Listening to Zach Johnson talk about his Masters win he refers to his state of mind as very peaceful, a zone-like state. He was calm and collected.
How does the breath affect the body? If you are interested in gaining maximum distance club head speed is required at the point of impact. I refer to this as generating maximum velocity at the point of impact. Tennis players exhale completely at the point of impact, allowing maximum power at the exact moment the ball comes in contact with the strings.
Last year during one of my appearances on Your Game Night, I wagered a friendly bet with Jerry Foltz. I suggested we will begin to hear guys on the PGA Tour grunting at impact, similarly to what we see in tennis. Jerrys response, I dont think so Katherine. Two weeks ago while watching the Houston Open one of the players let out a HUH at the point of impact. (Jerry owes me a dollar!)
Why is the importance of breathing in your game?
- Deep breathing supports proper blood flow to the entire body.
- Breathing enables you to immediately quiet the mind and move into the Zone.
- Walking the course can be aerobic exercise, requiring deep breathing.
- Proper breathing supports your energy level throughout the entire round.
The following exercises are designed to increase your breathing capacity:
Breathing awareness exercise:
On your back, place the finger tips gently on the ribcage. Inhale and exhale slowly for a count of four. Focus on the rise and fall of your ribcage. Practice ten times.
Standing extension of the intercostals: (no photo)
PAR LEVEL: Clasp your hands behind your neck, elbows pressing as close as possible together. Inhale deeply and on the exhalation press the elbows back focusing on the stretch in the chest and ribcage. Repeat five times.
BIRDIE LEVEL: On the exhalation slightly extend back stretching the ribcage. Note: do not dump into your low back.
Extended side angle:
Place your right hand, knee and left foot in a straight line. Press your foot into the floor and pull your navel towards your spine. Inhale deeply and stretch the left arm over your head. Hold for five to seven deep breaths and switch sides.
Note: the more you tuck your pelvis under or posterior tilt in your pelvis the more you will feel the stretch.
Extend the right leg and place the left foot on the outside of the right knee. Place the left arm behind your back and use the arm as support. Lift from the ribcage and twist to the left. Hold for five breaths and switch sides.
Spinal rotation with focus on thoracic expansion:
Move into this spinal rotation and bring your attention to your sternum. Feel as if your sternum is lifting towards the ceiling, the area behind the heart, the thoracic spine is lifting as well. Hold for five more breaths and switch sides.
Next week ' tips from International Long Drive champion Sean (The Beast) Fister on building Popeye forearms!
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Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of Yoga for Golfers, has over 20 years of experience in fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at Katherine@YogaForGolfers.com or visit www.YogaForGolfers.com.