Is the lack of hip mobility costing you distance off the tee and adding movement compensations that are leading to swing problems?
Checking your hip mobility is quick, easy, and correcting any limitations will immediately improve your golf game.
In a good golf swing, your body rotates on an imaginary axis at nearly the same angle as your address position. For your body to accomplish this rotation and stay in posture, your hip joints will need to narrow and widen because your legs are for all practical purposes stationary on the ground.
In the backswing of a right-handed golfer, the hip angle between your body and right leg narrows, or in other words your body and leg become closer together; this is called internal rotation. At the same time, your left hip opens relative to your body, and this is called external rotation.
The opposite occurs near impact and during the follow-through. Your right hip has externally rotated, and the left hip has internally rotated.
Or they should.
If not, then there are problems and your body will need to compensate for this lack of rotation since the golf club is traveling at over 80-mph and you can’t let go of it.
Compensation of movement can lead to many swing characteristics and numerous scenarios for your ball flight, most of them bad.
Lack of Distance
The quicker you can rotate your hips; the faster your golf swing will be. I’m sure you’ve heard the golf announcers talk about how Rory McIlory’s fast hip rotation is the reason he hits the golf ball so far on a 5′ 9″ body frame.
If you lack hip rotation, you’re leaving yards of distance on the tee box. Nobody wants to do that.
Both external and internal rotation are important, but this article will concentrate on internal hip rotation. A later article will cover external hip rotation.
Internal Hip Rotation
This article will discuss internal hip rotation, specifically, why internal hip rotation is important to your golf swing and how to test yourself to see if you have an internal hip rotation limitation.
We All Want More Distance
I’ve never heard anyone say they want to hit the ball shorter.
I’m no exception, and I’ve known that my hip rotation is poor. I’ve pointed out my lack of hip rotation in other articles, but have always chosen to work on some other aspect.
While editing an ankle mobility exercise video for the Golf Conditioning Center, I saw how bad my hip external rotation and internal rotation is. One of the movements in the exercise causes the hips to internal & external rotate, to my surprise I had very little movement.
I decided it was about time to evaluate my hip rotation.
I started to look at some older swing video of myself.
There are at least three bad swing traits in this image.
- Early extension
- No hip rotation
I’ve corrected the early extension and reduced the slide, but have done nothing with my lack of hip rotation.
Increasing hip rotation will be my goal this season.
Comparing Hip Rotation
You’ll notice in the image how my hips are still parallel to my target line. At this point, they should be rotating open.
The lack of rotation is causing me to slide my hips forward further than I want; the bent lead leg is costing me power, it should be straight and pushing the left hip up and open; lastly, my stationary hips aren’t adding rotational speed to my swing.
Those characteristics and lack of rotation are costing me distance.
Compare my hip rotation to Dustin Johnson’s swing in the four images below. Each of the pictures is a screen grab taken from videos before and after impact.
Forget the fact that you hit up with the driver and down with an iron, it’s pretty evident that the lack of hip rotation costs me a lot of power and speed in my golf swing.
The biggest speed killer is the lack of internal hip rotation.
Hip rotation increases the pull of the upper body through the swing. Since my hips aren’t rotating open, they’re not pulling my upper body through the ball. Rather, I’m pushing the club forward. The momentum of the swing causes my lower body to break down and forces me to slide forward toward the target instead of rotating like DJ does.
If you sway or slide in your golf swing and lack the power, you’ll want to check your internal hip rotation. It’s a safe bet it will be limited if you suffer from the sway and slide swing characteristic.
How to Test Your Internal Hip Rotation
Checking the amount of internal hip rotation is easy.
The quick video below will show you the steps.
The outward movement of your lower legs causes your hips to rotate internally. Even though your lower legs are moving outward, it causes your hips to turn in. This is the same motion that occurs in the hip joint during a good golf swing.
How much should your hips rotate?
The average PGA Tour player has over 45 degrees of internal hip rotation with many having as much as 60-degrees of rotation.
What About My Internal Hip Rotation?
I’m so embarrassed that I didn’t realize my mobility was so bad. The adage is true.
If You’re Not Assessing, You’re Only Guessing
Yeah, that’s it, only 10-degrees of internal hip rotation. That’s all the rotation I have.
Is there any wonder why my hips aren’t rotating during my swing?
So not only in my follow-through but in my backswing too.
Improving my internal rotation of my right hip can only help my backswing turn while staying in posture.
Simple Test, Do It Now
Don’t be like me. I knew my internal hip rotation wasn’t great, but I had no idea it was that bad until I tested myself.
So get a towel, sit on a table or something that will elevate your feet and see how much internal hip rotation you have.
Hip rotation is important to your golf swing and how far you hit the golf ball.
If your rotation isn’t up to par, let’s do something about it.
Exercises to Improve Internal Hip Rotation
I recorded 4 exercise videos that will help your hip mobility and internal hip rotation. You can see those videos by visiting the following post.
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