Reaching your full potential of movement during your backswing can have a huge impact on the power of your golf swing. It seems that the spine’s ability, or inability, to rotate gets too much credit for being a limitation to finding optimal range. If you find yourself struggling with power, or difficulty with swaying or sliding during your golf swing, hip internal rotation may be the culprit.
The hip joint is classified as a ball and socket joint, similar to a golf ball on a tee. Because of this structure, the hip joint is multidirectional. Maintaining all movement directions is important for general function and health. Specifically, during the golf swing, hip internal rotation is one of the main movements needed to get full rotation.
Hip internal rotation during the backswing is on the trail leg. As you shift your weight to your trail limb and begin to rotate away from the golf ball, your pelvis rotates away from your target. Alternatively, we also utilize hip internal rotation into the downswing on your lead leg. After impact, as your weight continues to shift to the lead leg, rotation now shifts past neutral toward your target and into your follow-through position.
Now, this isn’t a movement you see focused on much in the gym, but we believe golfers should consider this a priority in their movement repertoire. Below is a progression of exercises to focus on improving your hip internal rotation. They progress from open chain, where the leg is not bearing weight, to closed chain, where the hip is now carrying a load. Although the golf swing utilizes closed chain hip internal rotation, both are key to observe improvements in your range.
90/90 Hip Rotation x 5 each side
Lying on your back, lift legs up and place them in a 90/90 position. Place a ball or yoga block between knees. Holding right knee side stable, rotate left foot away, maintaining hold of ball or yoga block. Hold for three seconds. Repeat on opposite side.
Posterior Hip Stretch x 2 each side
Lying on your back, bring your right knee to chest. With your opposite arm, bring right knee across body until you feel a stretch in the back side of your right hip. Hold for 45 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.
Standing Hip Rotation x 5 each side
In standing position, place left foot on stable surface (i.e. chair or bench). Rotate body as far as you are able toward the right leg that is in a stance position, not allowing right leg to bend. Hold for three seconds. Repeat on opposite side.
Single Leg Balance with Rotation x 10 each side
In standing, lift left leg off of the ground. Similar to the previous exercise, rotate toward the stance side as far as you can while maintaining balance. Progress this exercise by completing in a golf stance position. Repeat on opposite side.