Conditioning the abdominals we usually think of abdominal crunches (which I believe are very effective) but only address one area of the body, the upper abs. Over the next four weeks I will offer a series of core conditioning poses, based on a series of yoga poses that targets the entire core.
Core conditioning has many benefits to the golfer - stabilization of the trunk, back strength, explosive power at impact and supports maintaining a proper spine angle through the dynamic phase of the swing.
With 20 years of experience training professional athletes the importance of proper alignment is critical. It is the difference between getting the maximum benefit in the exercise while reducing any risk of injury. During this series you should not feel ANY discomfort in the low back. (If you feel discomfort, come out of the exercise and return to the starting position. A bonus to these poses is the upper body workout. You will strengthen the chest, shoulders, arms, hands and wrists.
Tips for working the core: Breathing is the secret ingredient to performing these exercises with precision so you get maximum results. Holding you breathe burns up the energy you need to stay energized and helps you generate more strength. Similar focus on breathing on the golf course helps sustain energy and strength.
Always exhale on exertion, paying attention to a full, deep inhalation during the other phase of the exercise. Focus on the low abdominals and obliques, visualizing the muscles lifting up towards the spine. Do not allow the low back to fall down, maintain a solid plank position. If necessary, do the poses in front of a mirror.
Now let's begin this week's poses....
Par / Birdie and Eagle levels:
Place the hands directly under the shoulders. Squeeze the legs together, engage the gluts and pull the abdominals towards the spine. Hold for one minute. Repeat three times.
Lower one knee down to the floor and switch sides after thirty seconds.
Par / Birdie levels:
Exhale as you bring the knee to the chest. Tuck the head towards the knee but do not strain the neck. Inhale to the starting plank position.
Lift the right leg off the floor; bring the knee to the chest. Keep the right leg off the floor. Repeat ten times or until muscle fatigue. Switch sides.
Birdie and Eagle levels:
Bring the knee to the chest five times, return to the solid plank position and do five tricep push-ups. Keep the elbows pinned to the sides of the body. Inhale; lower the body so the upper arm is parallel to the floor. Exhale, return to the starting position. Repeat three sets on each side.
Practice these poses everyday and you will experience increased core stability and begin to see the six pack abs. Next week will focus on strengthening the obliques.
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Catch Katherine live in the studio this Monday night on The Golf Channel's Your Game Night. Contact her with any questions or comments @ email@example.com and she may answer your questions on air.
Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of Yoga for Golfers, has 20 years of experience in fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.