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Pilates for Golf - Featured Exercises

Hit the ball farther, straighter and more accurately with less chance of injury...


Featured Mat Exercise »
Featured Reformer Exercise »


Featured Mat Exercise for Golfers

This Month: Saw
To increase the rotation of the spine
To stretch the mid and upper back
To increase the mobility of the shoulder blades
To teach pelvic stability

Starting Position

Sit up with the legs straight and open shoulder width apart. Reach the arms out in front of the torso level with the bottom of the sternum. Sit up on the center of the sit bones. If the hamstrings are too tight to sit up straight, roll the mat up and sit on it or bend the knees.

Movement Sequence

Inhale – Rotate the torso to the right and reach the left arm toward the right foot.

Exhale – Engage the abdominals and roll the head and torso forward reaching the left arm toward the little toe on the right foot. Reach the right arm back while medially rotating the shoulder so the palm faces the ceiling.

Inhale – Return to the starting position with the weight centered on the sit bones and the arms out to the sides. Rotate the torso to the left and reach the right arm toward the left foot.

Try reversing the breathing on this exercise by exhaling to roll forward and inhaling to roll back up. Notice how it changes the stretch in the back.


Tight hamstrings: Bend the knees slightly or sit up on a rolled up mat, towel or small pad.

Optimum Form

To keep the pelvis in position as you stretch forward in order to stretch the mid and upper back.


Bend the knees and draw the legs into the chest with the hands behind the knees. Lift the feet off the floor and balance between the tailbone and the sit bones to begin Open Leg Rocker.

Cueing and Imagery

  • Sit up on the very top of the sit bones.
    Your sit bones are a mountaintop, don’t slide down either side.
  • Engage the abdominals to lift the pelvis off the legs.
    Imagine someone is holding your hips and lifting them up.
    Imagine someone is pressing down on the top of your head and reach up to press their hand away
  • Keep the shoulder blades wide as you slide them up and over the rib cage.
    Imagine your shoulder blades are like two curtains that are opening up to reveal the back of your ribcage


For low back and hip injuries: Use the tight hamstring modification to take stress of the low back and hips

For shoulder problems: If the arms are uncomfortable at shoulder height, slide them along the floor as you roll down


Featured Reformer Pilates Exercise for Golfers

This Month: Short Box Abdominals - Round Back and Flat Back

  • Strengthen abdominals
  • Strengthen back extensor muscles (especially in flat back version)
  • Stretch the low back (especially in the round back version)
  • Teach balanced strength between abdominals and back extensors

Equipment Setup:

Springs: All
Footbar Position: No bar
Box: Short
Straps: Ankle Strap
Other: Pole
Prerequisite: Reformer Chariot, Cadillac Roll Backs

Arm Position Variations

Beginner level – Cross arms across chest to decrease challenge

Add challenge – Hold pole level with bottom of sternum, roll back and lift pole up toward ceiling and down to hips three times while maintaining abdominal engagement.

Starting position - Round Back

Sit on short box facing footbar – feet under foot strap. Make sure there is at least 6 inches between back of hips and back edge of box. Hold 3 foot pole or weighted bar level with bottom of sternum with elbows straight.

Bend knees and place feet on standing platform to facilitate torso flexion for clients with tight low backs or hamstrings.

Straighten legs to increase flexibility of hip flexors for clients with looser backs and hamstrings.

For taller clients, box can be placed over shoulder rests, or carriage can be adjusted horizontally with Revo and Legacy to accommodate leg length.

The Exercise - Round Back

  • Exhale to engage the abdominals, lightly engage the gluteals and roll down with a long curve maintaining a slight flexion of the lumbar spine. Inhale with a small sip of air at the bottom of the roll down.
  • Exhale to roll back up
  • Inhale to prepare

Starting position - Flat Back

Same as Round Back

The Exercise- Flat Back

  • Inhale to prepare
  • Exhale to engage abdominals, lightly engage gluteals and lean back maintaining a neutral lumbar curve. Make sure lumbar spine does not change position during exercise.
  • Inhale with a small sip of air at the bottom of exercise
  • Exhale to return to starting position


  • Engage abdominals before legs lower and keep them engaged.
  • Scoop abdominals to begin and don’t let them pop as legs lower
  • Lower legs only as far as back can stay stable throughout exercise
  • Instructor or student can monitor low back position with hands
  • Move legs symmetrically


Osteoporosis – Avoid this exercise.

Low back and sacroiliac joint issues – Avoid if lumbar flexion increases symptoms. Bend the knees to facilitate flexion. Limit the range of motion in the Roll Back if extension increases symptoms.

Neck injuries – Limit range of Roll Back to keep neck symptom free.

Shoulder injuries – Cross arms across chest rather than holding bar, or limit range of motion in shoulders and use a light bar.