Maximum Performance Week 1


This week I was with the PGA TOUR and The Golf Channel at the Shell Houston Open. Standing on the practice tee the differences in the way professionals and amateurs practice is clearly evident. We can assume that the way they strike the ball is so superior to most amateurs (I include myself in all these revelations!) but the focused manner in which they practice is astounding. For example watching Aaron Baddley, Mike Weir and KJ Choi you can see the intensity in their focus and the daily commitment to their sport.
I can appreciate that not all professionals and amateurs have the same devotion (this too was evident on the practice tee as some of the players hit balls with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths) but I would like you to consider that the smallest amount of effort will reap big rewards. The next eight week program will take us through a simple and effective golf specific performance program designed to strengthen the body and mind.
This series is based on a program I entitled Eight Pillars to Maximum Performance. They are as follows:
I. Breathing ' A direct correlation to performance.
II. Flexibility ' Yoga based conditioning based on varying approaches
  • Dynamic
  • Static
  • Active elongation
    III. Strength ' Sport specific yoga based strength training
  • Explosive conditioning
    IV. Balance - a progressive, dynamic balance conditioning sequence
    V. Core stability / Energy management ' Using the pelvic floor
  • Core stabilization and core strengthening
  • The complete core of the body
  • Connecting the two locks for stabilization in the golf swing.
    VI. Proper posture ' The Foundation of a good golf swing
    VII. One-pointed concentration / Moving inward
  • The power of the mind
  • The typical golfers inner dialogue
    VIII. More Enjoyment of the game!
    Regardless of your existing fitness level you will benefit from this eight week program. I will describe modifications for each pose. For this program, you will need 30 minutes, four days a week and the following equipment:
    • Balance Ball or Stability ball ' The ball facilitates core stabilization exercises.

    • Power Swing Trainer (for building strength and to assist in the flexibility conditioning phase of the program)

    • Yoga mat

    • Two large bath towels
    Note: All of the equipment used in this program can be purchased at If you do not have the equipment, I will suggest alternative ways to execute the poses.
    This week begins with the first of the eight pillars - breathing. Before you begin this week's exercises please refer to the article on breathing dated March 10th, 2006. The article provides information and exercises on the fundamentals for deep, diaphragmatic breathing.
    Seated twist on a chair or the ball:

    Yoga for Golfers

    Sit as tall as possible and draw the navel towards the spine as you extend the arms to the side at shoulder height. Initiate the twist to the right from the core of the body on the exhalation and return to the starting position on the inhalation. Repeat ten times in each direction.
    Yoga for Golfers

    Now place the left hand on the outside of the right knee (use your right hand placed behind you as leverage to lengthen your spine). Inhale as you engage the navel towards the spine and twist on the exhalation. Repeat ten times and switch sides.
    Standing chest opener pose:

    Yoga for Golfers

    Stand with the feet wider than hip width apart, bend the knees and draw the navel towards the spine to support the core. Bring the hands together behind the back or use a towel if your hands do not connect. Inhale deeply and roll the shoulders back, chest forward on the exhalation. Repeat ten times. Do not arch your back!
    Extended side angle pose:

    Yoga for Golfers

    Place the left foot forward approximately four to five feet and revolve the right leg and foot inward. Bring the left elbow to the left knee and lift out of the left shoulder. Extend the right arm towards the ceiling and on your exhalation revolve the ribcage towards the ceiling. Focus on the extension of the ribcage and the stretch in the intercostals.
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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 or visit