Golf season is back! And that means, like everybody else, you have already resolved to make this your best season ever. But how will you achieve that goal? Grip changes? Foot positioning? Postural adjustments?
Have you considered looking at your body?
Most of our movement, including a golf swing, is largely determined by what our body is able to do for us. For example, you have an old shoulder injury that doesn’t let you reach far over your head? Your body will make changes (usually without your permission) to compensate for mobility issues in that area. Likewise, old issues like this would also make it unwise to build a plan to hit it longer this year by trying to get your hands as high as possible during the backswing! (At least not without making other changes too).
But that doesn’t mean you are forever limited by how your body moves TODAY. You can make changes to flexibility, strength, and motor control that will all show up in how your move during the golf swing. Even small changes can make big differences in some cases — ten degrees more range of motion at the shoulder can translate to a longer shot for many people.
So if you’re tired of changing grip styles, foot positions, and swing cues to kickstart your golf season, try going outside the box a little and doing something new — getting you working for you again.
After all, everyone has a unique swing type of their own that is largely dictated by what their body is able to do.
Try these three mobility drills that you can do at home to improve your body’s ability to move and create potential energy that gets converted to power through the golf ball.
Mid-back (T-Spine) Rotation
● Spinal rotation in the golf swing is almost entirely achieved through the mid-back, or thoracic spine. Use this mobility drill to make sure your body is prepared! Both varieties begin on your hands and knees, forearms flat on the floor, and sitting back on your heels.
● Version One: For right rotation, place your right hand behind your head (1). Rotate your elbow, shoulder, and upper back towards the ceiling (2). Hold for one cycle of breath, then return to the start.
● Version Two: For right rotation, place your right hand in the small of your back (1). Rotate your elbow, shoulder, and upper back towards the ceiling (2). Hold for one cycle of breath, then return to the start.
● Perform BOTH versions slowly and repeat 10-15 times both left and right.
Hip Rotation 90/90
● Hip mobility is another important factor for creating rotation in the golf swing. This 90/90 drill is an effective way to improve your mobility!
● Begin on the ground with one thigh directly forward, and the other leg out to the side (90 degrees). Position both knees at 90 degrees as well (1). From here, sit tall and lean your chest towards the forward thigh, creating a gentle stretch at the underside of the hip (2).
● Then, keep the legs in the same position and turn your chest towards the knee of the trail leg (3). If this is too difficult, lean back slightly to help make the turn (4). This will create a stretch/pressure into the trail hip.
● Perform slowly, hold each position 15-20s, for 2-4 reps on each side.
● Shoulder flexion mobility is more important than you might realize in the golf swing. Your ability to get the hands high above the ground during the backswing can be important for both performance and injury avoidance.
● Start kneeling in front of a surface around chest-height (like a side-table, chair, mattress, etc.) and place you hands in front of your body on the surface, or use an object like I have here —> I’m using a golf club (1).
● Then, sit back on to your heels (to protect your lower back), raise your arms in front relative to your body, and sink your chest slightly towards the floor (2). Hold this position for 3 breath cycles, and return to start.
● Perform this slowly and repeat for 10 repetitions.
Re-posted from http://drjimgilliard.com/2020/05/20/golf-early-season-mobility/.
Titleist Performance Institute Certified, Medical Level 2; SFMA 1