Long gone are the days when Pilates was associated with only ballet dancers and pregnant ladies. The benefits of Pilates have been discovered by pro golfers on the PGA tour, and these benefits include both improvement in performance and decreased injury risk. Whether you are a weekend hacker, or a competitive member of your golf club, Pilates will be your secret weapon to lift your game in the following ways.
How Pilates improves your golf swing:
1. Spinal mobility
It seems simple, but the spine needs to be able to rotate throughout the movement from back swing all the way through to follow through. If the spine is stiff, the amount of torque produced through the movement is lessened. In Pilates we have specific exercises to focus on spinal articulation, flexibility and range of motion; for golfers rotation and thoracic (upper back) extension and rotation are of particular importance.
2. Hip mobility
As well as rotation occurring in the spine through the swing, as the feet are planted on the ground the hips are required to rotate as the body turns on an axis. Any stiffness in the hip joints will limit the fluidity of the movement, and can increase risk of injury in other areas.
3. Pelvic control
Most of the power in the swing should come from the pelvis, therefore strength and control in this region of the body is paramount. This includes lower core and gluteal muscles, which we isolate and strengthen in Pilates.
4. Shoulder range of motion and control
As in any swinging sport, the range of motion in the shoulders is important, as is the control through this range. It is no use having a large range of movement in our swing if we can’t control the movement with precision and power.
As the body moves with speed on an imaginary axis and your weight transfers from one foot to the other, balance is imperative to control the swing; particularly as the power and speed increases through improvement of the above elements!
What to do?
A one-to-one Pilates assessment with a physiotherapist will be able to identify what areas might be limiting you in your golf game. Your Pilates sessions will then be tailored to address these areas, and the intensity and difficulty will be progressed by our experienced therapists as you improve with time. Once or twice weekly is optimal for results, and through your new understanding of your body you can utilise some of the ‘take home’ exercises to use as your warm up exercises or home exercise program.
Book in to see one of our expert Physiotherapists to optimise your golf game today!
Written by Cara McNeill