your hips.
- Inhale to return the foot to the floor and exhale as you lift the other foot off.
- Inhale as you lower the foot and exhale as you lower your hips back to the floor.
The leg lifting off the floor can gradually lift higher to make the exercise more challenging. Eventually the full Bridge takes the lifted leg into extension to the ceiling, then lowering the leg parallel to the supporting leg, lifting the leg back to the ceiling and then finally back to the floor. Start with the basic Bridge first, then progress as you get stronger in your gluteals.
Side Lying Leg Circles
This exercise helps improve mobility of the hip joint, stability of the core while also challenging balance. Hip mobility, or internal and external rotation, will affect the backswing and downswing. First, during the backswing, the golfer will load and coil into the hips. Then, on the downswing, he will post into and rotate around the hips. If hip mobility is limited, a golfer will have too much lateral motion during the golf swing.
This exercise starts side-lying, with the supporting arm extended over the head and the top arm touching the floor for stability. During the exercise, lift in your core and supporting side to avoid sinking into the floor.
- Inhale as the top leg lifts away from the supporting leg, only as far as you can maintain pelvic stability.
- Exhale as you begin to circle the top leg while the rest of the body remains as still as possible.
- Inhale to finish the circle. Repeat the circle 8-10 times and then reverse the circle.
- Repeat to the other side.
Keep the abdominals engaged throughout the exercise and keep tension out of the shoulders.
Of course, there is so much more to a golf fitness program, but these three simple Pilates exercises can be done anywhere, in very little time and give amazing results.