The Best Exercise For Golfers?
I like to think I am fairly open minded and wiling to change when it comes to training and coaching. As my experience has grown I have changed my opinion on certain things buy many of the principles I believed in when I started training/coaching have remained quite constant. (The crew in Fitnessworx Gym, Cork were a large part of this). One of my unwavering beliefs is that everybody should learn how to hip hinge (aka deadlift) to some capacity. It also happens to be an exceptionally useful movement for golfers.
When I strip it down to the bare essentials of how I can help golfers I generally think of two main concepts. It’s easy to fall into traps when trying to break complex matters into independent parts as nothing in the body or movement happens in isolation, but I think it’s a good way to challenge ones thinking and clarify thoughts.
So what do I really like to develop in a golfer I’m going to be working with?
- The ability to get into a good athletic posture and maintain it
- The ability to carry out an athletic rotational motion
The hip hinge mainly helps with the first point above, but good posture definitely helps in setting up efficient rotation. An excessively extended or flexed posture makes rotation much more difficult.
- The hip hinge is how we take our bodies from standing upright into a position to address a golf ball. If you cannot do it, it is likely your address position in the golf swing is sub optimal for power production and injury prevention.
- Being able to achieve good range of motion and strength in the hip hinge gives us most of the mobility and stability qualities required in the swing.
- Training the hip hinge with progressively heavier weights is a great way to increase the potential ground reaction force you can produce. This is critical for power in the swing.
- The hip hinge is a an excellent exercise for strengthening the muscles that run along the rear side of the body, making it a great choice for reducing the risk of injury to the lower back, a common problem area for golfers. It also does a superb job of strengthening the hamstrings, glutes, upper back, and grip. All while teaching excellent lifting mechanics that can be applied to scenarios in everyday life.
One caveat to performing the hip hinge / deadlift is that slight errors in technique, can significantly increase stress to the structures of the lower back, and reduce the load placed on the large muscles of the hamstrings, glutes, and mid back. Obviously this is something we want to avoid. The main mistake people make performing the movement is flexing or rounding at their lower backs as opposed to hinging at their hips.
The video below shows the hip hinge being carried out with a barbell employed as the means of resistance. Kettlebells, and hex bars are also excellent choices. The technique is very simple in theory, but often not easy for people to master.
- Master the movement without any weight first. The dowel hip hinge is an excellent drill to help with this.
- Elevate the bar off the ground in some way. Do not try to lift the bar from the ground at the beginning.
- As you gradually increase in mobility, stability, and control, load can be added and a bigger range of motion can be employed.
- Take regular videos from a side on position to evaluate your technique.
While a great movement to master, the hip hinge is just one element of a comprehensive golf training program. If you would like to find a comprehensive program to look after your golf fitness, check out the:
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Over 200 people of varying age, fitness level, and golf ability have used the programs to date and feedback has been very positive.
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