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May 4 2012

6:25 PM

Fitness: Hip mobility key to rotation

By Sean Cochran, Golf Fitness The golf swing is often classified as rotary orientated athletic action where the individual generates speed in rotary movement patterns. Achievement of the rotary movement patterns of the golf swing does require the golfer to maintain specific postural positions and initiate movement patterns in an exacting sequence with the correct timing. That being said, in order to execute the rotary actions of the golf swing successfully, not only is a fundamentally sound golf swing required, the golfer also needs a body encompassing the required levels of joint mobility, muscular flexibility, segmental stability, strength, and power to execute each phase of the swing efficiently. If the golfer is lacking in the required levels of the aforementioned physical parameters, the ability to execute the rotary actions of the golf swing will most likely be limited. Such limitations can often lead to diminished levels of speed generation and the development of compensation patterns. To counteract the potential for such limitations and develop a body without physical dysfunctions affecting the golf swing, one can look to implement corrective exercises to develop one’s body around the physical requirements of the golf swing. The first step in this process is to understand what is required of the body in terms of joint mobility, muscular flexibility, and segmental stability in the execution of the golf swing. To answer this question we can turn our attention the Mobility/Stability Pattern of Human Movement. This principle states efficient movement of the body occurs in an alternating pattern of mobile joints and stable body segments. If this pattern of mobile joints and stable body segments is altered, dysfunction in movement patterns will occur, and compensation in these movement patterns will be the result. Listed below is a joint-by-joint view of this pattern within the human body. Foot – stable, Ankle – mobile, Knee – stable, Hip – mobile, Pelvis/Sacral/Lumbar Spine – stable, Thoracic Spine – mobile, Scapular – stable, Shoulder – mobile, Elbow – stable, Wrist – mobile As you can see from the above information the human body from “feet to fingertips” operates in an alternating pattern of a mobile joint followed by a stable joint. It is obvious joints such as the elbow and knee are not rod-like pieces of iron that do not flex or extend, but rather these joints are stable in terms of limited degrees of motion. For example, the knee joint does not rotate in 360 degrees of motion as does the hip or shoulder, rather it operates essentially in one plane of motion flexing and extending. As a result this joint is considered a stable joint where as the hips, shoulder, ankle, and wrist require large ranges of motion for human movement and the golf swing to occur efficiently. Once we are aware of how the body operates, we can begin to develop the body around the requirements of the golf swing. Looking at the rotary actions of the golf swing and the mobility/stability pattern of human movement, we can see the need for the hips to be mobile. Mobility in the hips is an integral part of rotating around a fixed spine angle. Any limitations in hip mobility can drastically limit the golfer in achieving this rotary action within the swing. The exercise A very good exercise to develop hip mobility is Medicine Ball Rotations. This exercise is classified as a dynamic flexibility exercise utilizing dynamic movement patterns to develop hip mobility. To perform Medicine Ball Rotations grasp a 3-6 lb. medicine ball with both hands in front of your torso with the elbows bents. Stand with the feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, and eyes looking forward. Rotate the hips, torso, and shoulders to the left. Rotation as far as possible to the left, pause briefly at your end range of motion and repeat the movement pattern to the right. Alternate the rotations left and right for 8-15 repetitions. To learn more about Sean Cochran and his golf fitness training exercises and golf fitness programs go to http://www.seancochran.com
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