w/ Megan McKenzie, PAR72Yoga
Hip mobility is critical to an efficient, effective, and repeatable golf swing. Our bodies move in three planes -front to back (sagittal), side to side (frontal), and rotational (transverse) – and our hips need to function well in all three planes to create a stable platform from which to begin and finish the golf swing. In Part 1, Shoulder turn, we talked about shoulder-hip dissociation. The greater the separation between the hips and the shoulders, the more distance the clubhead has to travel, resulting in more energy transferred to the ball at impact. Common swing flaws resulting from a lack of hip mobility include swaying and lifting up. Your hips drive rotation and power, and these exercises will help you improve internal and external rotation of the hips, release tension in the hip flexors, and open the hip joints in both extension and flexion.
More rotation = greater swing arc = greater club head speed = more distance!
If you find yourself in the 60% of golfers who suffer from low back pain, this first exercise can be used as a warm-up and cool down to reduce the chance of injury and improve range of motion, for golf and in everyday life. This pose also serves to wake up the hips for the internal and external rotation of the golf swing. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat to the floor, a little wider than hip distance apart. With the arms spread out to the sides, or like goal posts seen here, allow your knees to fall to one side, hold for 1 or 2 breaths, then switch sides. Do this 3 or 4 times each side, trying to keep the shoulders and upper back on the ground. This exercise also great as it integrates core rotation with hip rotation, while stabilizing the torso which translates well to the golf swing.
Here is a great modification of pigeon pose, which can be done as part of your warm-up, cool down, or anytime you feel your hips/glutes tightening up throughout the round. Stand and place your left foot above the right knee. Focus on pressing the left knee down towards the floor, engage the core, then sink the buttocks back into a squat. Keep the spine long and flat. Here, I use a golf club for stability, but this pose can also be done on the course using a bench or golf cart.
One of my favorite golf warm-ups. Lengthens the spine, prepares the lower back for the golf swing, stretches the hamstrings, activates the glutes and releases the hip flexors – all this in one pose! Begin with the left knee and right foot on the floor, with the knees bent at 90 degrees. Place the left hand on the floor or a block, and rotate the torso to the right, extending the right arm up to the ceiling. Try this pose first with the knee down, then progress to lifting the knee, extending through the heel.
Dedicated to fitness and golf, Par72 Yoga can help you achieve your goals, both on and off the links!
For more information on Katherine Roberts’ Yoga for Golfers® methodology, and upcoming clinics and workshops in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, please contact Megan McKenzie, your certified Yoga for Golfers® instructor at Par72Yoga.com.