Programming Note: See you this week on The Golf Channel! I will be giving you fitness tips on The Turn Monday night at 10:00 PM ET.
Welcome to the fourth week in this series targeting common swing flaws. During this series we examine various swing flaws, the physical restrictions contributing to swing flaws and the solutions!
Lets recap from last week....One of the most common swing flaws I see, particularly in higher handicap golfers is coming over the top. This occurs when the upper body controls the swing leaving the lower body behind and the club head is thrown outside towards the inside swing path.
The lower body needs to participate in the kinetic link of the golf swing. If the golfer cannot get the lower body initiated, specifically in the downswing phase of the golf swing, the upper body will take over. Additionally good balance is important if you want to stop coming over the top.
As you know I am a big believer in the balance ball. This week and in coming weeks we incorporate the Golf Gym Balance Ball which is available on our website at www.YogaForGolfers.com.
Core stabilization pose:
Prep: extend the arms so they are perpendicular to the body, knees bent and feel flat on the floor.
Par Level: Inhale deeply and on your exhalation press your navel AND ribcage against the floor. Hold for five breaths, relax and repeat three times until you feel you are able to hold this position and breath smoothly for five breaths.
While you maintain this action in the core lift the right leg ONE INCH off the floor without moving the core. Lower the leg and switch sides. Repeat ten times.
Birdie / Eagle Level: Inhale deeply and on the exhalation continue to press the ribcage and navel towards the floor. Extend the left leg a couple of inches off the floor and bring the right leg to a ninety degree angle. On your next exhalation switch legs. Repeat ten times.
Oblique Strengthening pose:
This core conditioning exercise facilitates the required explosive movement of the oblique abdominals. Form and the quality of the movement is more important than speed. Practice this pose slowly and when you feel you have mastered the movement add the speed component.
With the knees bent and navel pressed towards the floor, clasp the hands together at chest height. Inhale deeply and on the exhalation twist the torso over the right knee. Switch sides and repeat ten times in each direction.
Abdominal Crunches on the Balance Ball:
Roll the body down on the ball until the ball is under the lumbar spine. Press the navel towards the spine and curl the torso as if to create the letter C. Place the hands behind the head, supporting the neck. On your inhale lower the body slowly without arching the back. Exhale and lift the upper body focusing on the entire abdominal section. Repeat twenty-five times, rest for one minute and repeat three times or until muscle fatigue.
Forearm Plank pose:
Eagle Level: I practice this pose everyday! Place the forearms directly under the shoulder, spreading the fingers as wide as possible. Begin on the knees and DRIVE your navel towards your spine. DO NOT allow your back to slope down towards the floor. Extend one leg at a time and hold the pose for ten deep breaths. Relax and repeat. Eventually you will work up to the push-up position on the forearms, holding the pose for three minutes at a time.
In these photos I use a foam roller placed under my shoulder blades. If you do not have a foam roller place a rolled up bath towel under your shoulders or delete using the towel altogether.
Resting on your left shoulder bring your legs to a ninety degree angle to your body. Bring the palms together. Inhale deeply and on your exhalation open the upper body by bringing the right arm to the floor. Inhale and return to the starting position. Repeat this dynamic spinal rotation ten times and switch sides.
TIP: Try to keep the knees together throughout this stretch sequence.
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.