I have neither played nor been a fan of golf but having heard that Tiger Woods takes Pilates to improve his game, I thought why not, especially when I advocate Pilates and Yoga to my students who in all shapes and sizes play one sport the other.
Joseph Pilates, the founding father of what has now become a phenomenon, Pilates, believed that the mind controls the body. Now, I am sure like myself you have probably heard of the saying, mind over body and truth be told, I never really understood this until a few years ago when I had to visualize myself practicing what I practically preach to everyone today, visualize the exercise through concentration and repetition. This of course builds on muscle memory
, one that is valued by not only golfers but also body builders, runners, basketball players, cyclists, rock climbers and the list goes on.
Now having challenged myself to try something new, I braved the whip of the whooshing sound as the tip of my golf stick struck the ball. The first thing I experienced was pure ecstasy, having managed to hit the ball at a great distance. Now unbeknownst to me until I met my golfing buddies (some with a par of 10), most golfers experience lower back pains which is caused by muscle imbalance.
The repeated bending over the ball and the constant stressing the body in one direction as you ready yourself for the perfect pitch creates muscle imbalance. A good swing requires that the spinal cord and pelvis align both at the time of preparing to smack the ball as well as at the time of hitting the ball. This alignment is key to keeping the muscles in tune. Pilates focuses on the alignment of the spine and pelvis which in turn provides the ideal relationship between muscles and joints.
Pilates also addresses the need to strengthen the core muscles
which are vital in stabilizing the trunk
. A stable trunk
furthers a golfer's need to improve their hit as their swing progresses from the lower body to the trunk
, the shoulders and the arms. Pilates aids this by teaching the lengthening of arms and legs away from the trunk
thus creating a wider swing.
So if you have your heart set on becoming the next Tiger, you may want to try Pilates.