Now it is time to discuss how to improve hip rotational ability.
There are a few ways to do this and no I am not going to recommend static stretching.
Hip rotation really comes down to 2 variables: core stability and hip mobility.
The hip is a mobile joint and has lots of degrees of freedom when it comes to movement. The problem is that in the presence of a weak core, the hips start to become stabilizers.
When the hips lock up in the absence of core stability, all of the hip mobility in the world is not going to improve their range of motion. Activating the core will, however.
Core stability is not your classic ab training of situps, crunches, toe touches, and other forms of trunk flexion. When we bend the spine forward we make it weaker and more susceptible to injury.
Golf puts a lot of stress on the structures of the spine as it is and the last thing we need to do is add more in training. Performing endless sets and reps of trunk flexion is short sighted and not beneficial to the participant.
Instead we can train to resist movement with the core. The true role of the core musculature is to resist extension, flexion, lateral flexion, and rotation.
When we talk about core stability we must recognize that it is position/posture specific. Golf is played standing up on two feet; therefore we need to train in that manner.
The catch 22 is that for untrained individuals we need to start from the bottom up. The normal progression goes supine (on the back), quadruped (all fours), half kneeling (one knee down), tall kneeling (both knees down), and finally standing.
This progression puts more and more demand on the core by reducing the support that it has. It has the most support in the supine position and least when standing. Luckily these progressions can come quickly but you can also make each variation extremely difficult.
An example progression of core training could go Deadbugs-Birddogs- Half kneeling Pallof presses, tall kneeling chops, and standing anti rotation chops.
This builds from easy to hard without reinventing the wheel. Core training does not have to be a big production. Keep it simple.
Once core stability is established we can then see if the hips need to be opened up. Sometimes those with “tight hips” unlock just by activating their core.
Hip mobility exercises can be added to a workout routine, done every day at some point, or added to a warm up to better prepare the body for the golf swing.
The hip performs flexion, extension, and internal/external rotation. This results in 4 muscle groups that need to be addressed from a mobility standpoint.
Hip internal/external rotation
Dynamic Hip Rotation
Once we are moving well, we can reinforce and build power on the swing pattern with a couple of different means.
Medicine balls are one of the best ways to practice rotational power development. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to med ball variations.
The two base movements are side throws and shotputs. From there we can get really creative and add shuffling, bounding, etc.
The key on these throws will be to practice good posture, the same that we use in golf, and to throw the ball as hard as possible.
Power has a function of speed to it and throwing a med ball slowly is not really doing anything.
Just to wrap up, if we want to get the hips moving better we must first provide a stable platform for them to move off of. Without a strong and stable core, the hips will become stabilizers and lock up in spite of any mobility efforts.
Once the core is stable and the hips are moving then we can reinforce the pattern with med ball throws. Practice great posture and trying to break the ball with every throw.
These techniques will have you feeling better and hitting the ball further down the fairway.