What is the best method to improving your golf game? “Improve your body."
Golfers need to remember that in order to improve their game they need to get into shape to play golf, not to play golf to get into shape. It’s easy to lose sight of our golf goals, especially in Michigan during the winter months, and procrastinating until spring only prolongs your learning progress. However, committing to a golf conditioning program or a few exercises and stretches each day will help to keep your body in shape all year round.
Today, there are so many innovative exercise programs, gyms and affordable equipment to maintain your tone and enhance your swing. The use of therabands, stability balls, balance bars, medicine balls, and kettle bells have been most popular and effective. The stability ball makes for one of the best pieces of equipment because it is forgiving and light on the body while at the same time enhances muscle lengthening “stretching” and stabilization to improve your golf swing.
There are two fundamental core stability stretches that I recommend for all golfers at any level of ability. First, is the “chest stretch” over the stability ball. This stretch will provide improved posture and relaxed shoulders at the address position. While sitting on the ball with your feet flat on the floor, walk your feet out and gradually lean back so the ball rests between your head, neck and shoulder blades. Feet should be flat on the floor while your core and legs are parallel to the floor. Bend the elbows at a 90-degree angle so palms face the ceiling. Relax your arms and allow them to hang, as gravity will allow a release from your chest muscles. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.
The “side stretch” is the second stretch. This stretch releases lateral body tightness and contributes to leveling the shoulders and hips to keep the body in balance. “Side lie” over the ball, rest the bottom knee and arm on the floor to help balance. Reach the top leg and arm as straight as possible until a comfortable stretch is felt in the topside of the body. Relax your neck and allow the head to comfortably drop toward the floor. Hold 30-60 seconds, three reps each, left and right sides.
These beneficial stretches provide the greatest amount of release to the muscles while supporting the body with minimal tension. More importantly, they provide a true path of stretching with gravity assisting, similar to how we should allow gravity to assist us when swinging the golf club.
Whether you are getting into shape or trying to keep your shape, golfers who stick to an exercise program will invariably perform better and reduce the risk of injury year after year.
Tami Bealert is a PGA Golf Professional and Fitness Trainer. For more information go to www.TrainWithTami.com. Phone: 734-731-0238
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