Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The 10 minute Pilates Warm-Up for Golfers

The mechanics of a good golf swing are very dynamic and potentially injury inducing over time if key areas of the body lack flexibility and grounded balance. Mobility in the shoulders, spine and hips are paramount for a free and easy swing and core strength is required to stabilize the lower body to protect the back and effectively transfer energy and power through the club head.

To help improve your golf game, prevent injury and add more enjoyment to your round, include this Pilates warm up before you tee off.  

Note: Start all exercises standing in good posture - feet hip width apart and parallel, equal weight balanced over the whole foot, knees slightly bent so as not to be locked, hips and pelvis level and stacked over feet, shoulders rolled back and down, head and ears back and stacked over shoulders. Breathe deeply in through the nose expanding the chest and ribcage and out through the mouth drawing low abdominals slightly in and up. Take 5 deep breathes like this.

Wrist, Elbow & Arm Circles – make a fist and slowly rotate wrists 5 times in both directions. Next with fingers to shoulders slowly circle elbows in front, then up, wide apart then back and down. Repeat 5 x both direction. Finally hold a driver wide in the hands and lift straight arms up over head, then circle the arms and shoulders back and down bringing the club behind your back and down to the hips. Inhale here then circle it back up behind you, overhead and down in front. Keep balanced and watch that the ribs don’t push forward. Repeat 5 x.

Shoulder and Chest Stretch - holding club behind back of hips with palms facing away, inhale and lift shoulders up to ears then roll them back and slide them down to open the front of chest and shoulders, exhale and gently press hands away reaching club straight back. Hold stretch 30 seconds. Repeat.

Side Body Stretch – holding club overhead inhale to stretch body upward then exhale to stretch spine and arms over to the right. Inhale center and exhale up and over to the left. Keep feet grounded and abdominals drawn in. Repeat 3x.

Spine Rotation with “Pistols” – elbows bent and pressing into side waist, make “guns” with pointer fingers and thumbs and point pistols out to sides. Inhale to rotate spine to right, exhale to return center. Repeat 5x to right then repeat pistol rotation to left 5x, then do 5 smooth rotations in a full range. Keep feet, hips and pelvis stable and initiate the rotation from the waist, rib cage and shoulder girdle.

One Hip Circles – lift right knee to 90 degrees and stand on one leg, place hands on hips or if too unsteady use a club for balance initially. Draw 5 circles outward with the knee, moving the thigh bone in the hip joint while keeping the standing leg strong and the pelvis level. Repeat with 5x inward circles, then switch legs.

Hoola Hoops – place both hands on hips and moving the pelvis and low spine through a full range of motion drawing 5 full circles to the right, followed by 5 full circles to the left. Imagine you are tracing the inside of a bowl with your motion.

Squats – reach arms out in front, keep legs hip width apart and balance weight over whole foot, start to bend knees and then slide hips back as if you were going to sit down into a chair. Bring your thighs parallel to the ground, pull your shoulders onto your back, press your thighs slightly outward and draw your abdominals up and in. Hold for 5 seconds then return to standing. Repeat 5 x.

Arch and Flex “Cat Stretch” – bend knees and place hands on thighs. On an exhale curl tail toward heels, scoop belly in, press the ribs back and wide, lower gaze towards navel and round the whole back body. Then inhale to return the hips and low back to a neutral curve and keeping abdominals drawn in stretch the chest forward and upward, drawing shoulder blades down the back and lifting head and gaze to look forward. Exhale to round, Inhale to extend. repeat 5x.

Happy Golfing!!