Folks who are keen on improving sports performance generally cross-train. I find it interesting that golfers are an exception. Perhaps this is because golf is considered a game rather than a sport as it doesn’t require exceptional cardiovascular endurance or muscular strength to perform acceptably. However, whether game or sport, golf requires coordination, kinesthetic awareness, and balanced biomechanics for a consistently low handicap. To improve, you have to do more than golf.
First, a little explanation to help sway you toward a daily commitment:
The joints of our body enjoy optimal efficiency, both in range of motion and muscular effort when correctly aligned. Many joints from the ground up to your hands can affect your takeaway, the most important of which might be your lumbar spine, or lower back. Electromyographical studies show that the biggest difference between amateur and pro golfers is the degree of rotation in the lumbar spine during takeaway. Improved lumbar rotation translates to increased distance between clubhead and ball on takeaway. The result is greater velocity and speed of your club head as it strikes the ball.
A correctly aligned lumbar spine has a slight inward curve called lordosis. The degree of rotation dramatically improves when the lumbar spine is gently concave rather than flat as is the case of a low back that is stacked on top of a pelvis and hips wrapped in restricted musculature. Many people are restricted in the hips and legs from too much sitting and not enough exploration of range of motion in these joints. The muscles of the legs and hips largely govern the degree of lordosis one has in the lumbar spine. Stretching these area frees up the spine’s ability to rotate, thereby improving function and minimizing likelihood of injury or strain.
Please follow the instructions in the video in the post from October 13. I’ve only demo’d one side for each pose, so you’ll have to pause to do the other side. Make sure you anchor movement to your breath. If you live in the Comox Valley, please also visit edentherapy.ca for private instruction and massage therapy to keep your muscles and joints working optimally.
Stretching the legs and hips frees up the back to allow it to rotate optimally, thereby increasing your takeaway. The greater your takeaway, the more you increase the club head velocity and speed. The benefit of incorporating yoga into your golf training regimen is largely for the sake of function and injury prevention. However, as the foundation of a yoga practice is integration of the whole body grounded in breath, body intelligence improves, ability to focus and concentrate expands, and with a more balanced nervous system, you are less likely to become unhinged when your ball flies into that magnetic lake. Happy golfing!