Flexibility promotes a more consistent, efficient and powerful swing by helping you:
1. Reduce unwanted compensations. This is when one part of your body has to stretch further as there is a restriction in another. By doing this there is a large amount of stress on certain areas and can result in injury. For example: restricted hip motion causes excessive spinal rotation and or shoulder movement and vice versa. And if the hips back and shoulders are tight, excessive head, arm and/or wrist movement occurs, all of which can alter the swing plane, posture and cause injury in those areas.
2. Maintaine posture. Flexibility can help with your posture throughout the swing. Miss hits are more likely when you are unable to maintain your spine angles. By this happening other postures will be lost at the ankles, knees, hips and trunk.
3. Creating a full unrestricted shoulder turn: By being more flexible you are able to have a bigger and more controlled shoulder turn. Having a bigger shoulder turn you can generate more power and distance
4. Making you body aware. Body awareness is very important when looking at a golf swing. There are sensors in muscles, tendons and joints that communicate body position, direction and rate of movement to our brain which then provides immediate feedback to alter a movement if necessary. When a movement is restricted this communication is less than optimal and performance can be compromised.
So the main question is: How do we become more flexible?
The simple answer is stretch! No matter what sport you play stretching and warming up is essential. For the body to move more efficiently a warm up is essential and stretching is part of this.
As athletes get older stretching becomes even more important for reducing injury. A golf swing is very dynamic and stretching techniques help with the efficiency. Stretching must be an important part of you pre golf routine. It’s easy to do and doesn’t cost anything! So before hitting balls on the range or teeing off it is important to stretch. Old or current injuries, especially those involving the spine need to be taken into consideration so it is worth speaking to a sports specialist or PGA Professional to design the right flexibility program for you.
If you live in the Southeast like I do, golf season has already started. The warm weather pushes people outside and on to the golf course. To start your season out right, do a few quick fundamental checks to make sure that you start your golf season on the right track.
If you have a hard time aligning yourself up on the golf course, try this quick inside alignment drill to assure you are aiming at your target.
Quick Alignment Check
Aim down your target line.
Place a club along your foot line.
Your feet should not align at your target. If your feet are pointing directly at your target or any other direction except for parallel to target line, you will have to make swing compensations.
You need to adjust your set up until you are aligned correctly.
The Roll-Down is a classical Pilates exercise that can strengthen the abdominals and stretch the lower back. It is a basic Pilates exercise, but that doesn’t mean it is easy according to Patrea Aeschliman, owner of 15 to Fit Pilates, Barre and Fitness in Mooresville, North Carolina. However, she says, for many this is a very challenging exercise that needs to be practiced.
This exercise is particularly good for golfers who need spinal mobility and abdominal strength to create power in the golf swing.
Watch Patrea demonstrate the Roll-Down with modifications.
Sit on the floor in a ‘v’ position with your knees bent and your feet flat
Place your hands behind your knees
Inhale as you sit tall, keeping your knees and ankles together
Tuck your tailbone and roll back about 4 inches
Reach your arms straight out in front of you, then hold position for one inhale
Exhale, then pull your abs in and then articulate your spine back up to the start position
Whenever you take lessons and try to make a swing change, it is important to remember a few points that will help you with the transition.
Practice the swing change, but try not to overdo the new move or motions that your pro suggests. What happens to a lot of people after a golf lesson, it that they exaggerate the new move and that may throw off tempo and timing. You may actually hit the ball worse after a golf lesson.
Be patient and rehearse the move without hitting a ball for several sessions until you are comfortable with the new move. Rehearsing the new move without hitting a ball will help ingrain the new move into your swing and then it will feel more comfortable and natural when you actually hit balls.
Finally, try not to stress out about your score for the first few rounds after a lesson, it may take several weeks before you own the new motion.
I teach Golf and Pilates. I am a LPGA Master Professional and Certified Personal and Pilates Trainer