As some of the world’s best athletes went in to perform at their highest level last week at the Masters , the rest of us are just trying to get a little better to enjoy the game more. Most of us are inconsistent and frustrated with our inability to improve.
Practice is the most important factor in game improvement, but if your body is tight and weak, then you will not be able to take your muscles and joints through full range of motion. If you practice excessively and your body is not moving correctly, this can lead to swing compensations, miss hit shots and even injury.
Which is why I suggest, to many of my students, that they incorporate Pilates into their daily routines to help accelerate their game improvement process.
Cardiogolf Creator, LPGA Teaching Professional, Golf-Fitness Specialist and Certified Pilates Instructor Karen Palacios-Jansen teams up with 15 to Fit Pilates, Barre and Fitness to help you take your game to the next level. Karen will design an individualized golf-specific workout program for you combining Pilates reformer exercises with her unique Cardiogolf fitness program to help you improve your core strength, posture, balance, flexibility and swing technique to build more a powerful and repeatable golf swing.
Because the golf swing requires repeating the same movement, some muscles become overused, others may weaken causing imbalances. Pilates is a full body exercise system that works all muscles, it’s low impact, helps increase strength and stability and improves flexibility.
Pilates and Putting
Although the task of putting may not seem like a highly athletic activity, the long hours of practice, that it takes to be proficient, can take a toll on the body: especially the back and neck. Having to hold your spine in position for long periods of time can be very painful for some people.
In putting, the wrists should be fairly passive during the putting stroke as the arms and shoulders do most of the work. If your back and neck muscles are weak, tight or imbalanced, then it is difficult keep the spine, hips and head still or steady in the putting stroke. The result is excessive movement in the body preventing a pendulum type movement.
The idea is to focus on keeping the angle formed between the back of the lead hand, wrist and forearm from the takeaway to the follow-through, as the head, torso and legs are stabilized. You need to have a strong core and back to keep this stabilization.
Don’t let the head or torso move causing the lead hand breakdown at impact.
Being able to engage and stabilize the body’s larger muscles results in a more consistent pendulum stroke.
Pilates Putting Drill
Elbow Ball Squeeze-
The goal of this exercise is to swing the triangle created by your arms and chest in a pendulum motion using your shoulder and upper back muscles. Place more emphasis on upper body muscles. Do not allow the hands and wrists to break down.
- Place a Pilates ball between your elbows as your finger tips reach long.
- Inhale to prepare.
- Exhale, pull your abdominal muscles to your spine, and squeeze the ball with your arms.
- Inhale as you swing back, as if you were making a putting stroke, using your shoulders to make a pendulum motion, continioulsy squeezing the ball between your elbows.
- Exhale as you swing forward, as if you were making a putting stroke, once again using your shoulders to make a pendulum motion, continioulsy squeezing the ball between your elbows.
- Hold your finish to check that you did not use your wrists excessively, causing the lead hand breakdown at impact.
- Repeat motion for 5 to 6 repetitions.
Engaging your core as you inhale and exhale will also strengthen core muscles as you improve your putting technique.
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