Some golfers are willing to go to great lengths to improving their games on the links. From high-priced lessons to high-tech gadgets, there’s no limit to the longshot remedies golfers will go to if they think it will knock a couple of strokes of their handicaps.
Yet when it comes to something that is both simple and free and has been proven to offer results, like the exercise disciplines of yoga and Pilates, many golfers prefer to take a pass. Whether it’s the stigma of the hippie yogis or the unwillingness to try something different, golfers often overlook the tried and true for a new quick fix.
But there’s no shame in helping your game using yoga and Pilates, which are designed to improve your overall flexibility, mobility, stability and strength. Some even find reduced pain and a sharper mental focus with these workouts. Don’t believe it’s a benefit for athletes? Just ask superstars like Tiger Woods, Tom Brady and LeBron James.
Perhaps the best part about incorporating yoga and Pilates into your golf workout is that they are free and easy to learn. Sign up for a regular class or learn some techniques online that you can use daily or before your round. Here’s a look at some of the key benefits of using yoga and Pilates, and some simple exercises that are perfect for your golf game:
Flexibility: One of the principle functions of yoga is to increase functional mobility in the joints, which are paramount to golf. Many golfers instantly envision an acrobat with their legs tucked behind their heads, but that’s not the reality. A basic yoga program is designed to improve flexibility in the hips, shoulders, knees and neck, all of which can be beneficial to your stance and swing. Yoga has a series of joint-specific routines that can increase your flexibility and range of motion, which can go a long way toward realizing your full swing potential. Try some range of motion exercises and discover the difference in your swing mechanics.
Mobility: The benefits of flexibility lead to improved mobility, which may be the most important factor for golfers. While flexibility increases the tensile elasticity in the joints, the concept of mobility involves incorporating those flexible joints into a smooth yet speedy swing motion. The basics of yoga can increase a golfer’s ability to accelerate the components of their swing in a controlled fashion. More flexible muscles are capable of moving faster and improving mobility in the joints, allowing golfers to increases their club head speed for greater distance and control their motions for better accuracy.
Strength: Both Pilates and yoga are used to develop strength in the core muscles, which are critical to a powerful golf swing. Yoga involves a series of posture poses designed to both strengthen core muscles and improve your ability to control them, so golfers can not only add power to their game but also balance and control. Pilates also plays a vital role in strengthen core and stabilizing muscles, particularly in the back and hips. These disciplines can also go a long way toward improving your overall posture in order to take the fullest advantage of increased strength, control and club head speed.
Stretching: Many golfers have a pre-round warm-up routine to loosen up before teeing off, which usually involves a few practice swings at the driving range and some half-hearted deep-knee bends. But more and more are turning to yoga and Pilates for useful stretching techniques before their rounds. By learning some of the common positions and exercises of yoga and Pilates, golfers can limber up their joints, jump-start their core muscles, and find a greater mental focus before stepping onto the first tee box. These targeted exercises are geared toward key golf muscle and joint groups – the spine, hips, shoulders, knees, ankles and wrists – to tune your body for the challenges on the links.
To take full advantage of these concepts and the benefits to your golf game, sign up for a local yoga or Pilates class or do some homework online to practice them on your own. The result will be a better overall game that you can show off during your next golf getaway to Myrtle Beach.
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