In case you missed Part 1 of this series, I discussed mobility exercises that directly effect the thoracic spine. The focus of this post will address how mobility exercises can help achieve proper hip internal and external rotation during a golf swing.
In review, we look at Bubba Watson below for an example of proper should separation and hip rotation.
Inversely, if there is not proper hip internal and external rotation it may alter the biomechanics of the swing. The body will adapt to the path of least resistance, and your swing may end up like Charles Barkley.
I think we are all tired of Barkley’s antics on the golf course, and by now, you would think he could afford some lessons from a pro. Take a look at Barkley’s take away (backswing). If you notice the front knee collapsing during the back swing, it could be an adaptation of the body due to poor front hip internal rotation. Again, poor hip mobility may lead to poor mechanics. Furthermore, proper hip internal rotation allows for the thoracic spine to rotate at a greater range of motion without relying on rotation of the lumbar. If there is too much lumbar rotation it can be a mechanism for injury and lead to chronic low back pain.
With that being said, implementing hip mobility exercises into your exercise regimen can directly effect a golfer’s ability to get proper thoracic rotation without sacrificing lumbar spine rotation. Below are a few videos that can help achieve hip internal and external rotation.
When addressing hip external rotation, consider these next two mobility exercises for lengthening the adductors.
The video below is a walking high knee pull with hip internal rotation. Just one of many ways to address improving IR of the hip.
Shortly after my baseball career was over and I began coaching, I felt the need to keep the competitive juices flowing. A good friend, Steve McReynolds, opened me up to the idea of long drive golf. Without doing much research, I bought my first long drive club and headed to the range to work on my swing. My baseball background definitely helped, but it also hurt me at the same time (will address biomechanics in a later post). Long story short, I entered my first ReMax Long Drive Championship Qualifier and won the event (398 yard drive). I qualified for the regional event the following day, which if I placed in the top 4, I would qualify for the World Long Drive Championships in Las Vegas. In short, I broke the only club that I had, forcing me to buy a demo club off of a dealer at the event. I ended up making it through and finishing in the top 10, just short of qualifying. I was disappointed with the performance, but at the same time I was pleased considering I had just picked up a club months before.
Now that we have the background out of the way, periodically I will touch on training advice to improve your golf game. Thoracic spine mobility is crucial for allowing proper rotation throughout the golf swing.
When thoracic mobility is not present, problems can occur with rotation of the lumbar spine, increasing the chance of injury. In the picture below you will see Bubba Watson, currently one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour.
As you can see, Bubba gets great shoulder and hip separation in the backswing, which allows him to exceed club head speeds of 140 mph while keeping the lumbar spine in a safe position. Below are some thoracic spine mobility drills that you can implement into your training regimen.
Again, these are mobility drills that may help with deficits that can increase backswing rotation in your golf swing. I recommend implementing these into your warm-up protocol, completing each exercise for 6-8 repetitions. Look for futher posts that detail the shoulder and the hip. Thanks for looking.