In 5 ways to improve your golf game you will find out why stretching your muscles is just as important as strengthening them. Why not drinking water and fueling your body can actually cause injuries. Why a warmup can help improve the consistency of your game and how core strength puts it all together.
With over 25 million golf enthusiasts in the U.S. it is one of, if not the fastest growing sports with more than 15% of the population playing. Many people spend a lot of time and money playing and practicing golf, but generally not so much on conditioning their body to play golf.
What these people don't realize is that golf is one of the most stressful sports you can play, particularly for your back. Golf requires full rotational capacity of almost every joint in the body, the coil and recoil action of the spine during a golf swing is challenging to the healthiest of spines. Any dysfunction or imbalance in the length/tension of the muscles and stabilize and support the joints can lead to inconsistency on the course; lower scores, and breakdown of your body, including your swing.
So, is golf such as a docile game where you just go for a walk, hit a little ball, and then go for another walk and hit it again? Most of us believe we can take up golf later in life when we have time for it? It can be a wonderful and challenging new sport for most people to take up if they properly condition their bodies for it. If conditioned they can avoid some of the common ailments such as: sore backs, shoulders, hips, etc. that tend to be associated with golfing.
5 Components to a better Golf Game:
1. Focus on Core Strength. The muscles stemming from the chest down to the pelvic area involve the "core" or torso of the body. Think of the trunk of the body as the solid, stable force from which all other body parts can move. If this area is weak and not conditioned properly our extremities such as the legs and arms cannot function optimally with ease and efficiency.
The abdominal muscles involving the superficial rectus abdominus, the deeper tranverse abdominals, and the side obliques all involve some aspect of stabilizing the spine for the twisting and side bending action involved with golf.
Practicing Pilates-based exercises on the mat or equipment successfully conditions your core in all of these planes of movement. As you wok to stabilize the core you can simultaneously move the extremities of the body such as the arms and legs through corrective and efficient hip and joint mobilization.
2. Stretching and Strengthening the Muscles. Think of your muscles as a rubber band, when they are not being worked but are just resting they are resilient and pliable. When you stretch that rubber band out it becomes more vulnerable to forces acting upon it. One prick and it could go shooting across the room. Not that your muscle would go shooting across the room but it may become injured or tear if it was weak when elongated.
If you have strength without flexibility when hitting a golf ball you may just have to walk farther into the rough to get the ball. If you have flexibility without strength you may keep the ball on the fairway, but then not have as far to walk. With this in mind you can see now why it is important to combine these two components for a better and more consistent golf game.
The best way I have found and many of the pros as well, is to practice Pilates exercises which utilizes spring tension to combine strengthening while stretching the muscles at the same time. If you are looking for a certified Pilates instructor in your area check here for members: http://www.pilatesmethodalliance.org.
3. Improve your Posture. Without proper posture and spinal alignment in the body your center of gravity will be off and cause inconsistency in your scores.
Increased kyphosis (rounding) in the upper or thoracic area of the spine restricts rotation in the torso causing faulty swing mechanics. No matter how well trained you may be, you will always have some distortion and inconsistency in your swing plane.
To decrease your risk for injury, improve motor programming, and, in turn your swing plane, align yourself properly at address. Good postural alignment and muscle balance involves a straight or neutral spine. Make sure as you hinge forward at the waist to keep your chest open, abdominal muscles drawn in and then feel like you are poking your butt out to sit in a chair.
4. Warm-Up for Consistency. Your warm-up or pre-event exercises should be dynamic in nature, which means with movement. Focus on the spine, hips, and shoulders. The brain is constantly monitoring the changing length of the muscles as you do your warm-up, so you need to slowly but steadily move in and out of your stretches until you loosen up. Pilates exercise sequences are based on this smooth flowing but exacting movements.
5. Fuel your Body. Good nutrition is our body's fuel. If it is running on low it will not perform optimally. Make sure to eat properly and within a couple of hours of your golf game if you hope to perform at your best.
Remember also, our muscles are over 80% water and if they are not hydrated they are like a rubber band that was left out in the sun dried out and easily cracked. Like the rubber band, your muscles without water will not be as pliable and will be more prone to injuries. Drink plenty of water and electrolyte drinks if you are out for longer than 2 hours to keep your muscles loose and pliable.
Article Tags: Golf Game, Rubber Band
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Adolfs is a certified Pilates Mat and Equipment Specialist who works with musculoskeletal injuries. Her new Pilates Ebook outlines special considerations for those affected by back and joint conditions. Find more great articles and free tips by going to her web site at http://www.Pilates-Back-Joint-Exercise.com
Written by : Jennifer Adolfs