By Luke Greenwell, PT, DPT, CSMT, CSCS
As Golf season is fully underway up here in the Midwest, I am going to be putting out a series of golf blog posts related to the topics of mobility and performance. In this article, we are talking about Hip Mobility in the Golf Swing. As a golfer, we have all been told how important it is to have good hip mobility in order to have an optimal and sustainable golf swing.
Hip mobility refers to the ability of the hip joint to move through its full range of motion. Limited hip mobility can lead to multiple issues through the whole chain including but not limited to: reduced range of motion, decreased power, and an increased risk of injury. In this article, we will discuss the importance of hip mobility in golf, the biomechanics of the golf swing, and exercises to improve hip mobility.
Hip Mobility and the Golf Swing
The golf swing is a very complex movement that requires extreme coordination of the entire body. During the swing, the hips play a major role in generating power and transferring energy from the lower body to the upper body. The hips rotate and shift weight during the backswing, storing potential energy that is released during the downswing/impact movement as the hips shift weight to the front foot and rotate towards the target. This movement sequence creates a whip-like effect through the whole chain that generates power and speed, resulting in an efficient, effective, and powerful swing!
Hip mobility is essential for achieving the full range of motion required for an efficient swing. Limited hip mobility can restrict hip rotation, leading to reduced power and accuracy. Restricted hip mobility may also increase the risk of compensatory movement patterns that can lead to injury.
Biomechanics of the Golf Swing
To understand the importance of hip mobility in the golf swing, it is essential to understand the biomechanics of the swing. The golf swing can be broken down into four phases: the address phase, backswing phase, downswing/impact phase, and finish phase.
At Address, the golfer sets up their stance and grip, preparing for the swing.
The Backswing Phase begins with a rotation of the hips and torso, shifting the weight to the back foot. This rotation of the hips is critical for generating power and creating potential energy for the downswing. The backswing is completed with a full shoulder turn and a high, fully extended left arm (for right-handed golfers).
The downswing phase begins with a shift of weight from the back foot to the front foot, followed by a rapid rotation of the hips towards the target. This rotation creates a whip-like effect, generating speed and power as the club head makes contact with the ball.
The finish phase completes the swing, with a rotation of the hips and torso towards the target, maintaining balance and momentum.
The Importance of Hip Mobility in Golf
Hip mobility is essential for generating power and transferring energy from the lower body to the upper body during the swing. Limited hip mobility can restrict hip rotation, leading to a loss of power and accuracy. Restricted hip mobility may also increase the risk of compensatory movement patterns that can lead to injury.
Improving Hip Mobility for Golf
Improving hip mobility for golf requires a targeted exercise program that addresses the specific mobility requirements of the golf swing. The following exercises can help improve hip mobility for golfers.
Hip rotations are a fundamental exercise for improving hip mobility. To perform hip rotations, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with back to wall 6 inches away. From there, with hands on opposite shoulders, rotate hips without moving upper body and touch buttocks to wall.
Lunges to Thoracic Opening
Lunges are a dynamic exercise that can help improve hip mobility and leg strength. To perform lunges with rotation, Lunge forward with right foot until left knee reaches ground. From there rotate your right hand towards the ceiling until deep stretch is felt. Repeat
3. Optimal Golf Warm Up
It’s imperative to have a great golf warm-up that replicates the mobility, stability, and dynamics of the golf swing. If you’re looking for a great warm-up routine, check out this one. It is even great to add as a daily mobility routine. Ultimate Golf Warm Up Routine
I know there are thousands of additional golf mobility drills that you can find online, but I thought I would start you with the basics and then you can add on from there. If you want additional information on how to improve your mobility through the golf swing, check out our YouTube Channel and go to our Golf Specific Exercises area.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check out our other blogs!