It important to keep your hips strong and mobile as part of your golf fitness
The hips are a large ball and socket joint designed for large movements and have the ability to produce powerful forces due to strong gluteal muscles. Using your hips in golf and many other sports is key to generating power. It really is important to keep your hips strong and mobile as part of your golf fitness.
Hip rotation and extension are vital to producing powerful forces in your swing as you fire your hips. To have a fluid swing and play golf efficiently it is important you use the ground forces effectively to achieve balance and speed in your golf game.
Unfortunately most of us spend the working week seated, not using our hip mobility and powerful gluteal and thigh muscles. We spend much time sitting in flexion, the result being tight hips with poor gluteal strength. This lack of movement leads to reduced hip mobility and a stiff upper back. Rotation mobility through the upper body helps create an even more fluid golf swing.
Having strong mobile hips really helps transmit forces from the ground up through the body and upper limbs to generate total body power. Essentially in golf the hips need good extension and internal rotation range of motion to allow the pelvis to rotate efficiently on a stable base. This also allows an effective follow through allowing the chest to stack up towards the target as the back hip provides the driving force. Further up the body can rotate on a stable lower body producing strong rotational forces from the ground up for optimal results in your game.
Many golfers instead of rotating their hips, will try to generate power by sliding their hips and swaying their body to achieve weight transfer. This will often lead to shearing forces across their low back, pelvis and hips, which increases their risk of breakdown and pain significantly.
The pelvis should rotate on top of the hips, this will help develop that rotational power you need in the golf swing. Sway leads to your spine and head moving off centre, it becomes significantly harder for you to return to centre, resulting in poor golf ball contact.
A very common breakdown in your golf swing is for your left knee to collapse in toward the ball and away from your target. This often occurs due to lack of internal rotation in the lead leg as a result the left knee collapses inwards. This leads to taking your club back too flat during the early stages of your backswing. This pulls your body around early, exacerbating a flat swing.
Sometimes you start your golf swing by turning your lower body, however it is important for your lower body to stay quiet during the early stages of your swing. This allows resistance to be built up against the left side of your body. Lead knee collapsing inwards also causes excessive tilting of the pelvis placing greater stress on the lower back.
In golfers who lack good internal rotation of the trail hip, we see the common fault where players do not load the trail leg efficiently. As they turn into the back swing, the trail leg straightens and the right hip rises instead of rotating backwards. The rotation into the hip stretches and loads the trail gluteal muscle to produce power.
The action of the hips and gluteal muscles provide a massive power advantage in the golf swing. When the trail leg straightens, this means the trail leg becomes more inactive and this will place greater strain on the lower back and upper body. Hence the need for good hip rotation to develop the power in the golf swing is vital to efficient and repeatable performance.
Post play it is always important to have a good stretch down to recover muscle function and regain your mobility:
As you can see it is not all about getting strong in the gym for golf. Ensure you get ELASTIC getting those hips and legs moving well, allowing you to use the ground to develop your power through your legs effectively.
It will really benefit your game when you get to the golf course to warm up your hips, we have designed exercises to help rotate your hips and open the front of your hip. This allows a more fluid swing as you will have optimal mobility. Getting your hips and leg mobile help achieves better balance support in your golf game.
Elastic Golf recommends active and dynamic warm up prior to your game, and then to stretch after golf to recover. Train smart and stay healthy and strong.