20 minutes a day to a GREAT golf getaway

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Preparation is the key to a great golf getaway. You take the time to carefully prepare for your trip with the latest equipment, new grips, appropriate apparel, plenty of golf balls, band-aids and Advil. Forgot something? Did you prepare your body for the physical requirements of your golf vacation?

Consider these statistics: During a round of golf you walk 3-4 miles a day, hit over a hundred balls and stand over 30-40 putts. Multiply those numbers by two if you plan on playing thirty-six a day!

Without the physical preparation, you compromise your ability to maximize performance, possibly cause injury and most importantly you may not experience the full joy of your adventure. Twenty minutes a day will give you the strength, endurance and power needed to get in golf shape for your trip.

Consider that the most common injuries in golf occur in the following order: lower back, shoulders, elbows and hands. Additionally the stress of walking causes fatigue in the lower body. Here we will show you a series of Balance Ball Yoga exercises for golfers that will specifically:

• Increase strength and flexibility of the lumbar spine

• Increase your shoulder turn

• Build core strength for more consistency

• Increase power generated from the hips and glutes

• Support endurance by offsetting fatigue

Deep breathing and mental focus are core philosophies in the practice of yoga for golfers. Quieting the mind through the use of deep breathing facilitates mental focus and a fluid swing tempo. Follow these guidelines when practicing yoga:

• Move slowly, breathe deeply (for a slow count of four), align your body carefully and modify the exercise when necessary.

• Never push yourself to the point of pain.

• Always engage your core abdominals, by pulling your navel towards your spine for more core stabilization before beginning the movement.

• Move dynamically, not statically. Move on the inhalations and exhalations and do not hold the pose longer than five seconds. The YFG program is divided into three levels of intensity: par, birdie and eagle level. Practice the level of intensity most appropriate for your fitness objectives.

1: Dynamic Spinal Rotation

This pose will help increase your hip and lumbar spine rotation for the backswing and all the way through the follow-through.

Par level: Bring your heels to your glutes, feet flat on the floor. Lift the feet off the floor bringing the knees to a ninety degree angle. Repeat five to ten times.

Birdie/Eagle level: Inhale and lower the legs to the right, exhale as you bring your legs back to center. Switch sides and repeat five to ten times.

Tip: initiate the movement from your oblique abdominals.
Dynamic Spinal Rotation

2: Dynamic Chest Opener On The Ball
Dynamic Chest Opener On The Ball

This pose will stretch the chest muscle that pulls the arms down through the golf ball, providing power and support increased shoulder flexibility from the backswing to the follow-through.

All levels: Roll onto the ball supporting your head. Engage your glutes and lift your lower body parallel to the floor. Clasp your hands together behind your neck. Inhale as you squeeze the elbows together, exhale opening the arms as wide as possible. Repeat ten times.

3: Dolphin Pose On The Ball With Shoulder Rotation

This pose will increase flexibility in the shoulder turn, reduce the risk of rotator cuff injury and support control of the golf club at the top of the backswing.

All levels: Bring your upper arm to the ball and hands together. Place the upper body parallel to the floor. Focus on the stretch in the shoulders. Relax your neck. Inhale and roll onto the left shoulder and left ear. Exhale and return to center. Switch sides and repeat five times in each direction. 
Dolphin Pose On The Ball With Shoulder Rotation

4: Core Conditioning
Core Conditioning

This pose will create stabilization of trunk and core muscles. This enables more speed in the downswing, which ultimately creates more power at impact.

Par level: Place the arms over the head at a fortyfive degree angle with the yoga block between the hands. If you do not have a block, clasp the hands together. Press the navel and ribcage to the floor. Focus on stabilizing your core as you lift one foot, one inch off the floor.

Birdie/Eagle level: Lift both legs off the floor, extending the left leg three inches off the floor and bring the right leg to a ninety-degree angle. Exhale and switch sides repeating ten times.

5: Extended Table Pose
Extended Table Pose

This pose creates balance that supports awareness of weight distribution and facilitates an increased focus on this group of important golf muscles. This pose strengthens the back core muscles, leg, hip, shoulders and glute muscles benefiting your entire golf swing. Begin on all fours placing the hands under the shoulders and spread the fingers wide.

Par Level: Extend the right leg & left arm. Hold for five breaths. Switch sides.

Birdie/Eagle level: Extend the leg to the right and the arm to the left. Hold for three more breaths. Switch sides.

6: Modified Cobra Pose

This pose strengthens the lower back, which supports a consistent spine angle for good golf posture and a repeatable swing pattern.

All levels: Place the hands next to the chest spreading the fingers wide, elbows hugging the sides of the body. Inhale deeply as you press the tops of the feet to the floor; squeeze the legs and glutes together. Exhale and lift the chest off the floor. Repeat five times. 

Modified Cobra Pose

7: QuadHip Flexor Stretch With The Balance Ball
QuadHip Flexor Stretch With The Balance Ball

This pose stretches the hip flexors and psoas muscles, which enables good extension in finish position of the golf swing. Also, flexible quads create ease of movement throughout the golf swing.

All levels: Begin by stabilizing the ball against the wall. Place the top of your right foot against the ball and your right knee on the floor. Place a towel under your knee. Slide your left leg forward, draw your navel towards your spine and tuck the pelvis under. Inhale deeply and on the exhalation press the top of your right foot into the ball as you focus on increasing the angle of the heel to the glute. Relax the muscles, repeat five to ten times and switch sides.


8: Postround Tip

This pose is great to off set fatigue after a round of golf. It creates relaxation and restores your tired legs for your next round of great golf!

All levels: Bring the glutes as close as possible (while keeping the hips on the floor) to the base of a chair or wall. Roll the legs up the back of the chair. Rest in this pose for three to five minutes.

Postround Tip

EDITORS NOTE: Golf Fitness Magazine is the only national consumer publication dedicated to golf-specific fitness, mental focus, and improving ability, performance and health among all golfers. Our priority is to maximize your potential, lower your scores, reduce your risk of injury, and extend your golfing years. Each issue has departments dedicated to men, women, seniors, and juniors along with tips, advice and simple exercise routines from GFM’s team of experts. If you want to improve your golf game, and hit the ball farther, click here for special offers on a subscription so you can have all this and more in-depth advice delivered right to you! Get cutting edge fitness & mental tips sent to your inbox each month with our FREE golf performance eNewsletter, Shape Your Game. To contact our Senior Editor, Publisher or Online Editor with questions or comments, please visit our web site golffitnessmagazine.com for more information.