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Healthy Hamstrings Will Improve Your Golf Game





The game of golf can be like a meditative experience. The vast blue sky and uninterrupted greens and trees encourage a oneness with nature. And then there is the hushed silence and concentration required as the player executes their swing from start to finish. Unfortunately, one barrier to the strong and smooth follow-through of that swing is tight hamstrings. Just as in seated meditation, tight hamstrings will break one's concentration!

Yoga exercises that stretch and strengthen muscles specifically improve the health of the shoulder, leg, core and arms. For now, let's focus on the role of the hamstrings as applied to golf, particularly on hamstring flexibility.

Hamstrings

The primary work of the three muscles that comprise the hamstrings is to flex (bend) the knee, and extend the hip joint. The hamstrings, located in the back of the thigh, are also involved in internal as well as external rotation of the leg. Flexibility in the hamstrings will provide you improved range of motion in the hips. Therefore tightness in this area will limit your range of motion while executing all three phases of the golf swing: back, forward and follow-through.

Westerners spend an inordinate amount of our time sitting. As we eat meals, in school from first grade throughout school, driving or riding in cars, and most likely at work time-our primary posture is seated. Consequently our hamstrings are shortened and inactive in chairs. Try this: loop a rubber band around your thumb and first fingers. Picture the rubber band as your hamstrings. When those fingers are bent (like our knees), the rubber band is lax and limp. When you straighten the fingers, the rubberband is stretched, a position our hamstrings do not typically experience.

The upper hamstrings are attached to the bottom of our pelvic bones, aptly referred to as our "sits" bones. As mentioned earlier, short, inflexible hamstrings can also lead to hip pain, and through a chain reaction in our bodies, contribute to lower back pain, another common issue for golfers (well, almost everyone!). The strong and flexible action of your hips and lower back are an essential ingredient for integrated action of the golf swing. Keying in on hamstring flexibility will improve that action.

Achieving Hamstring Flexibility

Steady practice of simple hamstring stretches to increase flexibility is a must for most golfers. It is always preferred to stretch every day, for 5-10 minutes, than to expect results as a "weekend warrior".

Reclined leg stretches are a tried and true method of opening the hamstrings as well as increasing strength and flexibility of the hips. A yoga strap, or even a men's necktie can be used to increase the sensation of stretch.

The famous downward facing dog pose can be practiced with hands on the floor or the wall. Down dog stretches the hamstrings and also provides a wonderful release in the spine. You can use a beginners yoga DVD to learn simple poses like this to increase your flexibility. Self massage will also provide a release of lingering tightness in the back or hamstrings.

Increase your hamstring flexibility for a multitude of benefits on the golf course!
About Author Bonnie Golden :

Bonnie Golden is a Certified Yoga Tune Up® Teacher. Visit <a href="http://www.yogatuneup.com" target="_blank">http://www.yogatuneup.com</a> for yoga exercises that help you live better in your body!


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Article Added on Wednesday, June 29, 2011
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