Written by Dana Brown
The long-awaited Spring golf season is finally approaching here in New England. It’s no secret
that most professional golfers exercise under the guidance of a trainer to improve their games.
Many of them (Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Carin Koch and Annika Sorenstam) are relying on
Pilates to perfect their swing, gain strength and flexibility, and reduce the likelihood of injuries.
As in any other sport, the game of golf requires repeating movement patterns that, over time,
create muscular imbalances. A poorly executed swing is to blame for the most common golf
injuries – rotator cuff tears, tendinitis, back and knee pain. Studies show that as many as 60% of
amateur golfers suffer from golf related injuries. Pilates’ emphasis on flexibility, stability and
rotation means that players benefit greatly from a regular Pilates practice.
What is Pilates?
Pilates was originally called Contrology by its creator, Joseph Pilates. He created this
comprehensive system of over 500 exercises in the early 1900’s and based it on six key
principles: concentration, control, centering, flow, precision and breath. It is these six principles
that teach us how to use our muscles uniformly, correct imbalances and create an overall strong
connection between the mind and body. Hence, the ideal practice for golfers of all levels.
Private lessons under the guidance of Pilates experts are ideal, but golfers can easily
incorporate a few basic Pilates corrective exercises into their daily routines to experience more
birdies and lower scores.
1. Pelvic Tilts – Lie on your back with arms flat on the floor, knees bent and feet hip width
apart. Inhale. Exhale and tilt pelvis until lower back is imprinted on the floor. Hold for 3
seconds while focusing on engaging the abdominals and glutes. Repeat 10 times.
2. Roll Downs – Stand against a wall with your feet hip width apart and 12 inches away
from the wall. Inhale. Exhale and peel your spine away from the wall starting with your
head, neck, shoulders and ribs while pressing your hips into the wall. Roll back up,
vertebrae by vertebrae, to create more space and length in your spine. Repeat 5 times.
3. Spine Twists – Sit on the floor with legs extended straight (keep a soft bend in the knees
if hamstrings or hips feel tight). Extend arms out to the sides, opening the chest and
pulling the shoulder blades together and down the back. Alternate twisting right and left
through the center of your spine. Repeat 10 times.
With the countdown to the first Golf Match of the season on, the time to start training is now.