Pilates is a form of exercise that emphasizes the balanced development of the body through core strength, flexibility and awareness in order to support efficient, graceful movement. The exercises are designed to increase flexibility, strengthen muscles and improve balance and posture. Golfers are constantly torquing their bodies in a unnatural manner, and some muscles become overused and others weakened as a result. By doing Pilates exercises, golfers can greatly reduce the number of related injuries and add years to their playing careers. Here are some Pilates exercises that you can do just about anywhere--they do not require any equipment.
The Pelvic Tilt
This exercise helps create more mobility and coordination in the pelvis, hips and lumbar spine--all important during the golf swing.
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-distance apart. Keep your arms by your side as you inhale.
2. As you exhale, begin to tilt your pelvis back and you will feel your lower back touch the floor.
3. Inhale as you tilt your pelvis in the opposite direction, away from your rib cage, feeling a slight arch in your lower back. Be sure to keep your ab muscles engaged throughout the entire exercise while keeping the rest of your upper body still.
Repeat 10-20 times.
This exercise will stretch your hips, buttocks and lower back, allowing the golfer to have fuller rotation on the backswing and giving you a wider arc.
1. Start from the same position as the pelvic tilt, lying on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-distance apart. Keep your arms by your side.
2. Tighten your ab muscles and lift both knees above your chest.
3. Turn both knees simultaneously and slowly to one side of your body all the way down to the ground.
4. All while keeping your back and arms still flat on the ground, hold the pose for 20 seconds.
5. Lift your knees back to the starting and repeat exercise on the other side. Remember to keep your ab muscles engaged throughout the entire exercise.
Repeat the exercise for five to 10 repetitions.
The windmill is a good exercise to strengthen your core and improve your balance throughout the swing. Your goal while doing this exercise is to remain centered and balanced. Go as slowly as needed to maintain proper form.
1. Sit up with the legs straight and open shoulder width apart. Reach the arms out in front of the torso level with the bottom of the sternum. Sit up on the center of the sit bones.
2. Inhale. Rotate the torso to the right and reach the left arm toward the right foot.
3. Exhale. Engage the ab muscles and roll the head and torso forward, reaching the left arm toward the outside of the right foot. Reach the right arm back while rotating the shoulder so the palm faces up.
4. Inhale. Return to the starting position with the weight centered and the arms out to the sides. Repeat the sequence on the opposite side.
Repeat the exercise for 15-20 repetitions.