I’m always looking for new ways to, not only help myself, but also to help my students increase strength, mobility and flexibility. I’ve recently discover that using a Pilates reformer is a more effective way of increasing flexibility, strength and stability for golf than traditional, free weights and machines and static stretches.
Invented by Pilates founder Joseph Pilates, the reformer has a flat platform you lay or sit on, called the carriage, which rolls back and forth with resistance from springs. The springs provide different levels of resistance to not only strengthen but lengthen muscles. The instability of the rolling carriage along with the resistance provided by the springs provides all kinds of stability challenges that develop core strength and promote better balance.
Most men may think Pilates is for dancers or women because of some of the exercises are called ‘mermaid’ and ‘swan dive’, but they may want to reconsider after they have been taken through a battery of exercises that not only lengthens tight muscles, but helps improve overall strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance.
I’ve enlisted the help of my personal Pilates instructor Patrea Aeschliman, owner of 15 to Fit Pliates Studio, to show us one of the best exercises to increase mobility in the thoracic spine. This is one area where most of my students lack mobility. We typically don’t rotate the t-spine during normal day activity but we need the t-spine to rotate fully during the golf swing to complete the backswing and unwind on the downswing.
Here we demonstrate the ‘mermaid’ exercise on the reformer that focuses on increasing mobility in the t-spine, shoulders, obliques and low back.
Patrea renamed the exercise ‘merman’ to make it sound more manly.
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