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July 12 2012

3:27 PM

Fitness: A Strong Core and Mobile Hips

By Sean Cochran, Golf Fitness Mobility and Stability are two key components in the execution of an efficient golf swing. The modern day golf swing requires the body move through a large range of motion requiring joint mobility and muscular flexibility. In addition, maintaining a fixed spine, and generating power necessitates strength from certain muscles and parts of the body. All in all the combination of these two components (mobility and stability) provide the physical foundation for the execution of an efficient golf swing. Two segments of the body requiring mobility and stability in the execution of the swing are the hips and core. Mobility in the hips is crucial in order to execute the rotary components in both the backswing and downswing. Limitations in the hips can result in the inability of the golfer to properly rotate in the swing leading to a number of swing faults such as a slide, sway, or reverse C. Secondly, the core which is simply a reference to the anatomical area of the body from just above the knees to slightly below the chest including muscle groups such as the obliques, abdominals, glutes, and muscles of the lower back must be strong (i.e. stable). The stability provided by the core allows the golfer to maintain the postural positions required of the swing and generate rotary power. Limited strength in the core can cause limitations in terms of power generation and an inability to rotate around a fixed spine angle, again leading to swing faults such as an over-the-top move or early extension. The Piriformis Stretch, Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch, and Rip Trainer Low Strikes are examples of three golf fitness exercises conducive to developing mobility in the hips and strengthening the core. Listed below are descriptions of each of these exercises to be utilized within a golfer’s training program. Piriformis Stretch (Hip Mobility): Lay on the floor, knees bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor. Slowly place the outside of your right ankle on the thigh of the left leg. Grasp the right ankle with your left hand and place the right hand on the inside of the right knee. Elevate the left leg to a position where the lower leg is parallel to the floor and the knee is bent at 90 degrees. If an additional stretch is required, simultaneously pull with the left hand and press with the right hand until a stretch is felt. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat with the opposite leg. Maintain a 90-degree bend in the knee when elevating the leg. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch (Hip Mobility): Kneel with the right knee in contact with the floor. Place your hands on your hips, and bend the left knee at 90 degrees. Begin by pressing the hips forward, allowing your left knee to bend. Continue pressing forward until a stretch is felt in the right hip. Once a stretch is felt in the right hip, extend the right arm overhead, and bend the torso to the left. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat with the opposite leg. Rip Trainer Low Strikes (Core Strength): Securely attach the TRX Rip Trainer at shoulder height and step away from the attachment point 3-4 feet. Grasp the Rip Trainer and position the end of the handle securely in the middle of your torso with the right hand. Position the feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, and hinge at the hips. Place your left hand in an under hand grip on the middle of the Rip Trainer handle.  Rotate to the top of the backswing keeping the Rip Trainer fixed to the torso and aggressively rotate to your impact position. Return to the top of the backswing and repeat the movement pattern. Perform 10-15 repetitions of the exercise and repeat the exercise in the opposite body position and sequence. The utilization of these types of exercises over time can develop hip mobility and core strength conducive to the execution of a proficient golf swing. 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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