Most of us probably spend a fair bit of time seated – perhaps even more so over the last couple of years, when lockdowns have meant lots of Zoom calls and hours upon hours in front of computers.
While being seated is not bad for us, it can mean we lose range of motion in certain parts of the body, as strength and conditioning coach Jamie Greaves explains.
As well as causing general aches and pains on a day-to-day basis, this can also have a detrimental effect on our golf swing, especially where the hips are concerned.
Think about it: we load into our trailside during the backswing, and as you come through into impact, you’re internally rotating that lead hip. So, in terms of the swing mechanics, hip exercises for golf are extremely important – at least if you’re serious about swinging your best.
If you can get that big hip turn, you can generate a lot of power – and more power equals more distance. We’ve all seen the best players in the world – they have that incredibly fast hip unwind.
While it might be a stretch to say the following exercises will give you 20 extra yards – perhaps not initially, at least – there’s no doubt these 5 exercises for golfers can help you produce a more powerful and effective swing.
Here, Jamie Greaves offers his top 5 hip exercises for golfers.
5 Hip Exercises For Golfers
1. Frog Pumps
Start in the frog position, with the 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.
Then, gently pulse backwards towards the heels with each repetition. Be mindful not to round or extend excessively through the spine as you push back.
You also want to be careful to go slow each time and through as much range as you can.
This exercise is really going to open up your hips. It might not be one to do on the first tee, but give it a go at home, and it can work wonders for your golf!
2. Doorknob Squat
Start standing, holding onto a squat rack (or something similar). Slowly walk your hands down the rack, coming into the bottom part of your squat using the rack for some assistance to help improve range of motion and form.
It’s important to hold at the bottom before walking the hands back and repeating the process.
As you perform repetitions, ensure that you don’t round excessively through the spine or sit back too far as you hold on too much. You are using the assistance of the rack to help improve the pattern, but you don’t want to rely on it.
To progress the movement, simply let go of the bottom position before standing up to take ownership of that position.
If you do this exercise properly, you’ll feel as though you’re pushing the ground apart as you perform repetitions to give you room for the hips to sink down.
You must be careful not to shift to one side as you move or let the knees cave in excessively. Push the ground apart, keep the chest proud, and use the rack to improve range of motion and form.
3. Bear Sit Rotations
This is a nice simple exercise to perform at home – and it’s really effective.
In the ‘bear sit position’, your knees are bent, heels are pressed into the ground, and the torso is nice and upright.
The aim is to gently rotate the hips internally so that the knees come together and then externally to split the knees.
Perform the exercise slowly and ensure that you feel the movement in the hips and not in the knees.
Begin in a standing posture and hold on for balance. Then, kick one leg back to get as long from head to toe as possible.
Work on keeping the standing leg stable and simply rotate everything else as much as possible one way and then the other.
It’s important to try and keep your original starting posture as best as you can and just rotate while staying strong on the standing leg.
Repeat the movement on the other side – and there you have your airplanes!
5. Standing Hip CAR (Controlled Articular Rotation)
Begin standing and take hold of something that can help you stay balanced.
Then, flex one knee up as high as you can, and open out from the hip. From here, bring the foot up as high as you can to internally rotate the hip as the leg moves behind you.
Reverse the process to complete one repetition. Imagine a hurdle on the outside of your body that you’re trying to clear in one direction and then the other.
As you perform the movement, make sure you minimise the torso lean and tilting from the body, and keep a 90° angle between the ankle, knee and hip the whole time.
Focus on going slow and controlled, so you can really feel the movement in the hip joint. The goal should be to perform two repetitions in each direction on both sides.
Can Senior Golfers Perform These Exercises?
The beauty of these hip exercises is that they’re scalable.
As Greaves explains, you don’t have to look like that person in the gym who performs every move perfectly.
For example, take the standing hip CAR.
“You might not be able to get your knee up to above hip level,” says Greaves, who works with golfers of all levels.
“As you make a circle, it might only be fairly small to start with.
“You might also have a bit of trunk lean, and whilst this is not perfect, if you’re really immobile, it might just help you to get going.”
Greaves’ top exercise tips for senior golfers?
“Scale it to an appropriate level for you, and don’t be put off by these exercises because you can improve over time.”
For more golf exercises and advice on how you can improve your game, visit jggolffitness.co.uk.
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