Performance coach Nicola Jane Hobbs suggests a range of simple and effective poses to help you achieve a powerful and consistent golf swing.
A powerful golf swing relies on flexibility, balance and core strength. This means that in order to hit longer drives or swing fewer strokes you need to create a stronger and more supple body. Using yoga is the ideal way to build strength in the core and mobility in the limbs using nothing more than your own bodyweight.
Making yoga a regular part of your golfing routine will give you a greater dynamic range of motion, reduce swing faults, and decrease your risk of injury as your flexibility increases. As your balance and core strength improves through consistent yoga practise, you will develop reliability in your golf swing and be able to generate more accuracy at the same time as increasing distance through a quicker club head speed.
Nicola Jane Hobbs suggests the following yoga postures focus on the lower body – the source of your swing power. They work by strengthening the glutes and opening the hips which will transfer stability and power up the trunk, shoulders and arms and into your swing.
Down dog stretches the backs of the legs as well as opening the shoulders and creating mobility in the upper back.
1. Begin on all fours on your hands and knees and hook your toes under. Slowly straighten your legs to push your bottom to the sky so you are in an upturned V shape. Check your hands are shoulder width and your feet are hip distance apart.
2. Refine the pose by making sure your arms are straight and pulling up your knee caps to engage the front of your thighs. Pull your shoulders away from your ears and look back between your legs.
3. Exit the pose by bending your knees to the floor.
Up Dog is a gentle back bend that stretches the front of the body while strengthening the back of it.
1. Begin lying on your front and bring your palms back to rest either side of your chest. Squeeze your bottom and slowly straighten your arms to lift your chest. Straighten your legs by pulling up on your knee caps and push the tops of your feet into the floor to lift your hips.
2. Refine the pose by rolling your shoulders back and away from your ears to open your chest. Engage the backs of your arms to keep your elbows straight and attempt to scrub your hands backwards. Keep the fronts of your thighs engaged by pulling up on your knee caps and keep your bottom firm to release any tightness in the fronts of your hips.
3. Release the pose by slowly lowering your chest back down to the ground or lifting your hips and rolling over your toes to Down Dog.
Triangle pose is a great full body stretch and helps to bring your awareness to any muscles that feel particularly tight. Like with all standing postures, it also strengthens and tones the core to build stability.
1. Begin in a wide stance with your toes facing forwards and then turn your left foot in about 30 degrees and right foot out 90 degrees. Spread your arms so they are parallel to floor and use the Bracing Sequence to stabilise your pelvis and ground you.
2. On an exhalation reach over your right leg, hinging from your hips, before bringing your right hand to take hold of your shin, ankle, or big toe. Look up to the fingertips of your left hand. With each inhalation stretch from fingertip to fingertip, and with each exhalation rotate your chest open to the sky by drawing your shoulder blades together.
3. To exit the pose, engage your core and float back to centre as you inhale. Reverse your feet and repeat to the left.
Pigeon opens the hips and releases tension from the lower back. Some people feel a stretch in their inner thigh whilst others feel it in the outside of the buttock of the bent leg.
1. Begin on all fours and bring your right knee to the outside of your right wrist. Take hold of your right foot and bring your toes to meet your left wrist so your shin is horizontal in front of you. Hook your left toes under and lift your left knee back until you find your edge and feel your hips open.
2. Stay here to allow gravity to stretch the hips or fold forwards into Sleeping Pigeon laying your chest on your shin and reaching your arms in front of you.
3. To exit the pose, lift back to Pigeon Pose, hook your left toes under and lift yourself back to Down Dog. Repeat with the left leg bent in front.
Golf can cause slight imbalances in our body which may be anything from a slight curve to the spine to a stronger swinging arm. Symmetrical poses like Butterfly help to bring the body back into balance, specifically in the hips and the pelvis.
1. Begin seated and bring the soles of your feet together with your heels about a foot distance from your groin. Fold forwards, allowing your spine to round. Gently keep hold of your toes or rest your hands in front of you.
2. Focus on relaxing the muscles in your hips and thighs by visualising your knees sink closer to the floor.
3. Exit the pose by rolling back to seated. Bring your hands to the outside of your thighs and bring your knees together. Outstretch your legs in front of you to counter pose.
Nicola Jane Hobbs
Nicola is a qualified yoga teacher and performance coach. She speciailises in teaching yoga to athletes and sports teams to help them improve their physical fitness and generate a performance mindset.