The importance of recovery and rest

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First and foremost, I consider myself a teacher and coach. I have trained coaches and players and have trained teachers from all over the world on how they can facilitate peak performance in their athletes.

Whether in sports or business, the foundation of my methodology is balance. Balance is an essential component for maximum performance. Many of us strive for more balance – in our golf swing and in our daily lives. In golf when we are out of balance it is glaringly apparent. We struggle, nothing seems to go our way and as much as we try to shape our shots it doesn’t work, no matter how hard we try. When we are on the golf course we instinctively know when we are in balance. Our swing feels effortless, we hit the sweet spot perfectly, the ball’s trajectory is exactly how we imagined it in our minds.

In general most golf fitness programs focus on building strength, endurance, speed and flexibility – all key components to a comprehensive golf fitness program. However we must devote part of our time to creating a balanced program which includes recovery and rest. When we include recovery techniques we reduce the physical and psychological stresses from golf and we begin to maximize the full benefits of our workouts.

Post-round stretching helps the musculoskeletal system recover for the taxing physical effects of golf, reduces the onset of soreness and the risk of injury. The term “restorative” refers to the body’s ability to restore itself to our original, healthy condition. If you experience aches and pains in the lower extremities after your round, find it difficult to play more than one day a week because of pain in the back, hips, knees and ankles the following exercises are perfect for you.

Guidelines for success:

  • Once you get into the pose simply relax. Use gravity, not your muscles to move deeper into the stretch.
  • Breathe deeply, in and out through the nose. Feel your body releasing tension with each exhalation.
  • Hold each pose for three to five minutes.
  • Slight discomfort as the muscles stretches is acceptable, pain is not. If you feel pain, come out of the pose.
  • Support your head and neck by placing a towel or pillow under your head.
  • Use this time to practice visualization, to train the subconscious mind.
  • If possible practice these poses before you go to sleep. During sleep our bodies are in a state of healing and regeneration.
Supine Spinal Twist

Golf benefit: Reduces soreness in the lumbar spine, hips and trunk. Increases range of motion in the trunk for more shoulder turn. This pose supports the range of motion in the low back and passively stretches the intercostals.

Lie on your back with the arms perpendicular to the body, bend the knees and bring the heels close to the buttocks. Cross the right leg over the left and move your hips slightly to the right. Allow the knees to fall to the left, resting the knees on your yoga block or two to three rolled up towels. Keep the right shoulder connected to the floor. Measure the height of the towels by the intensity of the twist. For less intensity raise the number of towels under your knees. You should feel a gentle stretch in the low back, hips, ribcage and chest.

Supine Spinal Twist

Supported Bridge Pose with a Block

Golf benefit: Stretches the hip flexors, quads and abdominals, supports better posture and a full finish position.

Lie on your back, knees bent with the heels close to the glutes. Draw the navel towards the spine and lift the hips up. Place a block or two to three towels under the tailbone. Be sure the towel is placed on the sacrum and NOT under the mid-back. Place the arms perpendicular to the body, palms facing up. Allow the body to rest on the towels.


Legs Up the Wall

Golf benefit: Relieves tension in the low back, knees and feet, reducing swelling and joint pain, specifically in the lower extremities.

Par Level: Place the legs on the seat of a chair (no photo)

Birdie Level: Place the legs up the wall

Eagle Level: Place the legs up the wall and bring the soles of the feet together for a deep groin stretch.

Lie on your back and bring the left glute as close to the wall as possible. Turn the body so the hamstrings are facing the wall and allow the legs to rest on the wall or on the seat of the chair. If the legs are on the wall the hips should be on the floor and not elevated. Place the arms next to the body, palms facing up.

Legs up the Wall

Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of www.KRFlexFit.com and www.YogaForGolfers.com has over 20 years of experience in golf specific fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at Katherine@KRFlexFit.com