26 Feb Hip Mobility and Core Stability for the Golf Swing
“The Hips and Core are major components on the physical side of the equation of the golf swing. Developing the required levels of joint mobility and stabilization strength are integral for the golfer to execute a proficient golf swing. Limitations in either of these physical components can easily impede one’s ability execute a competent golf swing.” – Sports Performance Coach Sean Cochran
Q: Sean, in your opening statement you stated the importance of the hips and core relative to the golf swing, please explain?
A: The execution of the golf swing is a “feet to fingertips” athletic action where the entire kinetic chain is utilized. In order for the kinetic chain to perform the required movement patterns of the golf requires certain levels of joint mobility and segmental stabilization. If certain joints are limited in terms of mobility or certain segments of the body are “weak”, executing an efficient swing without compensatory patterns will be very difficult.
The hips are an integral joint in the golf swing relative to the rotary components of the swing. That being said, if limitations are present in terms of mobility the body will compensate in an attempt to perform the required rotary actions of the golf swing.
The core which is a reference to an anatomical area of the body basically from just above to slightly below the chest entailing all of the soft tissue structures on the anterior, posterior, and lateral aspects of the body.
The core is a segment of the body requiring high levels of muscular strength and endurance in order to stabilize the kinetic chain through the athletic actions associated with the golf swing. If the core musculature is unable to stabilize the kinetic chain and execute the athletic actions of the swing, compensatory patterns will most likely develop.
Q: Sean, what do you see as the most problematic problems with the hips relative to the golf swing?
A: Typically, if limitations exist in the hips it tends to gravitate towards limitations in either internal, external rotation or both. Recognize, executing the rotary components of the golf swing in both the backswing and downswing require large degrees of both internal and external rotation in the hips.
Limited internal and external rotation will reduce the ability of the golfer execute the rotational components of the golf swing. One of two situations will typically arise when this is the case. Number one would be the golfer not rotating in the backswing or downswing. This will result the development of compensatory actions such as a slide or sway causing a loss of speed and potential swing plane issues.
Secondly, and more harmful on the physical side of the equation, the golfer will recruit the lumbar region of the lower back to compensate and create rotation in the golf swing. The unfortunate side of this situation is the lumbar region of the lower back is not intended to rotate to a large degree. That being said, continuing to ask the lumbar region to create rotation in the golf swing will eventually lead to injury.
Q: It is very apparent from you answer above the importance hip mobility plays in the golf swing. Now tell me about the core and where golfers get off track?
A: The core as we discussed previously is an anatomical section of the kinetic chain. It is responsible for maintaining postural positions within the golf swing, initiate movement patterns and generate swing speeds. If the core is weak or muscles are inhibited, the ability to execute these requirements of the swing will be limited. These limitations can easily lead to the development of swing faults such as a flat shoulder plane, over the top move, or lifting of the club in the back swing.
All of which will cause limitations in speed development, consistent ball striking, and ball flight. Basically, we can see the core is integral component of the golf swing which does require a specified level of conditioning to execute the requirements of the golf swing.
Q: Knowing the importance of the hips and core in the golf swing what do you recommend the amateur golfer do to address these areas?
A: The simple answer is to address these areas of the body with a series of mobility and strength training exercises. The implementation of this type of training over time can improve and develop the required levels of mobility and stability needed to execute the athletic actions of the golf swing.
Outside of the implementation of mobility and strength training exercises it is imperative the golfer be provided with instruction of the correct type of mobility and strength training exercises for golf. For example, relative to the development of stabilization within the core certain exercises are better for the golfer than others. Secondly, a progression in terms of exercises is best to develop the core correctly and provide the golfer with the greatest benefit from their training.
This is where it is best for the golfer to seek out a professional with experience in golf fitness training. Such experience will provide the golfer with the guidance to implement of training program conducive to their sport.
About Performance Coach Sean Cochran: Sean Cochran, one of the most recognized performance coaches in sports today. A career spanning positions with 2 major league baseball organizations, over 10 years on the PGA Tour and work with top professionals including three-time Masters, PGA, and British Open Champion Phil Mickelson, future hall of fame Trevor Hoffman, and Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy provides Sean a proven track record of success. He has been involved in the production of numerous performance videos and authored books including; Performance Golf Fitness, Complete Conditioning for Martial Arts, and Fit to Hit. He has been a presenter of educational seminars for numerous organizations including the world renowned Titleist Performance Institute.