Golf with Pilates
Are you trying to work on your golf swing and just not getting anywhere? Did you know that Pilates can improve your game and can help keep you injury free? Pilates is a type of exercise that focuses on improving muscular strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and mobility and stability of the spine, shoulder, pelvis and hips. All of these factors can lead to improved golf performance.
Two of the main factors determining a players golfing performance (or score) are accuracy and driving distance (Hetu et al.,1998; Hume et al., 2005; Yoon, 1998). Research has shown that muscular strength and power development have a positive impact on these factors (Doan et al., 2006, Fletcher & and Hartwell, 2004; Thompson et al., 2007).
Yoon (1998) found that swing speed was influenced by combined hip and leg muscle power, grip strength, trunk power and combined arm and trunk strength. Of these trunk rotations, strength was the most influential on swing speed. Pilates reformer and trapeze exercises, using springs as resistance, are a great way to improve trunk rotation strength. There are also many Pilates exercises that can be selected to improve wrist, arm, hip and leg strength specific to golfing requirements.
Other research has shown that wrist and ankle flexion as well as shoulder horizontal extension, hip abduction and chest strength directly improve driving distance and clubhead speed respectively (Tsai et al;2004, Wu et al; 2007, Wiren, 1968; Wells, 2009). The Pilates reformer is a versatile piece of equipment that allows golfers to target all of these specific areas in different positions. By standing on the reformer players can practice their golf stance whilst strengthening their hip muscles and improving their pelvic control.
Pilates is also a great way of improving your upper torso rotation. The degree of rotation of the shoulder-hip complex has been linked to ball velocity and playing standard (Myers etal; 2008) Specific Pilates Wunda chair and barrel exercises enable players to gain this much needed thoracic mobility and rotation range.
The flexibility and strength gained from pilates will not only help to improve your golfing swing but it will also reduce your risk of suffering from common golfing injuries such as low back pain, golfers elbow and shoulder and wrist pain. So if you are keen to improve your golf performance or just increase the time out on the golf course injury free try pilates with a trained physiotherapist who can design a program specifically for you.