When I sit down with a potential client and talk about their goals, more often than not they say they want to hit the ball further. I mean come on, who would want to hit the ball shorter, right? We all want to stripe the ball 300+ yards down the fairway so we can show off to our friends and reduce that handicap!
Hitting the ball with power and accuracy takes hard work. Many golfers I train lack the range of motion required to get into certain positions. Frequent visits to the range won’t help your game if you don’t have the adequate movement and strength to get into key positions. In this post, I will review three exercises to help golfers improve mobility in the hips, thoracic spine, and shoulders.
*Please do not stretch into extreme range of motion. Each exercise should feel like a mild stretch with NO pain*
When the pros get their swing assessed, they use something called kinematic
sequencing. It’s a fancy machine where they get hooked up to all of these wires. It shows the motion of the golf swing. Although all swings look different; look no further than a guy like Matt Wolff - talk about a weird swing, but he gets it done. In any case, on the kinematic sequencing chart, all tour golfers look very similar. And the hips are the first part of the body to initiate the swing. So if this is true, amateurs will want to replicate this motion in their swing. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have the needed range of motion in our hips to do this properly. Specifically, limited hip internal rotation in the back leg. When a golfer swings back, they should be able to “load” that back hip properly. Many people cannot. So here is a stretch to help increase flexibility and range of motion.
This is arguably the BEST stretch for your hips. This does a great job improving external and internal rotation in both hips. Key stretch for those who struggle with back pain.
Sit down and floor and position your front and back leg in a 90 degree position.
Sit up nice and tall through the spine and keep the shoulders over the hips.
Slowly rotate the hips and legs to replicate the position on the other side.
Recommended to perform 3-4 sets of 4-6 reps per side.
Hips are a big issue for many golfers, but the thoracic spine (t-spine) may be limited as well. I bet some of you are sitting here reading this with a slouched posture - not an ideal golf position. As you watch many tour players rotate into their backswing, they get a big “shoulder turn”; this is not possible without adequate t-spine mobility and strength. If you struggle to rotate through the upper back you may compensate by rotating through your lower back - a recipe for disaster! So let’s dive into an exercise you can easily implement to improve t-spine rotation.
This stretch may be a fan favorite because sometimes, when you're lucky, you get a nice release in your spine.
Lay down on your side, create a 90 degree angle in your hips and knees, and arms stacked in front of you.
Slowly take your top arm and rotate your body without letting your legs move at all. Your head follows your hand. Try to get your top shoulder down to the floor behind you. Should feel a great stretch throughout your upper back and chest.
Recommended to perform 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps each side.
This one piggybacks right off of the t-spine work because of how closely they are connected. Go ahead and pick up a club. Get into your backswing and take a look at your back arm position. Are you creating a 90 degree angle in that back elbow? If not, this may be because of t-spine mobility or a stiff shoulder. Not only can this lead to injury, but you will not be able to create enough power to hit the ball far. Below is a great stretch to help improve your shoulder external rotation.
This one is perfect for improving shoulder external rotation. All you need is a golf club!
Stand up and grab the head of the golf club in your hand and the shaft should run down the outside portion of your forearm.
Position your arm at 90 degree and grab the bottom of the shaft with your opposite hand.
Gently pull shaft towards ceiling feeling a stretch in the backside of you shoulder
Recommended to perform 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps per side.
Each one of these mobility exercises target key areas for the golf swing. The only way you will see improvement is to consistently perform them before and between your rounds of golf. If you don’t believe that they will work, I challenge you to first swing your club cold, then perform all three of these exercises and swing your club again. I promise your swing will feel easier and more fluid than before.
If you have other mobility restrictions, comment them below and I will happily send you over some exercises you can do to hit the ball further!