19 Aug 2015 The Reformer – Secret Weapon for Golfers
I have recently taken up golf at a local club. My husband and I have taken 10 lessons together with a PGA professional golfer.
Until 10 weeks ago, the closest I had come to a golf course was the Adventure Golf Course in Wimbledon and a few hours of tuition a couple of years ago on holiday. I would not consider myself an expert at all and I clearly have many years of practice and tuition ahead of me.
Having said that, my PGA instructor has given me some hope. He tells me that technically I have a very good swing; I have mobility and flexibility to ensure the correct amount of spinal rotation, flexion, lateral flexion and extension required for a swing. That is the technical side – my accuracy in hitting that tiny little ball has some way to go!
But it has made me consider why I have adapted to this move relatively easily. I do find the swing smooth and my body moves effortlessly from one joint movement to the next. As a teacher of movement, I have an understanding of the body that helps and Pilates has increased my body awareness tremendously over the years.
Why? The benefits for golfers practising Pilates have been in the press over the years, especially with the names of celebrities like Tiger Woods giving it a higher profile. What makes Pilates special and different from other forms of exercise?
I turned my attention of the Reformer and other pieces of studio equipment that Joseph Pilates designed and created. That in itself amazes me – what a talent! Joseph Pilates did not have a design team to help him – he looked at the body and asked what a body needs to move well? And from that, he built these fantastic pieces of apparatus that today still resemble his exact originals.
Why did he choose springs? I am so glad he did because it enables us to create and explore the beautiful spirals and rotations that the body craves. The springs act like our muscles – that contract and release, lengthen and shorten depending on the activity we are doing. What better sensory awareness can we give the body? Unlike the weights in a gym which are solid and unresponsive, the springs talk to you, they move with you.
The studio apparatus enables us to escape from linear movement patterns and move with fluidity and grace. Our daily lives are filled with linear patterns – we sit in cars or at desks pretty much most of the day. When do we get the opportunity to explore the new realms of rotation and spirals? Brent Anderson of Polestar Pilates refers to the concept Sagittal Beasts – people who move predominately on the Sagittal plane of movement – flex and extend, flex and extend and flex and extend. That’s it.
Are you a Sagittal Beast who wants to play golf or tennis at the weekend? I am convinced that my regular Pilates sessions have given me this natural ease with which I approached golf. If you are a Sagittal Beast, the great news is that you can change that! Get on a Reformer, try it out. Allow the body to feel what it is like to move in and out of a spiral, to find natural balance and grace. You won’t look back and maybe your scorecard will go down!