Friday 27 June 2014

Why every golfer should practice Pilates

Are you or do you know someone who is a golfer?  

Do they practice Pilates?

If not, then they should, here's why;

*Approximately 60% of amateur golfers experience injury playing the game (Horowitz, 1999)

* Half of all professional golfers are forced to retire early due to injury (Metz, 1999)

Common golf injuries are:

Lower back (36%)
Elbows (32%)
Hands & Wrists (21%)
Shoulders (11%)

The reasons for the injuries are wide ranging from general overuse, poor swing mechanics and striking the ground with the club. To swing a golf club correctly requires a complex mix between balance, flexibility, co-ordination, muscular strength, joint mobility and neuromuscular training, the impact upon the ball requires compression forces of approximately 8 times the body weight.The golf swing is all one-sided which puts greater stress on the body and is not great for posture.  Core strength is a key component for golfers to achieve all of this correctly and efficiently - hence why Pilates is perfect for golfers and can help prevent injuries.

Pilates Exercises for Golfers

Pilates is designed to correct muscular imbalances, with it's focus on posture, alignment and technique, as well as core strength it is ideal for golfers. Pilates mat exercises can be used to stretch and strengthen, as well as creating some rotation in the golfers body - integrating the entire body thus correcting any imbalances.  Practising Pilates can create a flow to movement, essential in golf, as well as bringing a mind-body approach to a more conscious functional way of moving - the correct engagement before movement, can make the golf swing become more free and efficient!  Centering in this way can only improve the golfers swing and help them in their everyday life as well as helping keep them injury free, as all strength within the body comes from a strong core.

Key muscles for golfers to focus on

*Rectus Abdominus
*Latissimus Dorsi
*Rotator Cuffs

 3 suggested Pilates exercises for golfers

Shoulder Bridge - excellent for strengthening the gluts and stabilising the hips - both extremely important for golfers.

Single Leg Circles  - great for strengthening the legs, and stretching and strengthening through the hips.

Threadneedle Stretch - stretch through the thoracic spine, increasing mobility and creating some rotation through the mid back.

Improve you game

Golfers who practise Pilates have reported the following benefits;

* Hitting the ball further
* Improved swing
* Fewer injuries

So, what are you waiting for, include some Pilates into your exercise regime and see what benefits you gain...Tiger Woods can't be wrong?!