When I mention happy hips what comes to mind? The big secret to more power is just that! When it comes to golf fitness and power in your golf game one simply cannot ignore the hips and be successful. Through my experience that is the biggest trouble spot for most people with their golf game. Particularly here in NYC the hips can be an issue in peoples’ golf game due to excessive sitting. The hips are an integral part of the golf swing and moving them properly for most people is a challenge. Today we’ll take a look at the hips and their role in the swing and discover how we can get them moving better to give you more distance and control.
Before we dive into the importance of the hips let’s first define what it is. The hip as an entity consists of the pelvis and the thigh bone of the femur. Below is a great animated tutorial of hip anatomy and function you may find useful.
HIPS AND THE KINEMATIC SEQUENCE
When we look at the golf swing there are four major players in the kinetic chain that need to move in the proper sequence to maximize efficiency. These four areas are led by the hips, then the thoracic spine, the arms and the club itself. If the hips are limited in their ability to move this proper sequencing will be inhibited which will cause you to attempt and gain movement elsewhere. As an example if you’re limited through your hips to create more movement in your swing you may use your back to create more turn. This type of problem not only can limit your performance but can also lead to injury. To learn more about kinematic sequence basics click here.
We’ve briefly covered what the hip is along with its importance in the golf swing. Now what do we do? There are several foundational movements that will get your hips stronger but how do we get the hips to move better in the first place?
In our latest post we covered what foam rolling is as well as the importance of it in your golf fitness routine. In short, foam rolling will help to increase your overall level of movement. If you’re moving better you in theory should perform better. The video below goes into detail on how to use a foam roller to address the front part of the hip particularly the hip flexors.
To find out more information on foam rolling I highly recommend visiting the following post to find out how this practice if done consistently in your golf fitness routine can have a major impact on your game.
How many times have you stretched before playing a round? I hope the answer is always. I especially hope the answer is always dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is stretching through a given range of motion and has been shown to be safer than static stretching or stretching with a hold (i.e. holding to touch your toes). Dynamic stretching has been proven to a superior way to warm up in preparation for play and the hips are no exception. Review the video below for a great dynamic stretch for the hips you can do daily and/or before you go out and play.
TIME TO MOVE
After you’ve foam rolled and gone through your dynamic warm up sequence it’s now time to transition into your lift(s). Since our topic is hip mobility let’s focus on two primary moves that will allow you to get movement through your hip and develop strength as well. The first is the glute bridge. The glutes according to TPI are the “king muscle” and since we’ve learned the importance of the hips in the golf swing it stands to reason we should be strengthening this muscle. Start by performing 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions as part of your fitness routine a few times a week. Progress the exercise if the initial movement becomes too easy. Below you’ll find multiple glute bridge variations to add to your routine.
The second movement is referred to in the fitness industry as a bird dog. I am a believer in this movement as well for the hips since it not only works the hip through two different joint actions with both flexion and extension it’s dynamic in nature and requires you to control the hip as well. Perform 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions while maintaining a straight lower back.
For more information of how improving your hip movement can positively impact your golf game, click here for additional resources.