Building a Better Game From Head to Toe Week Six

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In the golf swing the gluts and hips support a solid foundation for stability in the lower body as well as the source for power and distance in your swing. Strength and flexibility in the hips supports the loading and acceleration phase of the golf swing. The ability to access power from your gluts is a direct correlation of proper flexibility in the hip flexors, quadriceps, psoas and glut muscles.
 
In addition, low back discomfort originates from shortened hip flexors and tight hamstrings (more on hamstrings next week). Another common problem effecting effective hip function is when a golfer over trains his or her abdominals without the balance of erector spine strengthening muscles. Although it is important to build a strong core (see last weeks article) the balance of the front and back body is critical.
 
In one of our yoga poses this week I ask you to move deeper, body and mind. The bound angle pose against the wall offers you a place to allow gravity to move you deeper into the pose. I ask you to relax and breathe into the stretch vs. using your muscular strength to push harder. My own experiences, in addition to the athletes I work with, prove the benefits of this style of static stretching.
 
Quads / Gluts / Hip Flexors / Psoas poses:
 
Golf benefit: Stretching the hip flexors enables greater extension in the swing and allows the gluts to engage, generating more power, club head speed and distance in your swing.
 
Health benefit: Decreases the onset of low back pain caused by spinal compression from the golf swing, sitting for extended periods of time or riding in the golf cart.
 
Here we go!
 
PAR Level:
Articulating hip lifts:
Bend your left knee placing your left foot on the floor. Extend your right leg, arms parallel to your body. Inhale, as you prepare for the exercise, exhale as you lift your left hip off the floor. TIP: Focus on your left glut as you lift the hip off the floor. Imagine the left hip is lifting towards the ceiling. Repeat ten times and switch sides.
 

 
PAR Level:
Dynamic pigeon pose with the balance ball:
Place the left ankle over right knee. Inhale and pull the ball towards you focusing on the stretch in the right glut. Hold for one breath and repeat ten times. Switch sides.
 

 
Bound angle pose at the wall:
Preparation: place your spine against the wall, roll the shoulder back and zip up the lower abdominals. Pull the navel towards your spine and lift the ribcage off the waist.
 
PAR Level:
Soles of the feet are positioned away from the groin.
 

 
BIRDIE / EAGLE Levels:
Pull the feet closer to the groin.
 

 
Hold for one to three minutes.
 
Adductor / abductor window washer stretch:
 
In the supine position, knees bent, place your feet wider than your yoga mat. Inhale and allow your knees to fall to the left. Exhale as you bring your legs back to the starting position. Repeat ten times in each direction and now place your left foot on top of your right knee and hold for five deep breaths. Switch sides again.
 

 
Crescent lunge pose with club:
This pose strengthens the gluts, quads and hamstrings.
 

 
Place the right foot forward, left foot back and lift high onto you left toes. Inhale as you bring you right quad parallel to the floor. Inhale as you lower your quad towards the floor, exhale as you bring you right leg to the starting position. Repeat ten times and switch sides. TIP: Pull your navel towards your spine, maintaining an upright upper body posture.
 

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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.