In Function, Pilates

Simple Pilates Exercises for a Better Golf Game

To improve your golf game you need to work on rotation, balance and stability. This is stating the obvious if you are a golfer.  Of course, at Absolute Pilates we know each golfer has individual needs, but these  simple Pilates exercises should be a part of every golfer’s routine.

Pelvic Tilt

IMG_2405This is actually pre pilates 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 toward and you will feel your lower back moving toward the floor.

Inhale as you tilt your pelvis in the opposite direction, away from your be
ly button, feeling a lift in your lower back. Repeat the exercise for 10-16 repetitions. Be sure to feel your transverses abdominis (your lower abs) stay engaged throughout the entire exercise while keeping the rest of your upper body still.

Bridge

The next step to the previous exercise. 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 swing. There are several variations of this exercise. Lets start with the basic Bridge, lying on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-distance apart. You should focus on turning on  your gluteals throughout the exercise, not your hamstrings. This will take practice and focus.

  1. Inhale to prepare and exhale to lift your hips to a bridge position, from your shoulders to knees.
  2. Inhale to stay in this position and exhale as you lower your hips back to the floor.

Adding a 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.

  1. Inhale to prepare and exhale to lift your hips to a bridge position, from your shoulders to knees.
  2. Inhale to stay in this position and exhale as you lift one foot slightly off the floor without shifting or dropping your hips.
  3. Inhale to return the foot to the floor and exhale as you lift the other foot off.
  4. Inhale as you lower the foot and exhale as you lower your hips back to the floor.

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. If hip mobility is limited, a golfer will have too much lateral motion during the golf swing.IMG_2397

This exercise starts lying on your back. Lower abdominals are engaged as much as possible.

    1. Inhale as you extend one leg in to the sky, only as far as you can maintain pelvic stability.
    2. Inhale as you begin to circle the top leg while the rest of the body (especially the torso and hips) remains as still as possible.
    3. Exhale to finish the circle. Repeat the circle 8-10 times and then reverse the circle.
    4. Repeat to the other side.

Keep the abdominals engaged throughout the exercise and keep tension out of the shoulders.

Roll Down

This exercise helps improve strength, rotation and mobility in the spine. This is important as the transfer of power in the swing happens.

This exercise starts sitting on the sitz bones tall. Start from the deepest abdominals and roll backwards on the mat as far as you control the exercise. Possibly all the way to the mat. You want this exercise to have a  smooth articulation through your spine. This will be the limiting factor for your range of motion.

  1. Inhale as you roll back beginning as you start slide you tail bone away and drop your low back in to the mat. Exhale roll down one vertebra at time continuing to roll on to the mat.
  2. Inhale to start to roll back up starting from chin nod. Then rolling all the way up to seating (starting position)

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Modifications: Limit Range of Motion, Bend Knees

Adding rotation will add additional benefits to your strength in rotation.

  1. Inhale as you roll back beginning as you start slide you tail bone away while you twist your torso to one side and drop your low back in to the mat. Exhale roll down one vertebra at time continuing to a challenge spot.
  2. Inhale to start to roll back up straightening out the spine. Then rolling all the way up to seating (starting position)

Of course, there is so much more to a pilates golf fitness program, but these simple Pilates exercises can be done anywhere, in very little time and give amazing results.

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