If there’s one thing we’d all like to have more of, it’s extra yards – perhaps as much as an extra 20 or 30, especially off the tee.
Well, it’s very much achievable – and you don’t necessarily have to fork out hundreds of pounds on the latest driver, drastically change your swing, or put on an extra 30lbs of muscle mass.
Many of us can make significant gains by increasing our mobility.
‘When your hips aren’t turning as much, your spine isn’t moving or your shoulders, you could be losing as much as six inches to a foot of your swing length, which is going to rob you of distance,’ explains strength and conditioning coach, Jamie Greaves.
‘By and large, the longer the arc, the more time you give yourself to generate speed.’
It sounds simple, but not everyone can sway a golf club like the long drive champions, who almost hit the ground with their club during the backswing.
Forget those guys. What’s important is that you learn to get your hips moving again.
‘The hips are very mobile, at least they have the capacity to be very mobile,’ says Greaves, who works with several Tour level golfers, as well as amateur and senior players.
‘The problem is, many of us, because of the lives we live, we don’t use our hips to their capacity; we spend a lot of time seated in front of screens.
‘Because we don’t move them so much, they weaken. When you’re out playing golf, it might feel like you’ve lost your range of motion, but often it’s just a case of weakness as a result of lack of use.’
So, what can we do about it? How do we start shifting the ball out there huge distances like we used to?
What we’re about to share isn’t Bryson DeChambeau’s daily fitness regime (although he does a lot of work on his range of motion) but some simple hip mobility exercises. You can carry out all of these exercises in the comfort of your own home – which happens to be just perfect at this moment in time.
By incorporating a few of these moves into your daily routine, you won’t only improve the function and overall health of the hip joint, but you’ll also reap the rewards on the golf course.
1. Frog Pumps
Start in the frog position, with wrists under the shoulders, the knees as wide as you can go and the feet in line with the knees, with the inside of each foot flat to the floor.
Gently pulse backwards towards the heels with each rep. Try not to round or extend excessively through the spine as you push back, and go slow each time and through as much range as you can.
2. Seated Hip Internal Rotations
Start seated, with your knees and feet together. Move your foot away as much as possible to internally rotate the hip and pause.
Be careful not to lean at the torso, split the knees or just rotate at the foot and not the hip.
Perform reps on both sides.
3. Hip CAR (Controlled Articular Rotations)
Start in the all-fours position, with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders.
Bring one knee forward, out to the side, and then around, and then reverse the direction for one rep.
Imagine a mini hurdle to the outside of the knee you are trying to clear one way and then the other.
Try to keep a 90-degree angle between the ankle, knee and hip as you move and be wary of any tilting or leaning, as the motion should only happen at the hip.
Perform this exercise on both sides.
4. Stork Turns
Begin standing and hold onto something to keep your balance.
Hook one foot behind the standing leg’s knee, and rotate through as much range as you can.
Make sure not to lean from the torso and stay stable on the standing leg.
Increase speed with each rep and perform this exercise on both sides.
5. Bear Sit Rotations
Begin in the bear sit position, with your knees bent, heels pressed into the ground and with an upright torso.
Gently rotate the hips internally, so that the knees come together, and then externally so that the knees split apart.
Be sure to go nice and slow and ensure that you feel the movement in the hips and not in the knees.