Hips Don’t Lie

Why do golfers need to have good hip mobility?

In order to swing the golf club efficiently, it is essential that you have good hip mobility. That’s not to say that people with poor hip mobility can’t be good golfers, it just means they have to compensate somewhere else to swing the club effectively. This usually leads to injuries with the most common one being lower back pain. During the golf swing your hips move anterior and posterior (front to back) and rotate internally and externally. If we can’t move our hips this way it’s going to show up in our golf swing. My job as a Strength and Conditioning Coach is to help you play golf PAIN FREE for as long as possible. When I see someone with poor hip mobility the first I think is, if you don’t fix that, your playing career isn’t going to last that long.

Here are 3 great drills to add to your mobility routine:

Dynamic 90/90 – 5 – 10 Repetitions / Side  

Cues:

  1. Legs create two 90 degree angles
  2. Slowly rotate and resist
  3. Toes pointed up
  4. SLOW
  5. Breathe

Side Lying Side Kicks – 5 – 10 Repetitions / Side

Cues:

  1. Side Lying
  2. Drive knee to the ground / Extend and point heal to the sky
  3. Keep the rest of your body on the ground
  4. Torso active
  5. Breathe

Side Lying Reverse Clam Shells – 5 – 10 Repetitions / Side

Cues:

  1. Side Lying
  2. Knees together
  3. Separate feet while keeping knees together
  4. Purposeful movements
  5. Breathe

Should I be making sure I’m mobile before progressing to strength and power exercises?  

YES! You shouldn’t load a movement pattern if you can’t do that pattern correctly. I like to use the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) screen to give me a good idea of your abilities. Once I understand where the biggest limitation is, that’s where I start. I will use mobility and stability exercises first before progressing to strength and finally power. You should be mobile before strong and strong before powerful. Now if you can find the right recipe and put it all together then you’ll look something like Dustin Johnson. A very mobile person who has tremendous power! He’s also a pretty good golfer who just won the Fed Ex Cup and $15 million dollars!

Should I just start doing these drills or should I warm up? 

I like foam rolling, rubbing or exciting the muscles before doing these drills. No matter what you have at your disposal one of those will work. Depending on how much time you have will determine how much of the body you’d like to focus on. If you have ample time then you should do this to your whole body. If not, I recommend always doing your calves, glutes, hip flexors and t-spine. These drills will circulate blood to the tissue, warm up the tissue and prime the muscle for exercise. Try and do it on one side of your body and perform an exercise. You’ll feel the difference!

Here’s is an example of each to add to your prep:  

Rolling – 5 – 10 Passes/Side

Rubbing – 30 seconds / side

Exciting – 15 – 30 seconds / side

How often should I be doing these type of drills? 

The great part about body weight drills is that you can do them a lot. If not everyday, close to it! I advise my clients to do these drills at home at the end of the day; whether you’re watching television or you’re just hanging out. All you need is a little bit of space. The more that you do these types of drills, the quicker you will improve. 

If you want to play golf for a long time then you should be doing some sort of mobility / recovery program a few times a week at least. This will keep you moving efficiently for as long as possible! 

Will this help my low back pain? 

A lot of times when people experience low back pain it’s because they have tight hips. If they have an anterior tilt (big arch in lower back) there will definitely be extra stress on their lower back. You’ll see people who have S-Posture that suffer from low back pain because their hip flexors are over active and their glutes are under active. By incorporating these types of workouts on a regular basis will assure that you don’t have any extreme muscular imbalances. Another good reason to do hip mobility drills regularly is because we all  tend to sit way too much during our day. Performing activating, mobilizing and stretching exercises in succession will help to keep your hips healthy. 

Have you downloaded my FREE Mobility for Golf e-book? There’s fifteen different drills like the ones above focusing on your ankles, hips and t-spine. 

Another great resource to help you move your hips is my Hip Mobility Program which offers three levels to progress through. It is a great program for a beginner and an advanced exerciser. 

How can I strengthen my hips once they’re mobile?

DEADLIFTS! A lot of golfers are intimidated by deadlifts but they’re so good for you if you can perform them correctly. Any variation will work but I like standard and sumo deadlifts the most. Lunges and bridges are great too and you don’t need a lot of equipment to perform them. If you are looking to strengthen your hips this is a great place to start. Always start with little to no weight and progress appropriately. If you haven’t ever performed a deadlift then my advice is to hire a professional to teach you. You can really hurt yourself if you don’t do these drills with perfect form.

Here are 3 exercises to strengthen your hips:

Deadlift – 5-8 Repetitions

Cues:

  1. Feet hip width apart
  2. Push the ground (weight in the middle of your feet) away and stand up
  3. Knees stay inline with your feet and hips
  4. Hip hinge pattern
  5. Tall spine (Maintain throughout) / Strong torso

Kettlebell Lateral Lunges – 5-8 Repetitions / Side

Cues:

  1. Narrow to large step (wider than shoulder width)
  2. Keep toes forward at all times
  3. Kettlebell or Dumbbell between legs
  4. Trail leg stays straight / Lead knee bends and hips hinge
  5. Tall spine (Maintain throughout) / Strong torso

Single Leg Bridge – 30-60 Seconds / Side

Cues:

  1. Start on your back heels to finger tips
  2. Drive your hips up by squeezing glutes
  3. Lift one leg and keep it inline with your other leg
  4. Strong torso / Squeeze glutes and don’t arch your lower back
  5. Breathe

Should I be doing power drills focusing on my hips?

YES!! Your hips are where we develop and create our power. It is very important to include power drills in your workout regimen. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 68 there should be some kind of power exercises in your program. Obviously, the selection of those drills will take into account your ability, exercise history and past injuries just to name a few.

Here are 3 exercises to develop power in your hips:

180 Jumps – 3 – 5 Repetitions / Side

Cues:

  1. Athletic Position
  2. Rotate and jump aggressively
  3. Land soft and don’t let your knees drive inward
  4. Quick jumps / Pop right back up when you land (Under control)
  5. Load and explode back

Lateral Bounds – 3 – 5 Repetitions / Side

Cues:

  1. Start on one leg with contralateral arms
  2. Small jumps to start but gradually get farther
  3. Stick the landing (If you fall then you went to far)
  4. Absorb the landing (Soft)
  5. Load and explode back

Kettlebell Swings – 5 Repetitions / Side

Cues:

  1. Feet hip width
  2. Drive your hips up by squeezing glutes
  3. Let your arms move because of your hips
  4. Kettlebell shouldn’t go past your chin
  5. Hip hinge / Not a squat

I hope you liked this new post!

If you’re interested in improving your fitness and moving better than you ever have in your life, you’ve come to the right place. While you have to be committed and have self-discipline to complete an exercise program, these habits will help you advance as a golfer to play this sport at a higher level and for a longer time. I’m passionate about helping people reach their potential through fitness and I’m excited to use my experience and expertise to take you to the next level.

Don’t forget to join me on my social media pages to view content that I put out a few times each week.

Mark

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