Better Hip Turn for Golfers: Part 1 The Address

Golf Fitness Exercises

A golfer’s address is dictated by sagittal plane control. For a frame of reference, the sagittal plane is basically anything done forward/backwards (walking/lunging) and up/down (squatting/jumping).

For a golfer, the address occurs in the sagittal plane so this is where everything has to start when it comes to improving or changing a swing. If you want to improve shoulder external rotation or hip internal rotation, you have to at least check in on your sagittal plane to make sure you have the requisite range of motion and the motor control before making changes in either the frontal or transverse plane.

Better Hip Turn

Improving shoulder external rotation without full shoulder flexion (sagittal plane measurement) will create a compensation elsewhere in the trunk. Improving hip internal rotation without full hip extension (sagittal plane measurement) will create compensations in the pelvis, probably by driving it further forward. The point is you can’t make changes to the extremities without owning the sagittal plane first. That is what we are going to do in this blog post!

For the purpose of this post, I will be focusing on improving a golfers ability to turn into his or her hips so the drills will be primarily about improving hip extension, feeling certain “sagittal plane” muscles, and controlling the body in space.

These 10 exercises are available to help you feel the correct muscles in a progressive fashion, starting with the easiest positions and ending with more challenging movements.

The cool thing is these actually work!

We have worked with numerous PGA, LPGA, WEB.com and many other high level golfers and have been able to help them with their physical performance and we can also help you.

  1. Lying on your back (Supine, 3 Exercises)

The closer our center of mass is to the ground, the easier it is to manage the forces of gravity (something we take for granted too often). This is why starting on your back is advantageous so you can focus on feeling the right muscles in an easy environment.

What To Feel

Boney Landmark: Heels

Muscles: Hamstrings

What to See

Head, ribcage, and pelvis aligned. Pretty easy on these because the ground blocks us in the correct position.

Breathing

Inhale: Through the nose. Expand the ribcage 360 degrees. Stop inhale when belly starts to rise excessively (hands on belly for feedback)

Exhale: Long, soft, open mouth exhale.

Pause: Take a 2-3 second pause following the exhale before the next inhale.

Objective

Feel your hamstrings. The hamstrings orient the pelvis posteriorly so you need to get those bad boys working before moving on. Most people think you need glutes for better hip extension, but if you have an anterior pelvic tilt (as many golfers do), glutes are just going to drive that pelvis even further forward. You need hamstrings first to pull the pelvis out an anterior tilt and then the glutes can work to finish the hip extension.

  1. All Fours (Quadruped, 3 Exercises)

The following three drills are very similar to the first three except we have taken the center of gravity and moved it further away from the ground, thus making it more challenging. However, there are still four points of contact for the body so these drills need to be mastered before moving to an upright position in which there will be only two points of contact.

What To Feel

Boney Landmark: Heels

Muscles: Hamstrings and Abs

What to See

Head, ribcage, and pelvis aligned. This can be more challenging because now the ground is not blocking us into the correct position. We need the motor control to find, feel, and maintain the correct position while breathing.

Breathing

Inhale: Through the nose. Expand the ribcage 360 degrees.

Exhale: Long, soft, open mouth exhale.

Pause: Take a 2-3 second pause following the exhale before the next inhale.

Objective

Feel your hamstrings and abs. The hamstrings reorient the pelvis and the abs connect the pelvis to the ribcage. Once you float the knees off the ground the abs have to start working to keep the ribcage and pelvis aligned. If you lose abs, you’ve lost your position.

  1. Tall Kneeling (1 Exercise)

Here is our transitional movement from the ground to an upright position and also from breathing based drills to more dynamic activities.

What To Feel

Boney Landmark: Knees

Muscles: Hamstrings and Abs

What to See

Head, ribcage, and pelvis aligned over knees.

Breathing

Inhale: Through the nose. Expand the ribcage 360 degrees.

Exhale: Just long enough to feel the abs pull the lower ribs down.

Objective

Feel your hamstrings and abs. You’re probably starting to see a pattern here.

 

  1. Standing (3 Exercises)

The standing position is the end of the sagittal plane evolutionary chart. There are now only two points of contact for the body and the center of gravity is further from the ground. Both variables make these drills increasingly more challenging to stay in the correct position. Finding a level of competence with the following exercises will translate to making changes in your swing.

What To Feel

Boney Landmark: Heels

Muscles: Hamstrings and Abs

What to See

Head, ribcage, and pelvis aligned.

Breathing

Inhale: Through the nose. Expand the ribcage 360 degrees.

Exhale: Just long enough to feel the abs pull the lower ribs down.

Objective

Big surprise here, you want to feel your hamstrings and abs again.

Again this is part one of three. There will be two follow up posts focusing on the frontal and transverse planes. The follow-ups will be intentionally spaced out so everyone has adequate time to spend time working on sagittal plane range of motion and motor control. Feel free to leave a comment with any questions you have regarding these drills.

 

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