Hip Flexibility for Greater Distance!
by Chris Ownbey
The importance of Sport-specific fitness has been well established. Golf is no different. Over the past decade the best players in the world have improved their performance by improving their bodies. These guys have bought in to the notion that golf-specific fitness can help improve golf performance and most importantly prevent injury.
Golf swings come in many tempos, paths, planes and angles, but one of the biggest issues that robs us of power and distance is the lack of internal and external hip rotation. The key to distance in golf is generated by early hip rotation.
How do your hips work in the golf swing?
For a right handed golfer the right hip needs to be able to rotate properly from take away to the top of the back swing in order to make a proper weight shift to the right side and to get behind the ball. Often times a golfer will compensate by lifting up during the backswing (loss of posture) and then chop down on the downswing.
At impact, and to the follow through position of the golf swing the right handed golfer needs a proper amount of hip rotation in the left hip in order to post or finish properly, if rotation is limited we will often times see a “slide” toward the ball. Both of these swing faults are the effect of the physical limitations which cause the inconsistent shots, and loss of distance.
Interestingly, golfers are suffering from a greater risk of hip injury today. With sitting for longer periods of time at work, old injuries, and just getting older comes a gradual loss of hip flexibility.
The following are examples of golf-specific exercises to improve hip flexibility, and add distance to your game.
Great stretch which for the hips, lower back, hamstrings, thighs--you'll find in doing this stretch that it will help wherever you are tightest.
Sit as pictured above with 90 degree angles to hips, knees, and feet, so back calf is parallel to front foot, and front calf is parallel to back thigh and foot (hence the name "90-90", right angles everywhere.) Two directions of stretch will be out over the front knee (hold for 10 seconds) and then to the side . Then switch to the other leg and repeat. Make sure, however, that instead of rounding over the knee or foot, you press your chest forward and buttocks away, to maximize the stretch for hips and legs rather than lower back.
The best and most consistent golfers have great rotation in their hips. Golfers can add up to 20 yards to their drive by increasing their flexibility and advancing the timing of their hip rotation. Golf fitness workouts are not any more rigorous and punishing than the game of golf is. They are specifically designed to help create flexibility and strengthen the very muscles used in golf. It’s time to take advantage of the upcoming months to incorporate a Golf Fitness program.
Healthy Body = Healthy Game!
Chris Ownbey is the Director of Golf Fitness for Golden Bear Golf Center in Carrollton Texas. He is a Certified Golf Fitness Instructor through the Titleist Performance Institute.
visit www.chrisownbeygolf.com Or call 214-457-9684