Hello golfers, welcome to this weeks tips & tricks. I hope you have had a chance to go and practice on the putting green or golf course following last week’s advice. This week is a bit more about the body and movements that can help you play better golf, hopefully pain free. Hip mobility and strength around that region can be the difference between a powerful, efficient golf swing and a slow, painful golf swing. Lets take a look.
Your hips play a pivotal role in the golf swing. Learning to use them properly can lead to both better shots and fewer injuries. However, getting the most out of your hips requires optimal mobility.
The biggest gear in the whole sequence of the golf swing is the hips. They’re where the most energy can be either converted into the upper body or lost. And for most people, it’s the latter, because we sit all day in the car and at home, and the hips have become stable joints.
If the hips rotate less than they should, the lower back is forced to compensate with rotation. It must also absorb excess stress and torque that should be absorbed by the hips, which can cause discomfort. This issue is compounded if you are also lacking in mobility in the upper back, which will further tax the hips.
If the thoracic spine and the hips don’t move well, the lower back becomes a pain sandwich in between. This is why, according to one study, lower back issues account for 25 percent of all golf injuries, though incidence rates of up to 54 percent have been reported.
As you lift your golf club to initiate your backswing, you internally rotate your back hip as the hips close. As you move through your downswing and follow-through to your finish, you internally rotate the front hip as both hips open toward the target. But for the entirety of the golf swing, the hips should be moving primarily around the central axis of your body. There should be no exaggerated lateral movement of the hips during the swing. This is known as sway or slide. If your hips sway or slide, it is likely you lack mobility.
Take a look at the following video and try to replicate the exercises for increased hip mobility. There are four exercises but there are many more out there. You can find more hip strengthening and mobility exercises online but this could be a good starting point. Whenever I go to play golf I go to the changing rooms and perform some of these exercises to wake up my hips. Try to do them for ten seconds on each side. You should feel a pull through the glutes and hip flexors for all of them. The more you perform them, the easier they will get. If your hips flexors or glutes are tight you will know about it when you perform some of these stretches.
You have to use your hips in the golf swing. If you struggle with hip mobility or strength do some work on it. See a physio or a personal trainer if you can so they can advise and help you face to face. The guys at TRAX Performance are great. Even if you do have limited hip mobility there is still hope for you. I work with golfers everyday that have different physical limitations and we find ways for them to play better golf based on their physical ability.
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See you soon!