Playing golf is hard! It's even harder when your own body gets in the way! Most amateur golfers are men over 40 who are starting to feel the effects of aging and have many more physical limitations than their younger counterparts. One of them is the loss of flexibility (tissue elasticity) which directly affects the mobility of joints. Loss of flexibility and mobility will alter how your body moves. That altered movement will cause you to lose posture either in the backswing or the downswing which results in a loss of power and consistency. The #1 Request I Get When I receive an email from a prospective client the complaint I most often hear is this: "Hi! I'm looking for a TPI assessment. I'm an avid golfer with (at least) tight hips, but I don't know what else needs improvement. Thanks!" "I’m truly seeking more flexibility and strength in my golf swing." "My wife and I are interested in having you work with my father-in-law. He is an avid golfer (as am I) in his mid 60's who is concerned about a lack of mobility as he ages." I could keep going, but I think you get the point. The fact is, your lack of flexibility and mobility is preventing you from getting into the positioins you need to - to play golf the way you want to. The #1 Offender As you know, golf is a rotational power sport. If you cannot rotate through the hip joint and the thoracic spine (your rip cage region) you are going to struggle mightily with golf. Most amateur golfers still spend much of their day like this. Sitting in a chair for 8 - 10 hours a day. A chair is like a death sentence to the hips. They got 'locked' and consequently lack the mobility you need to get into a good address posture, as well as load into your backswing and unload into your dowswing. The First Step: Improve Tissue Quality-Rolling The first thing I recommend you do is to learn how to use a foam roller correctly and for where you need it. In the case of the hip external rotators you are going to put yourself into this figure 4 position. The Second Step: Improve Tissue Elasticity-Stretching The above stretch (know as the seated 90/90), was taught to me by world renown fitness expert Paul Chek more than 20 years ago when I took the CHEK Golf Biomechanic's Course. There are many variations and iterations of this stretch position, but this is where you want to begin. If you set up correctly YOU WILL FEEL IT! The Third Step: Improve Joint Mobility Ok, we rolled, we stretched, but that doesn't mean the ball and socket hip joint is going to move any differently when you stand up and try to use it! We have to move the joint in the directions you will use it when you stand up. There are many options here but since we are already sitting down this is where we will start. This is one of several variations of what is often called a Hip Windshield Wiper. In this exercise, the hips are moving internally on one side and externally on the other side (the same way they would in a golf swing). You want to do this exercise muscle, not momentum. What I mean by that is, don't simply let your legs drop or plop to one side and the other. Use the muscles around the joint to move them. It takes a little coaching and a little practice, but you can do it! The Fourth and Final Step: Train Your Brain Just because you rolled it, stretched it, and moved it doesn't mean your brain will know how to use it in your golf swing. You need to train your brain how to do what by practicing proper sequencing as soon as you go through the previous 3 stages. The previous 3 stages simply provides you with a window of opportunity to move better so you can play better. By using a wall, chair or other barrier behind you, you can learn how to keep your hips back and away from the ball while transitioning from the top of your backswing to impact. By doing this correctly you can potentially hit the ball farther, be far more consistent and most importantly, avoid injury to the low back. When you lack mobility in your hips, your brain will very likely over rotate through the lower back, which will cause inflammation, irritation, pain, injury, and possibly even a surgery. YOU DON'T WANT THAT!
Brett's Bottom Line: Mobile hips are a key to good golf and a good life. You never want to lose hip mobilty. Loss of hip mobility can lead to disasterous consequences, not just on the golf course, but later in life. As mobility fades, our gait shortens, and this can lead to a fall, which is simply the beginning of the end of your independence and possibly your life. "Brett has done a phenomenal job improving my "pliability"...that is the intersection of flexibility and mobility for my golf game."__Jim Forbes If you would like to get some help with your mobility and how you can use it to Play Golf Better, give me a call and set up a screening appointment. "Feel the difference in your body, See the difference in your swing"